Digital transformation is inevitable for established B2C (Business-to-Consumer) businesses. Nonetheless, many B2B Experts are still largely unfamiliar with e-commerce. Despite the widespread use of mobile devices, the advantages of personalized marketing for all businesses are unparalleled. B2B (Business-to-Business) should therefore follow the trend, enter the e-commerce field, and set the standard for the sector!
In contrast to B2C, B2B typically provides services to factories, offices, and other commercial establishments. Their market is smaller and has a longer buying cycle. Therefore, many B2B firms depend on more conventional techniques to acquire prospective customers, such as exhibitions, conferences, etc. However, B2B can actually succeed in the e-commerce sector as long as the appropriate customer and marketing strategies are implemented to build a personalized experience for consumers!
What is a personalized experience?
A personalized experience typically entails connecting with users by presenting a range of content and information to potential customers. This is based on website data tracking, including clicks, products viewed, and other similar actions. Based on the user’s unique experience, retailers must develop exclusive marketing content for intended customer groups. The kind of personalized experience used by e-commerce differs depending on the nature of the business and marketing plan. Promote other products, for instance, through email marketing, a product showroom, community involvement, etc. based on the items the customer has in their shopping cart.
Why should B2B develop e-commerce?
94% of North American business leaders have stated that e-commerce is essential for business development. This is true even though many B2Bs have little to no experience with it. In light of this, let’s look at the benefits of personalized e-commerce for B2B.
New Markets and New Customers
E-commerce is a great tool for expanding B2B’s consumer base. Because of the widespread acceptance of digitalization and marketing during the pandemic, many individuals not only prefer but also require online shopping. Manufacturers and resellers should use search engines to fortify relationships with potential customers since B2B buyers often utilize search engines to conduct research prior to shopping. For instance, producing SEO-friendly content can increase traffic and conversions.
Strengthen Management and Provide Real Data
E-commerce makes it easier to assess the performance of marketing campaigns, sales, products, inventory, and other data than traditional retail. For data analysis of online retailers, tools like Google Analytics and SEMRush are also quite handy! Marketing strategies can be created in accordance with the general development direction of the business. This is possible once e-commerce data is connected with the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) of the company.
Improve brand image
E-commerce platforms can improve a brand’s online presence and aid in creating a positive image. Additionally, expanding the brand both domestically and internationally is advantageous. Although brand recognition could be increased through other B2B marketing channels, e-commerce can offer the most reliable online promotion and brand image. As a primary online marketing channel, e-commerce is the finest option.
Personalized Marketing Strategy – Improve Customer Service
Although consumer expectations for B2B and B2C are different, it is believed that all customers expect personalized service. Since decision-making is quite difficult due to voluminous transactions, B2B customers naturally set higher expectations. B2B e-commerce should therefore create websites with extensive material and interactive features to engage customers and cultivate stronger relationships. Product promotion, trend advice, customer service, and other features are examples. Moreover, general B2B customers may have more complicated requirements. To make the transaction process more convenient, setting up an e-commerce platform can make it simpler and faster to review previous order data.
By using online business platforms, B2B e-commerce may proactively enhance customer care and solidify customer relationship management (CRM). Through their own accounts on e-commerce websites, customers can access historical order records and logistics data. The e-commerce website can give more customer-appropriate products, services, and prices based on the customer’s login record by integrating with the business’s ERP system.
Thanks to e-commerce platforms, businesses can easily implement Omnichannel marketing online. Omnichannel marketing integrates online and offline operations while also pushing sales through each channel and unifying each channel’s service experience. This strategy can facilitate collaboration between businesses, distributors, and customers while allowing for language and currency conversions for international consumers. Additionally, it can help enterprises build stronger consumer ties by enabling existing customers to contact them online.
According to Gartner’s research, more than half of the world’s brands won’t be able to synchronize their consumer interactions by 2022. The present multi-channel purchase strategy used by businesses may cause a lot of trouble and friction. Therefore, achieving Omnichannel marketing is an urgent task for many businesses.
Further reading: Digital Transformation: The Key to Scaling Customer Experience
The Importance of Personalized Marketing
86% of customers agree that personalized marketing has an impact on their decision to buy, according to the report. Increased sales and the value of individual orders are the goals of personalizing the experience. Sales can be boosted and guest orders increased with a positive customized experience. Personalized marketing can boost sales and help B2B companies meet their marketing objectives in addition to improving the customer experience. In addition to the shopping cart, personalization is essential for B2B e-commerce in areas like search, catalog, price, promotion, etc.
Characteristics of B2B Customers
In contrast to B2C consumers, B2B customers are typically reasonable, targeted, and have a plan in place before contacting suppliers. Before visiting a brand’s website, the typical B2B customer searches 12 times. In order to efficiently drive conversions, B2B companies must design a website that can accommodate visitors’ needs.
According to research, millennials make up almost half of B2B buyers. Likewise, 60% prefer to research products independently rather than relying on salespeople. The purchasing process for e-commerce is also improved because millennials frequently employ quick and convenient methods.
Quality Over Quantity – Provides a better shopping experience.
Due to their size and popularity, rather than a positive experience, many customers choose e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay. Small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from starting with a better experience than big e-commerce firms. Consumers are examined from an “individual” perspective through the analysis of consumer data and historical behavior. The technique then suggests content based on the requirements and interests of the customer.
By providing a good experience, you may persuade B2B customers to use your e-commerce platform while also promoting the worth and reputation of your business. Additionally, you may alter the entire sales process to suit the requirements of the customer. To satisfy all customer expectations and boost conversion rates, anything from the level of customer service can be personalized.
Establishes long-term relationships with customers through mutual trust
It’s time to work on keeping that relationship once you’ve built a strong one with your customer. Customers will feel compelled to uphold a long-term relationship once they feel emotionally connected with your brand. This can be the outcome of the relationships they have built via mutual trust. You may believe there is no need to have a consistent discussion throughout the purchasing process if it is just a regular customer connection. Salespeople can proactively provide ideas to improve future interactions by understanding precisely what consumers are paying attention to and disregarding. Additionally, this can foster loyalty, strengthen a consumer’s dependence on you, and have long-term positive effects.
First, B2B must adhere to the following three criteria for developing personalized e-commerce:
- Make trading easier
- Reduce the cost of promotion; improve customer experience
- Improve B2B Enterprise Cycle Efficiency
Further reading: 8 Benefits and Drawbacks of Live Commerce
B2B E-commerce Model
B2B e-commerce is typically divided into three main categories: supplier-oriented, buyer-oriented, and intermediary platform-oriented.
1. Wholesale Oriented
A majority of buyers and a minority of suppliers typically characterize a supplier-oriented environment. Online marketplaces with a big number of buyers and few vendors are frequently created by B2B sellers. Alternatively, businesses might sign up with business directories or develop online sales platforms. With this method, suppliers can build lasting relationships with B2B customers while managing costs and customer satisfaction. Therefore, the success of this strategy heavily depends on how committed and invested the business is in the online market.
As a B2B company, you can use online marketplaces like Glopal and Groupon to identify and select your suppliers. You can also leverage small businesses that are challenging to access through online commerce as a source of product supply. Once sales have stabilized, you can get reduced-cost pricing from them to boost profits.
Additionally, B2B companies, like manufacturers and wholesalers, can offer products online. They also target B2C customers as a service, in addition to B2B operations. Additionally, it can make shopping faster by giving customers a more personalized experience and simpler access to information about purchases.
At the same time, dealers can work with e-commerce platforms and even participate in them. Dealers manage transactions between suppliers, buyers, and sellers.
2. Buyer Oriented
A market that favors consumers typically has more buyers and fewer sellers. Customers typically operate their own online marketplace. They accept bids from various merchants and invite suppliers or manufacturers to display their products. The cost of promotion can be lowered by using this type of market to advertise products to consumers and retailers.
3. Intermediary Platform Orientated
The idea behind intermediary platforms is to enable buyers and sellers to match transactions through online marketplaces run by third parties. Controlling the product catalog and information will typically fall under the purview of the intermediate platform. Rules established by the platform must be followed by both parties. The channel primarily controls orders, contact information, and customer relationship management. Intermediary e-commerce platforms include Amazon, Alibaba, and many others.
E-commerce systems often connect suppliers’ products in series and offer logistics and transaction services to customers. The wholesaler often transfers the product to the B2B buyer before selling it to the final customer. Nowadays, a lot of e-commerce businesses provide products to retailers via the Internet of Things. In addition, they are adept at managing logistics and inventories, allowing customers to trace their deliveries and determine arrival times. In order to expedite the intermediary processes, the supplier may also speak with the buyer directly and ship the items. For instance, technology companies work with grocery chains to create an e-commerce platform that allows people to shop online.
In this approach, working with supermarkets can benefit technological companies. Additionally, supermarkets can offer customers other services without investing in resources. Likewise, there are also various B2B2C business models. For example, when matching transactions, the e-commerce platform will do so based on the vendor and buyer’s quotations and demands. It implores both parties to agree to a transaction contract in exchange for commissions.
Centralized Acquisition Mode
Another method is the centralized acquisition mode, which is an extension of the matching style. The platform enters into a contract with the manufacturer, and is accountable for packaging and prepaying the deposit. Furthermore, the manufacturer will offer a more favorable price afterward. The platform will be used by distributors and consumers to place orders for big purchases and pay manufacturers. Finally, the manufacturer will send the product directly to the consumer. After that, it will be up to the platform to keep track of the logistics and communicate with the manufacturer on a regular basis. Customers may benefit from lower costs as well as predictable demand and supply for manufacturers and distributors. Manufacturers may face risks and financial pressures that force them to monopolize supply, nevertheless. Which B2B model is chosen also depends on how the platform balances the interests of vendors, customers, and both.
Enterprise organizations typically need to reach a particular level of technical maturity before using the B2B2C business model. It is challenging for goods with relatively narrow markets, including industrial and medical supplies, to reach ultimate consumers directly. Implementing this strategy can be difficult if the business does not take the initiative to collaborate and communicate with its partners.
By facilitating the final customer’s access to manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors, this model can lower marketing expenses.
Further reading: Live Video: The Key Feature in Online Shopping
Where can B2B e-commerce provide a personalized experience?
Digital marketing is not simply divided into customers and non-customers. Start by investigating current customers and market participants who fit your product’s target market. Sort individuals into segments based on a variety of characteristics, including their purchasing history, income level, age, and interests. You may better understand the demands of various target groups and make solutions or recommendations by categorizing your audience. B2B firms must develop content and product marketing that can appeal to the audience’s interests. Senior managers and decision-makers from different companies are frequently in contact with them.
Finding information and data about a product is a very difficult task for B2B buyers. The B2B seller’s responsibility is to make these processes easier for customers. This includes locating user manuals, product specifications, safety data sheets, etc. Therefore, offering a site search feature on the website can substantially streamline the customer’s purchasing process. It enables them to reach a conclusion more quickly. Having a comprehensive product information section on your website can also help you build your brand’s credibility and encourage customers to choose your product.
In actuality, not all product prices have to be fixed because the business is an online store. Since it is more difficult for dealers and manufacturers to set prices based on different circumstances, B2B quotes prices in accordance with customer needs. In order to set a different price for each consumer, B2B can use e-commerce to build a multi-tier pricing structure. Due to the conditions of contracts, businesses can also affect pricing.
Personalized pricing can help salespeople deal with consumers and make sure everything is in accordance with the contract. Data analysis can also be used to allow AI systems to charge various prices to different customers. Such pricing can boost the company’s revenue. As an alternative, there are more ways to customize prices:
- Special offers for specific guests
- Create several price lists and assign them to various consumers.
- Generate product offers or categories
- Offer single or multiple currency pricing
Personalized Product Catalog
Customers may find it more convenient to browse products and spend less time doing so with B2B e-commerce. Information on products, inventories, logistics, and related services may be more specific, thanks to integration with the back-end system.
After purchasing the product, offering consumers product-related information can help them place more orders. It enables the customer’s business to do product maintenance, including technical repairs or assembly, enhancing the productivity of technicians.
Personalized Ordering Flow
Offer a range of services to customers that are incorporated into the purchasing process. Some might be self-help, while others would need your salesperson’s assistance. There may be variations in a customer’s purchasing experience and behavior over time. Therefore, it is crucial for individuals who process consumer orders to be transparent about a customer’s order history. By adding extra features, effectively personalizing orders can also significantly lower the cost of sales and boost consumer loyalty. Through online collaboration, it can provide customers with full consultation and service right away.
Personalized Guest Recognition
In the B2B world, the process for guests to endorse and accept a product can be complicated. The mechanism of recognition is often up to the consumer. An example of personalized guest recognition is when a supervisor logs into a manufacturer’s or distributor’s e-commerce platform and sets different rules for various customers. For those taking part in the purchasing process, this personalized experience offers better data visibility. The buying procedure and after-sales support are also included in the customized guest approval process.
The use of chatbots in retail e-commerce must be commonplace. An e-commerce website’s chatbot function makes it easier for customers to contact the sales team and increase consumer reliance. AI chatbots are able to instantly respond to common inquiries from customers around-the-clock.
Further reading: 5 Ways to Engage Customers Using Chatbot
B2B can also boost customer communication and conversion rates in order to achieve omnichannel business.
Many B2B businesses disregard the value of social media in marketing. Actually, social media networks can help you reach more B2B prospects. As long as you establish a solid target consumer base and use the right strategy, you may create personalized marketing. You can learn a lot about users by looking at Facebook’s background data. Understanding user data enables you to precisely target audiences and deliver advertisements that are relevant to them. You may even send specific ads to certain users using Facebook’s advertising system. If you are sufficiently knowledgeable about it, this improves the efficiency of your advertisements.
- digital advertising
B2B can also leverage R&D data intelligence to increase the effectiveness of the personalized experience. To better understand customers and offer more suited tailored experiences, employ this. Businesses may identify their consumer base and run promotions more efficiently by making appropriate use of intelligent data.
From B2B to Customer-Centric
Many B2Bs rely on long-term relationships with distributors. The size of the market that internet services are steadily growing due to digitization. Opportunities for B2B development are expanding. B2B may reposition businesses to meet the needs of end buyers and open up new markets through e-commerce platforms that offer consumers a tailored experience. You can also leverage tools and technologies designed for personalized experiences to help with analysis and the delivery of services. For instance, BrightInfo and Evergage can assist you in improving brand and consumer interaction and streamlining the data analysis process. Additionally, the distinction between B2C and B2B is eroding further. B2B can simultaneously enter the B2C market by offering a variety of goods and services!
Expand your B2B into e-commerce to provide your customers with a more personalized shopping experience! Register for a free trial of the VIMOS one-to-one live e-commerce platform to fully unlock your business potential. Improve your service delivery while increasing consumer contact!