By Katie Wright on Tue 16 January 2018 in Web & eCommerce
Businesses forget to focus on the most vital factor when selling B2B – developing relationships with their customers...
Selling through an online trade portal allows you to build loyalty between your customers, as they will use your service repeatedly if it exceeds their expectations. So, surely it’s vital to build a strong relationship with your customers, and trading online will undoubtedly do that.
Lots of B2B companies think that trading online just “isn’t for them”. But in fact, trading online will automatically build trust and loyalty with your customers, as your product or service is now available to them whenever they need it. Customers want to have the option of ordering online as it makes their experience more convenient, and so is enhancing the relationship you have with them, not damaging it.
Initially, the thought of moving online seems daunting for businesses. They may be worried they might lose the face-to-face communication and personalisation of the service to their loyal customers. “How will my customers find me?”, “How will they know I’m online?”, or “Will they even buy online?” may be objections that run through their minds. Some even believe that by having a B2B trade portal, you actually lose contact with your key customers. These concerns are all normal, but B2B SMEs have proven this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, RealBusiness reported that in 2010, the eCommerce industry in the UK was worth £60bn…but fast-forward to 2016 and its value has more than doubled to £133bn!
Unless you plan to have your physical premises open 24/7, then not having an online trade portal for your customers to access is inconvenient, and ultimately, you will lose them to your competitors. Not only will it be convenient for the buyer, but it will save your business time, effort and money, as phone calls for placing orders will be reduced, meaning resource can be used elsewhere. By offering more to your customers, their buying experience can be just as good online as it is offline.
By having a B2B trade portal, relationships are enhanced and the user can benefit from personalisation on their account when logged in. Your loyal customers who repeat purchase items from you can have special pricing and their order history logged, making it easier and more intuitive for them to buy with you again next time. Gartner Research predicts that by 2018, B2B companies that incorporate personalisation in eCommerce will outsell companies that do not.
Other personalisation factors that you wouldn’t fulfil in store can be leveraged through trading online too. For example, online tools such as a quick order pad and credit limits can be integrated into your eCommerce solution, providing the customer with more value. Being transparent with your customers and providing more useful information like this will enhance your relationships with them, and allow your business to provide more thorough and professional customer care.