PROVIDING A RICH CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IN THE B2B WORLD

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1 PROVIDING A RICH CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IN THE B2B WORLD

2 THE B2B PARADIGM HAS CHANGED B2B 2.0! Over the years, the B2C ecommerce space has been at the forefront of providing consumer-friendly functionality. At times it seems some sites even predict and think for the shopper. Up until recently, the B2B market has lagged behind the B2C sites in providing the same shopping experience for their online customers. The ecommerce channel continues to grow, almost exponentially it seems, and the major players in the B2B market have taken notice of this eager-to-please market and have begun mimicking the habits and tendencies of the B2C sites. The new evolution of B2B sites, called B2B 2.0, is the migration of B2C functionality into the B2B world. What was once only available in B2C sites is now finding its way into the new wave of B2B. The progressive B2B players are providing their shoppers with cross- and up-selling opportunities, optimized content and the sharing of peer-to-peer information. WHAT IS B2B 2.0? Within this new world of B2B ecommerce, B2B 2.0 brings three never-before-seen key focus areas. With the help of these emerging practices, B2B is beginning to look less like the younger brother of B2C and more like a twin. Rich Customer Experience Retail giants such as Target and Amazon have set the standard of ecommerce experiences, and the bar is quite high. The consumers who spend their evenings shopping online found themselves pining for the same functionalities in the B2B stores they must frequent at the office. Who said simply because it is one business selling to another that pleasantries and conveniences needed to be saved for client luncheons and conference calls? When boiled down, a business is only a larger group of individuals working toward the same goal; shouldn t they be entitled to rich, well-written and well-organized content, easy navigation and customized logins and checkouts as well? Someone said they were, and that trend is quickly gaining momentum. Operational Management Of successful calls placed to a customer service center regarding B2B ecommerce (ones where you are able to reach the correct department during normal business hours and talk to a real human being), about half usually deal with one of three questions: Do you have it in stock? What is my price? Where is my order?

3 Depending on the internal processes of the organization, this workload could potentially lead to a swamped customer service desk, misquoted prices, or frustrated customers. In an effort to create a B2B ecommerce experience that more closely resembled B2C, businesses recognized the importance of integrating their front-end user interfaces with their back-end ERPs. In doing so, human intervention is reduced and, subsequently, so is human error. Through linking information in the ERP directly to the ecommerce store, buyers can view their order histories, check their accounts and order statuses and, in effect, customize their shopping experiences in the workplace. Consumer-centric Marketing Modern B2B sites began taking note of how well B2C sites target their customers for cross-sells and up-sells. Through tracking consumer behaviors by way of site analytics, statistics such as which pages a person viewed, how much time he or she spent on a given page and on which items he or she clicked, businesses can create personalized marketing campaigns. These campaigns also benefit the internal sales team, as they are presented with a perspective into the psyche of buyers, which for years has remained elusive. Social streams such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs also play an integral part in ecommerce marketing. While B2B does not lend itself to social media in the same ways, the core concepts can be borrowed. Businesses can encourage customers to share their B2B experiences by sharing a blog post on Twitter, liking an organization on Facebook, or contributing to a case study (a word-of-mobile-mouth phenomenon). Through dedicated consumer-centric marketing initiatives, many formerly traditional B2B organizations are beginning to realize their ROIs as quickly as their B2C counterparts.

4 Why B2B 2.0? B2B 2.0 is all about treating the shopper as a real human being and making the shopping experience smoother, easier and simply elegant. That said, there are three primary benefits to the organization for adopting these practices: Increasing revenue The tools and metrics surrounding Consumer-centric marketing are geared towards helping companies increase revenue. The obvious technique is to leverage the cross-sell/up-sell functions to drive additional sales through add-on purchases. Imagine suggesting to a shopper to buy installation tools, better quality items or even entire new categories of items that the shopper did not know were available truly, the possibilities are endless. Also, ratings and reviews allow B2B shoppers to see how the product performed for other companies before making a purchase. It is ironic that most consumers will read 10+ reviews before dining at a restaurant in a new city, yet old-school B2B companies expect their customers to purchase items costing thousands of dollars without providing a single rating or review. Decreasing Costs Operational Management is all about the integration, automation and sharing of data that is traditionally locked inside the ERP system. With each new integration, a new business process is automated. With each new automation, that business process can be performed without human intervention removing human error, and reducing the cost for that transaction. Then, as information is shared on the ecommerce site, the shoppers can retrieve that information quickly and easily. This allows the shoppers to become more self-sufficient and reduces some burden from the organization. The customer service folks become less burdened with routine questions and tasks and can then focus on more complex ordering scenarios and more revenue generating tasks.»» Increasing Customer Satisfaction The goal of every organization is to improve their overall customer satisfaction. In today s web-savvy world, consumers are demanding sophisticated and easy to use ecommerce sites more and more. Providing a rich customer experience in the online channel not only helps today s sales, but also helps ensure that the shopper wants to come back and shop again. If shoppers are forced to use an archaic B2B site, they will indeed find a more user-friendly shopping experience it is only a Google search away.

5 The shift has already happened do not be left behind Many B2B organizations have already made the move to B2B 2.0 and these companies are reaping the rewards. As online user experiences continue to improve, so does their bottom line. Traditional B2B sellers will soon find that they will not be able to compete with their peers who have already adopted practices of ecommerce B2B 2.0. ABOUT BRITESKIES Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Briteskies is a full service solution company for ecommerce website design and development projects, ERP system upgrades and integration with ecommerce platforms. We are dedicated to helping our customers take their brands, products and services to the online marketplace, and we deliver value through strategic planning, technical innovation and project delivery.

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