Taking your B2B firm into the omnichannel age

In the eCommerce sector, one buzzword that has gained a lot of traction in recent years is ‘omnichannel’ – the concept that companies need to provide a consistent experience no matter how customers choose to interact with them.
It has been in the B2C market where organisations have been fastest to embrace this idea, as revenues from consumer eCommerce activities are booming, but this does not mean that B2B companies cannot also benefit from the many great advantages that a more unified strategy can bring.
Research conducted last month by Coleman Parkes on behalf of master data management specialists Stibo Systems and eCommerce digital agency Salmon show that B2B firms including manufacturers and wholesale distributors are seeing a boom in revenue from online channels.
Manufacturing Digital reported income from eCommerce is estimated to grow by six per cent in the coming year, while two-thirds of B2B organisations predict they will see between 21 and 40 percent of their revenue come from the online space in the next 12 months.
Therefore, it’s clear that B2B firms need to have an active online presence, but in today’s environment, it should not stop there. The use of smartphones and tablets, for instance, is not limited to the consumer space, so B2B companies that can meet the demand from enterprises for smooth, mobile-enabled sites that enable them to complete a transaction from anywhere will be well-placed to boost their business.
But how ever they choose to buy, B2B customers will expect a high level of support and a consistent experience when they need to get in touch with a company, which is where having a strong omnichannel solution is invaluable to companies.
It was noted recently by Multichannel Merchant: “Direct B2B purchases online can be risky. The products themselves are often complicated to install and use and require lots of support and maintenance.”
As a result, strong customer relationship management tools should also be a key part of a comprehensive omnichannel B2B sales solution.
It was also noted by the publication that there are several additions to a B2B eCommerce site that businesses need to think about. These should include the ability to pay via purchase orders, as limiting their options to credit cards can seriously inconvenience companies that have strict procedures in place for their procurement processes.
Making the process as straightforward as possible also extends to areas such as site navigation and account registration. Being able to ensure customers can find their way around the website easily is particularly important to B2B firms, which may often provide many more product options than consumer-oriented companies. Therefore, they will need a navigation solution that is optimised for this sector and can provide the most relevant results quickly.
Multichannel Merchant concluded: “Offer your business customers their preferred sales channels – whether in the form of a sales rep, channel partner or e-store. For direct online sales, make sure that the shopping experience matches customer expectations of convenience and service.”
To find out how you can meet these demands with the help of cloud-based solutions, please get in touch with one of our experts.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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