You are a wholesaler or brand manufacturer and you have embraced the need for digital transformation. There is a beautiful webshop with extensive product information, beautifully designed product images and you offer complete self-service options such as insight into quotations, orders and invoices. So far you've done well! However, you are at a crossroads, because a large group of your existing customers continues to pass on old-fashioned telephone orders and you are unable to convince them to order in the webshop. In a two-part blog series I share a total of 14 tips to move your existing customers to the webshop. In this first part, the focus is on a good first impression. Here are the first 7 tips!
Your customer's interests depend on his/her role within the organization. That is why it is very important to get an understanding of this to begin with. For one, for example, the speed of delivery is important and for another it is the total cost of the order. Other customers may find the insight into backorders the most important. For all these different interests, you can make a textual distinction in the message that you convey in order to entice the customer to use the webshop. You can read how and where you get this message across in the second part of this blog series.
Do you have no idea what the interests of the various contacts at your customer are? Call them up and ask them the question. Start the conversation and involve them in the process to create more capacity.
All customers take a certain journey before they purchase a product. We also call this journey the customer journey. For one customer the journey starts in Google and for another with a phone call to the sales department. This is different for every customer and every organization. It is good to gain insight into the various offline and online contact moments that the customer has with your organization. By mapping these out, you discover which moments can be used to draw more attention to the webshop. For example, is there a lot of communication via e-mail? Then adjust the signature under the e-mail and mention the advantages of the webshop. If there is mainly telephone contact, agree with the Sales department that they will guide customers who call in to place the order via the webshop.
How annoying is it if you visit a webshop yourself and you place an order based on the stock and delivery time that you have seen with the product, but the order is not delivered on that date. Every business buyer is also a consumer and therefore has the same business needs as private ones.
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. So if you want to convince existing customers of the advantages of the webshop, make sure that the stock and delivery time shown is always up to date. For this, integration with your ERP system is crucial. If you really want to make an impression, you can even go so far as to show this information specifically based on the customer's location and the delivery schedule of your logistics partner with the product and/or in the shopping cart. Then the customer knows exactly where he / she stands.
With a webshop, in addition to the many advantages that an eCommerce platform offers you, you especially want to offer your customer ease of ordering. In a B2B webshop it is extremely useful if the customer can place repeat orders quickly and easily. You can use order lists for this.
Do you have the option to prepare one or more order lists based on your customer's order history? Then definitely take this opportunity, because this may just be the persuasive factor to convince your customer to take a look online and to place his / her order very quickly and easily via the webshop.
It is very nice for your customer if all information about a product can be read in the webshop. Think of the precise dimensions for construction products, the allergens of foods or the material of glasses. This allows the customer to read up independently and make considerations for a possible purchase. Do not underestimate the value of good product images. With some products, such as a certain type of bolt, it is not always clear with an image of only the product how it relates to the environment. With these types of products, it can be very valuable to also add images in the context of the product.
Both the extensive product information and the product images are a huge benefit for a buyer compared to a phone call where he / she is completely dependent on the description that the seller gives.
Is your range very extensive and broad, and does the e-commerce platform you use offer the possibility to allocate specific catalogs to your customers? Then set this up as soon as possible! Where you may have previously published an offline brochure with the entire range and sent it to your customer by post, you can now specifically share that part of the range that is interesting for customer A and another range for customer B.
A complicated ordering process results in customers dropping out. It is therefore important that this is as simple and smooth as possible. Even if you have a complex pricing structure, the webshop should be able to handle this. The customer should be able to complete the entire ordering process without the intervention of a sales representative. I already shared it in tip 3: you only have one chance for a good first impression. If the customer cannot place the order easily and independently the first time, there is a good chance that this customer will not try again.
It can also help to outline the ordering process for different scenarios for yourself. Then put yourself in the position of the customer and go through the steps of ordering yourself:
Certainly for customers who keep a large assortment of products in multiple variants in stock, it often requires a lot of effort to take stock on e.g. tablet, mobile phone or on a handwritten list and then enter it in the webshop or forward it by telephone or fax. The option to place an order by scanning barcodes in the warehouse and placing the desired quantity in the shopping cart offers a faster and, above all, more fun way of stock management.
Another way to simplify the online ordering process is the option to upload a simple .csv file. Only the quantities and SKU codes are sufficient to add the entire order to the shopping cart in the shop in one go.
These are just two of the many possibilities that a B2B eCommerce platform can offer to make it extra easy for your customer online. This makes the webshop increasingly interesting for your customer and an additional advantage is that you accelerate the ROI of your eCommerce platform!
In the second part of this blog series, 7 more tips are discussed to convince your traditional business customer of using the webshop.