E-commerce isn’t just for selling fancy health foods and gym leggings online, some of the most successful e-commerce websites out there are those that sell to other businesses. This thriving B2B market consists of a diverse range of goods and services and these websites are crucial to many businesses across the globe.
But selling to other businesses online can differ greatly and these e-commerce websites can look different from the B2C websites we’re more familiar with. If you run a B2B e-commerce site or you’re thinking about starting up your business online, there are several ways you can boost your sales and build your reputation as an industry leader.
In this guide, we’ll look at six B2B e-commerce sales strategies that you should consider for your business. Read on to find out more.
1. Put the customer experience first
Customer experience has become one of the most competitive aspects of a B2C business, with many big-name brands pulling out all the stops to build long-lasting relationships with their customers. This is perhaps because, in the case of B2C purchasing, the transactions or queries may only need to be handled by one person if any.
Now, this is not to say that outstanding customer experience doesn’t exist within B2B e-commerce, but there is definitely more that can be done to leverage the power of customer service to increase sales. Think about it, if you’re buying supplies for your business you might need additional information about whether they’re going to be right for you. This might go beyond a pop-up chat window or an FAQ page.
The best way to get around this is to ensure there is sufficient contact information on your site in case someone needs to get in touch with you and to include as much detail about your products as possible. Customers could also benefit from an online community of others in their industry that has used your goods or services before, where they can also ask questions of their peers.
As part of this, you should also streamline your checkout process as much as possible, making the journey from discovery to the sale as smooth as possible. Always be clear about shipping prices and times, especially for overseas deliveries. By putting the customer experience first and ensuring that they have as much information as possible or the means to quickly and easily find out more about your offerings, you are more likely to make sales and create lasting relationships with customers for the future.
2. Invest in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
According to Fronetics, 62% of B2B buyers will use search engines as one of the first resources when looking to learn about a solution or find a product. Interestingly, the same study revealed that 71% of B2B buyers will start by running a generic search rather than looking for a specific company and they will run an average of 12 searches before engaging with a specific brand.
It’s clear then that a strong SEO strategy is a must for your B2B e-commerce website. Not only does this help to make your website more visible for relevant searches, but the more times you appear in the 12 search results, the more likely they are to trust and engage with your brand. This in turn can lead to a boost in traffic and therefore sales.
3. Create a diverse marketing strategy
Your marketing efforts will always be an important part of your sales strategy, but the good news is, in the days of the internet and social media, you can create an interesting and varied marketing campaign that is budget-friendly. You should aim to market your products or services across different platforms, from Facebook to industry-specific forums and communities. This will help you to be seen by more potential customers, build your SEO, and target your audience where they spend most of their time online.
These platforms also present you with an exciting opportunity to use different formats. For example, creating YouTube videos that demonstrate how your products are used or sharing high-quality, adverts, and images on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Strong visuals are very important in the age of the serial scroller, you need to be able to grab their attention quickly! So, use a varied range of marketing techniques to do this.
4. Make sure your website is up to B2C standards
When you think about B2C websites, you often think of carefully crafted, well-laid-out websites with lots of visuals and interesting branding. Believe it or not, these aesthetics play a big role in brand engagement and boosting sales. The problem is, these techniques don’t always translate across to B2B websites.
You need to make sure that your e-commerce site is up to the standards that consumers expect from their B2C counterparts. You could spend some time creating this beautiful site yourself or even invest in a web designer to perfect this for you. But you’d be surprised what a difference a more visually pleasing and clearly laid out design can do for your sales – check out this example from a session recording plugin website so don’t neglect the look of your website.
5. Add reviews and testimonials
With a staggering 93% of customers saying they are more likely to consider buying a product after reading a positive review, it’s clear that social proof is an important tool for selling. Yet despite this, only 43% of B2B companies include reviews and testimonials on their website. By adding reviews and testimonials to your site, perhaps underneath your product descriptions, you can significantly increase your number of sales. You can also use these reviews as an effective marketing tool for promoting your goods or services.
6. Check-in with your customers
Such a simple but effective strategy, make sure you’re checking in with your top customers regularly! It is estimated that your top 20 customers will amount to around 80% (or the bulk of) your sales each year, so you need to create long-lasting relationships with these people. Checking in with them regularly via phone calls or email shows that you care about their customers and you appreciate their business. You might also wish to give them exclusive deals every now and then to celebrate their loyalty.
By creating trusted relationships with them, you can also use the opportunity to ask them for feedback on your products or services. You can use these to make positive changes where necessary and also as a marketing tool like we discussed earlier.