“Customers don’t like to order online”, “my customers are old fashioned”, “they prefer a sales rep”, or the classic “I can’t trust my clients to order enough – I know a rep will sell them more”. Sound familiar?
Now with Covid-19, old sales strategies are changing, says Naomi Farberman, Regional Sales and Partner Manager – APAC at Pepperi, which means more than ever businesses are looking to online B2B eCommerce.
If you’ve made the leap and need some help nudging your customers to go digital, Naomi says there are a variety of ways to get the most value from your B2B eCommerce.
“Make your B2B eCommerce site a one-stop-shop,” she says, adding that if customers are able to see everything in one place, it makes the platform more valuable to them. Including everything from their order history, frequently bought items (shopping lists), previous invoices or statements, and a means to pay their bills are all helpful inclusions.
“This will make your B2B eCommerce platform a focal point for your customers to interact with you – and while they are there, they can learn about your latest and greatest products, services and promotions.”
She also suggests providing functions like the ability to upload their order from excel or via a mobile app with barcode scanning so they can place orders quickly and easily.
Another way to encourage your customers to utilise your eCommerce platform is to offer online-only specials where customers need to log in to get the best deals and latest products in your range.
“Provide them with wholesale deals that they can only access online – and have the ability to easily upsell and cross sell while you’re at it.”
Naomi also adds that offering discounts or free shipping can also sweeten the deal for your customers to make the change.
“Fewer overheads for you means you can pass savings on to your customers, and they can get their order faster too,” she says. “Create a financial incentive for your customers to get online, so it is easier to change their habits in the long term. We do this really well with consumers, so why not do it with our business customers too?”
But the benefits shouldn’t only be for your customers, she adds.
“Provide incentives for your reps to get the customers signed up to the B2B eCommerce platform, or to place their orders on the platform, “ she suggests.
“Use the power of your people in the field to promote the new platform and excite them about all the benefits of signing up. You can even create a competition among your reps to win a prize for the most orders placed online by their customers, or the highest value of orders.”
Doing this also works to ensure that your sales team doesn’t see your digital platform as a threat or job replacer and instead adds value to their role by easing the burden of admin and helping them focus on what they do best – sell.
“An omnichannel platform can highlight the gaps in the B2B e-Commerce orders placed, so the rep can fill them and upsell where it adds value. By implementing a rewards system for the field team, so they get recognized for growth in B2B e-Commerce orders too,” she says.
“Sales Reps can also make better use of their time to develop the relationship with your customer, rather than simply taking orders. Reps become their trusted adviser on your brands or category.”
Finally, she suggests conducting a campaign for your customers on the launch of the B2B e-Commerce platform, with easy instructions or a video to show how it can make their lives easier.
“Any opportunity to communicate with your customers is a good one, keeping your company and your products front of mind. Here is a perfect opportunity to show them that you are making their lives easier when ordering your products, so they will want to order from you first.”
To find out more about Pepperi’s B2B e-Commerce module, click here.