Is B2B Omnichannel Commerce Right For You?

is- B2B omnichannel commerce right for you

Can your customer place an order online and pick the same in-store?

Can a customer visit your website and track his complete purchase history (including via in-store, social media, email or online)?

Can a customer add an item from your sales email directly to his cart?

Does your loyalty program update points and rewards to the customer’s mobile app?

Can anyone from your in-store staff access and lookup for customer’s mobile app shopping list?

If your answer to all of the above questions is Yes, then you must already be reaping the benefits of omnichannel retail. But in case your answer is a NO, then you are losing not only your potential customers but to your competition as well.

What is Omnichannel retail?

When it comes to omnichannel retail, it is a very simple business model. It is a complete integration of all the existing channels providing the customer a seamless unified experience at all touchpoints.         

In simpler words, it is the convenience with which a customer can access different channels during their shopping journey. S/He can start their search from one channel, add to cart & checkout from another and even pick the product from yet another.

Omnichannel retail strategy empowers your shopper to find you anywhere, anytime and create their own preferred process. Blurring the lines of distinction among channels, centralizing the data management and putting the customer at the core lets you realise its  full potential.

For businesses today, having a holistic omnichannel strategy is imperative. Candid essence of an efficient omnichannel shopping spreads from your brick-and-mortar stores to social media, to all of the digital marketplaces.  

As opposed to a single channel and multichannel retail, every channel is working individually and independently. They do not have any consideration of the customer interests. Whereas Omnichannel focuses on consumer preferences and believes that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Omnichannel Retail  for B2B Businesses

Omnichannel retail has become indispensable for successful businesses. Irrespective of your business type (like manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer) and your business model (B2C, or B2B), an omnichannel retail approach is for everyone.

Fact being, every buyer whether B2B or B2C research online for their requirements. Hence it is important for you to provide them with all the required information they are looking for.

Adopting a customer-centric approach and delivering an exceptional customer experience will set you above the pack. Being accessible to your customers and delivering them with how, where and what they want on any device.

B2B marketing is mainly about return on investment (ROI) and creating a large top funnel which needs to be nurtured and converted into sales. With a less stellar budget, B2B businesses need to act smarter than their B2C counterparts. 

B2B businesses new to eCommerce and omnichannel retail are usually concerned about keeping their sales teams engaged and efficient. If you have similar queries, we would suggest you keep your cool. As shifting from a single channel or multichannel approach to omnichannel would rather allow your sales force to focus more on selling.

For your B2B business, implementing a data driven approach to add that touch of personalization would help. Right from showing recommendations based on the user history to offering related content that might help him stay engaged and make a purchase.

A consistent omnichannel experience will further ensure that you have a substantial increase in average order value (AOV) and are maximizing the customer lifetime value (CLV). Although it is worth noting that omnichannel retail helps streamline your inventory management, and even marketing strategy and sales channels.

Why is Omnichannel Retailing Important for your business?

Constantly changing user requirements are shaping eCommerce into different forms and so are businesses adapting newer approaches.

Factors indicating rising need for Omnichannel Marketing

1. Multiple devices and channels available

Empowered by internet, and mobile devices modern consumers (typically generation Z) has a major role play in redefining a successful retailer. A fun fact is today every household has more number of devices than the number of family members in that house.

It simply directs us to the fact that modern customers have a number of channels to access your or your competitors’ products. Hence, impulsive, or uninformed purchase decisions are not a part of shoppers routine anymore.

2. Changing User requirements

Now a clean and crisp looking ecommerce site alone can’t help you survive the rising competition. You need to provide them with high speed, personalised experience and convenience of shopping both online and offline. 

3. Ease in user journey

From a customer’s perspective, the easiest shopping experience is the best one. Simply put, they want to research and compare a product’s price online while they are in your store. They place the order online but want to pick it up from the store. They manage their orders, and request a refund at a click. All of this is possible only with omnichannel retail.

4. Optimizing Multi Channel does not help 

Even if you try delivering the same by optimizing your multichannel approach, the effect will not be the same. Integration of all channels allowing you to have a single view of the customer is possible only with omnichannel.

5. Need for Seamless user experience

According to a survey conducted by Force, 98% out of people interviewed expressed that purchase, pick-up or delivery and returns should be accessible from all the channels. They also expect a seamless experience instead of just being served with high-quality products/services.

6. Convenience and consistency

Whether a consumer is looking for a luxury product for $10000 or a daily use item under $10, convenience and consistency across all the channels is the basic requirement. Omnichannel retail strategy builds the bridge where business could fulfil consumer demands.

Thus, B2B retailers need to shift towards omnichannel B2B retailing and leverage the power that lies therein. A B2B omnichannel marketing strategy, not only provides a seamless UX experience but also increases sales.

Benefits of Omnichannel Marketing to B2B Retailers

1. Data collection and Analysis

As omnichannel strategy integrates your data management, it not only helps customers with seamless experience but your business as well. Cookies, shopping carts, PoS(point-of-sale) systems, mailing lists, loyalty and referral programs help you to collect the data.

The data thus collected can be collaborated and analyzed to render meaningful information about user behaviour, their interests and user journey.

Well informed and analysis based campaigns can help you achieve higher conversion rate.

2. Efficient integration of your Business

Omnichannel strategy makes it possible for you to integrate all the departments and across all channels of marketing for  your business.

Right from inventory, to sales, marketing and even customer support, omnichannel marketing creates better synergy and all work towards a unified goal.

They all become a team and put their efforts to deliver high quality products and services to your consumers.  

3. Effective Campaign design and better targeting

Collecting consumer data helps you in many ways. Analysing the same might help you segment your users as per their intent.

Finding ideal customers, their needs and requirements, would further help you create personalised campaign designs.

4. Enhanced brand visibility

Consistency and convenience in your omnichannel marketing helps to spread your message across all the channels.

Whatever the touchpoint is, when the customer is offered a seamless and personalized experience it leads to enhance your brand visibility.

Furthermore, consistency in keeping the customer at the core of your approach, increases customer loyalty resulting in a long term relationship.

5. Increased AOV

Omnichannel marketing gives you a huge opportunity to cross-sell and increase the average order value (AOV) of your customers. How? Not all customers are the same. Same goes for B2B customers.

When you understand your customer’s needs and their interests, you tend to serve them with required information. Sharing product/service information in a timely manner easens their problems.

Data-driven approach and personalized content would not only increase your AOV but also lead to customer satisfaction.

6. Higher ROI

The above mentioned benefits lead your B2B business towards delivering better customer experience, enhanced brand visibility, increased brand loyalty and higher customer retention. All of these together ultimately lead to better customer engagement and higher Return on Investment (ROI)

Formulating a B2B Omnichannel Strategy

Quite often, when we hear omnichannel marketing, a business-to-consumer (B2C) model comes to mind, much like a giant retailer. However, consumer brand engagement has shifted from traditional sense.

We no longer consume products, but we also engage with them. We like and follow them, share and retweet, mention and tag our friends on social media and so on. Business-consumer relationships have also changed with increased brand loyalty.

Moreover, is there any need for advertising when customers are doing it all?

However, omnichannel marketing isn’t reserved for B2C alone. B2B companies can also enjoy the benefits accrued by this strategy.

Here’s how your B2B e-commerce can create a B2B omnichannel marketing strategy.

  1. Capture Information

When visitors come to your website, it is prudent that you capture their information. This will help you know who visited your website. It will also help you know where they are coming from. Moreover, it will help you understand why they are visiting your site.

Offer multiple opportunities for visitors to provide their contact information. This can either be free downloads, trial subscriptions, webinars, podcasts and infographics.

  1. Nurture with Email Marketing 

After you’ve acquired visitor information, it is time to nurture them into potential customers. However, email marketing should be executed strategically and not just blasted off.

The prospect should receive personalized communication that explains your brand to them. These emails should serve as an educational tool. Moreover, it should lead towards making a purchase, and the making of a customer.

  1. Understanding Life Cycle

As an educational tool, the content should resonate amicably with the consumer. For instance, blogs and statistical graphs may seem confusing to a newbie subscriber.

Therefore, format your content to resonate with your respective customers. For instance, repeat customers might be interested in statistical representations, webinars, videos and podcasts, eNewsletters and blog posts.

Offering multiple formats is made possible with the initial stage of information collection. As the first time subscriber gets a hang of your marketing, you can shift the content desirably.

  1. Market some more

First time B2B retailers think that once a consumer makes a purchase then that’s it. A common misconception, usually overlooked. Don’t stop, continue marketing to your customers.

From the initial stages of business development, to client acquisition, product development and ultimately sales, all must be marketed.

A lead transformed to a customer should still be targeted, but from a different angle. He/she shouldn’t be targeted by the sales department but by the accounting department. Therein, they’ll receive promotions, special events or challenges,  even personalised holiday messages and gifts from management.

This continued engagement building helps them advance in the life cycle. They’ll end up being brand advocates and good testimonial case study subjects in future.

When putting together an omni-channel strategy good marketing practices are still in effect. Shadow your customers, emotionally connect with them and talk in their language.

As a business, you should listen and provide a solution to their problems. Moreover, don’t forget to secure their data once you’ve collected it.

Parting Shot

It is time to stop thinking and start acting. An omnichannel formula has the potential to uplift your business-to-business company. As always in business, engagement builds relationships and relationships equals revenue. In summary, B2B omnichannel marketing enables you to have a better understanding of consumer behaviour. It also improves your targeting which is further extended to conversion. It will also boost brand loyalty and give you a competitive edge. Can you emulate a B2B omnichannel strategy in your e-commerce retail business?

In case you need any more information or help, please feel free to contact us.

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