B2B is the process by which businesses perform transactions directly with other businesses. Many businesses with different products and different customers run their companies using a B2B model. For example, there are companies that make certain foods, such as protein bars or granola, that may sell to consumers, but they also have a sales team to sell directly to retail businesses so that they can then in turn sell to their consumers as well. The same type of buying process happens in different industries, such as the fashion industry where businesses sell to other retail-type businesses to eventually reach the end consumer. There are many different businesses that run their online store using a B2B eCommerce platform.
While selling business-to-business is a common process for companies, it is important that businesses know what B2B eCommerce strategy to implement which will improve their sales and retain their customers. If businesses don’t understand how to implement strategies that will target their customers and improve knowledge in regard to their products, they may not reach their target audience. In turn, it is possible for companies not to reach their fullest potential sales or for their sales to suddenly decline or reach a halt. That is why electronic commerce strategies and having an eCommerce platform are important when running a B2B company.
How Many Businesses Sell B2B?
According to Globe News Wire, in 2020 the B2B electronic commerce business was worth over 7 trillion dollars and is expected to grow exponentially by over eighteen percent--making it worth over 18 trillion by 2026. With the coronavirus global shutdown, B2B sales increased rapidly and more businesses than ever were turning to electronic commerce and selling online. Additionally, there are more people using smart devices such as laptops or phones to connect with businesses, making it rather easy for electronic commerce sales to increase with the buying process being done completely from the comfort of the customer's homes.
Businesses are becoming aware of the benefits of running a business online, versus running an actual brick-and-mortar store that requires physical inventory to someone physically available to assist customers. Rather than spending time and money on things like inventory and managing a store, businesses can use that funding to provide their end consumer with better customer service, better products, and a better overall experience when buying from their online store.
Customer expectations are higher than ever now, and selling online has become more popular. This leads to customers doing more research than ever to make sure that they are satisfied when they make purchases. Additionally, running an electronic commerce B2B model enables businesses to automate many of the processes of their day-to-day operations. Let’s take a look at some of the best business-to-business electronic commerce strategies to improve sales.
What are the Top 5 B2B Business Strategies to Improve Sales?
Engage and Inform Customers
One great B2B eCommerce marketing strategy to improve sales is to keep your target audience engaged and informed. With easy access to smart devices like smartphones and laptops, all new and current customers have the answers they are looking for in regard to products at their fingertips. This means that before they make a purchase, customers will conduct research on the product to make sure they are purchasing one that meets their specific needs. For example, they may research which products and companies have better reviews than others. They will also be well-informed on product pricing and shipping details. Keeping the customers informed about these details and being transparent regarding pricing and product features will make them feel confident about purchasing from your company. The key is to provide the information quickly and as transparent as possible so that they remain engaged with your company rather than turning to a competitor.
One way to engage and inform customers is to create visually appealing advertisements for your products that may circulate on social media. Additionally, you may also engage with potential new customers who visit your website by creating pop-ups with useful information for the client such as current sales promotions or even offering a promotional discount if they sign up to receive information emails for your products.
Another way to engage customers is by having a live chat function on your website that is available to answer questions that they may have as soon as possible. Not only do these strategies make your company more well-known, but they will also provide excellent customer satisfaction by staying on top of the questions that your new and existing customers may have. On this same note, it is important to have a number on your platform where customers can make phone calls when they'd prefer to speak to someone in real-time.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is a process that helps websites gain more traffic to their site by becoming more relevant in search engines. This process is important because it allows customers to see your business site without having to specifically search for your business name. This is possible because your website would become visible to customers when searching certain keywords that you have embedded into your website.
According to Metric Marketing, customers use certain keywords or phrases when they are doing research on the products that they are interested in, and do not necessarily search for brand names. This is why it is important to enhance search engine optimization when trying to increase visibility in search engine results pages.
Utilizing an SEO Company
There are companies out there that specialize in search engine optimization and who will do the necessary research for you. Specific keywords are important so that your business website ranks higher on a search engine results page. The higher the website ranks, the more credible it is to customers. SEO companies will focus on the specific keywords and phrases that will greatly improve your ranking and even help you gain new customers also. Use them to improve your visibility and drive traffic to your website.
Use Social Media
Not only does social media benefit you when you are growing your brand awareness, but there are many social media marketing campaigns that can be run to improve your sales. Social media channels have many potential customers. Understanding social media marketing strategies can greatly benefit your eCommerce store.
What are Social Media Marketing Campaigns
According to Statista, in 2021 over 82% of the population in the United States used some sort of social media channel. This means that running a campaign on these types of platforms is likely to reach a large number of target customers. Depending on what you are looking to achieve with your marketing campaign, there are different things you can do. It is important that you have your team put together professional images and/or videos of your products so that they may circulate social media and portray the best image of your business possible. You might need to hire someone to run your social media pages and take the photos and videos themselves. This is beneficial to you because you won't have to spend too much time running a social media page while also running the day-to-day operations of your business. Once you have that figured out, there are different ways in which social media can benefit your business.
Increase Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is exactly what it sounds like. Making people aware of your brand and more recognizable to potential customers. If you are looking at increasing brand awareness, there are campaigns that you can run on multiple social media outlets. What drives your brand awareness is the hashtags and tags that you tie to your posts, so be sure to get creative! It is important that you use social media campaigns to help make your brand stand out as unique. This will make it easier for customers to choose your brand over a competitor's brand.
If you are looking to increase your customer engagement, social media channels are the way to do it! You can interact with your customers by simply tagging them in response to their comments or even liking some of their comments. It is an easy way to interact with them and hopefully gain more customers.
Email marketing is a great way in which businesses can reach individual customers and encourage them to come back and make another sale. Reaching individual customers is beneficial because it allows businesses to send emails that are personalized by including the customer's name in them. Depending on what the goals of the eCommerce marketing strategies are, there are different things that may be done.
Promotions or Discounts
To improve customer experience on their next purchase, the sales team in a business may offer a promotion or a discount for customers to use on their next purchase. This marketing strategy may encourage customers to make more online sales with your existing business because they are getting a discount. It is important that your content marketing team thoroughly researches your emails and how they are being created. You will want to make sure that the links on the emails lead directly to a landing page that is beneficial for your business and encourages the customer by providing them with a seamless buying experience.
For an overall better customer experience, sales teams may email their customers and offer them free shipping. If there is one thing that appeals greatly to a customer it's not having to pay for shipping. Your eCommerce business is already one step ahead of the customer by providing them with a free shipping discount sent directly to their email without them having to do any research.
New Product Awareness
If you are trying to inform your customers about new products that you might have available for them, email marketing is one way to do it. It enables you to send a quick email to your current customers with any information you would like them to know about your new product and any offers that you may have for them to shop online at your specific brand's site. Additionally, your business development team may even be able to encourage a sale by providing a discount to your customer in that same new product email.
Referral Incentive Programs
Referral incentive programs are another one of the many eCommerce marketing strategies that will improve sales. How it works is it encourages customers to refer someone that they know to make a purchase at your eCommerce store. When the purchase is made by potential customers, then both the current and new customers are given some type of incentive.
What Kind of Incentives Improve Sales?
When you sell online, incentives can be anything that will encourage your current customers to reach out to what could potentially be other customers. This can be anything from a discount the next time they make a purchase or money-back incentives. Referrals are a great way to improve customer experience also because customers who really enjoy your eCommerce store are happy to spread the news about it to potential customers when they are getting something in return. Additionally, your business may offer certain bulk ordering discounts as well to your customers so long as the referral goes through successfully. The decision-makers in your business can come up with many different types of incentives so long as the end goal is to bring in more customers to improve your sales.
The sales processes for your eCommerce store can be improved drastically by investing in a great eCommerce platform that will allow you to implement B2B eCommerce strategies. The end goal of doing so is to improve your sales. Additionally, running campaigns such as social media and email campaigns will allow you to better track customer behavior so that you can better meet what the customer needs. Finally, having eCommerce marketing strategies will attract potential customers to your business that you may otherwise be unable to reach. Your sales process as a whole can be improved drastically by implementing effective strategies for your eCommerce model. Stop waiting and start increasing sales and also find potential new buyers now by implementing the appropriate strategies for your business now.