As B2B vendors upgrade offerings to bring their Web experiences up to par, much of the focus is on the early stages of the buyer journey: digital marketing and product research. In short, the emphasis is on acquiring new customers. But the benefits to optimizing B2B eCommerce perhaps even more significant for building customer retention – and with self-service becoming increasingly the norm for repeat orders, the ROI can make a powerful case for continued online investment.
Business buyers are increasingly bringing their off-the-clock experiences as consumers to work with them, resulting in increased expectations for efficiency and convenience when it comes to purchasing. Self-service tools and online returns processing tied for top sought-after features from B2B buyers in a survey from B2BecNews; and a survey of vendors found that two-thirds of sales are simple transactions where the customer is reordering or already knows the product or brand, according to Forrester.
Not only are repeat orders ideally suited to self-service efficiency – by encouraging online transactions, B2B sellers can take advantage of features such as personalization to deliver the ultra-relevant shopping experiences that boost sales. Companies told Forrester they’ve seen an uptick of 5-10% in revenues and up to 15% in average order values from companies buying via the Web, versus those making purchases exclusively offline.
Such tools can also have crossover benefits for sales reps, who can draw on personalized product recommendations and discover adjacent catalog categories to suggest to existing clients.
To maximize online assets for retention:
Spotlight reordering shortcuts
The B2B eCommerce home page should feature access to order histories and items customers have already bought, while buyers of frequently-replenished products should receive triggered emails reminding them to restock and providing quick links to the add-to-cart. Product pages should present cross-sell options that meet company-specific purchasing limits and business rules. In the cart, highlighting stored authorization and payment information reminds buyers that preferences have already been entered previously, and will save them time.
Invite offline customers to explore online
The B2B customer eCommerce portal should be listed on packaging materials, in individuals’ email signatures, and on receipts, and more prominent invitations can be included in transactional email notifications along with a list of benefits – from online customer communities to speedy returns processing to replenishment subscription services for optimal time savings.
Empower sales reps with access to online assets
Sales reps can better service their existing accounts if they have access to the comprehensive product information available online, from how-to manuals to customer reviews, while the ability to view customers’ browsing and buying histories can help them deliver more knowledgeable suggestions for add-on products and services, especially when combining their insights with automated personalization. Equipping store, trade show, or showroom employees with mobile consoles to access online information enables access from the sales floor, transforming one-to-one interactions into powerful consultative sales opportunities.
How does your B2B business use eCommerce to grow repeat sales?