While the industrial industry as a whole has been slower to embrace digital transformation that would allow them to better serve their B2B, and even B2C, customers through e-commerce, many are starting to understand the importance, especially after the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, according to a PwC COO Manufacturing Survey, 66% of US manufacturers agree that digital marketing and sales is a top business priority over the next 1-2 years. So, what does creating a meaningful e-commerce solution for your B2B buyers look like? In this article, we explore how you can meet customers where they’re at, provide a seamless digital customer experience, and grow sales by learning from customer behavior and data.
Meet Your Customers Where They’re Already at with E-Commerce
A common misconception for those within the industrial B2B space, is that making a product catalog in and of itself digitized is enough. However, while industry professionals are used to more traditional modes such as catalogs and sell sheets, these individuals are digital consumers that come across digital content when making personal purchasing decisions in their day-to-day lives from search to social to online reviews and more.
That’s why it’s imperative that industrial companies are able to provide their products on an e-commerce site, so that they can meet these customers who are already online to stay present and top-of-mind. This can be achieved with a comprehensive e-commerce plan that goes beyond just a site to encompass targeted promotions and marketing, as well as online product support
Create a Seamless Digital Customer Experience
When building out an e-commerce site for B2B and B2C customers in the industrial space, it’s important to remember what their needs are and the functionalities that they’ve come to expect from optimized, thoughtfully-designed sites from large retailers that make their personal buying experience seamless. A solid digital customer experience will include features such as fast check-out, custom pricing and product recommendations, product support through live chat and request form fills, 24/7 access, and product availability.
From a site structure standpoint, it’s also important to consider whether your products are easy to find through search functionality, clear product category grouping, brand pages, and more. The site shouldn’t take longer than 4 seconds to load from page to page, to prevent losing the customer before they’ve made a purchase. Try to limit the amount of clicks it takes for a customer to find what they’re looking for and add products to their online cart.
Learn from Customer Behavior & Data to Better Anticipate Their Needs
Not only will creating a strong digital customer experience for B2B segments lead to more conversion rates and revenue, it can also teach you how to better serve the needs of your customers and target new customer segments through analyzing customer behavior and data that can be tracked throughout their online purchasing journey. By collecting this customer behavior and data, you can improve your targeted marketing efforts and continue to make key optimizations to your e-commerce site that will help you grow your bottom line.
Not to mention, it can also better position your industrial company to sell products directly, further opening up the B2C segment and leading to even greater margins. As the digital world and the needs of customers in both B2B and B2C segments shift and evolve, the more we’ll start to see a blend in certain channels and the agility required for industrial companies to hold space for both traditional and forward-thinking business models to truly compete with the competition.
Discover How ShopIBT Provides Customers with an Easier Way to Purchase Online
At IBT, one of our founding principles that we live by is adopting new technologies and innovations in our commitment to continually seeking out the best ways to serve our customers and meet their unique needs. As an industrial company that’s been a leader in the industry for over seven decades, we understand the importance of staying nimble and creating a digital customer experience that can make day-to-day purchasing easier for our customers.
That’s why in the beginning of 2021, we launched our e-commerce site, ShopIBT, as an extension of our brand and services to make it easy for our customers to shop on the go and access product inventory and availability right at their fingertips.
Only a year later, we’ve made massive improvements and upgrades on ShopIBT, as we continue to optimize our site based on customer needs and growing capabilities. With the latest upgrade to ShopIBT’s digital customer experience, the new features make purchasing online easier than ever for both B2B and B2C customer segments. These new capabilities include:
- A new homepage and content catered toward each user
- An even faster check-out experience
- The ability to add a one-time drop-ship address
- Access to more suppliers and products
- Enhanced design features
These changes and customizations have garnered more site traffic and increased conversion rates, as we continue to center the digital customer experience of our current and potential online customers.
Check Out the Latest Upgrade to Our E-Commerce Site
Take a look at the latest design and functionalities that ShopIBT’s latest upgrade has to offer! Or, if you’re interested in learning more about how you can improve efficiency with e-commerce, check out our article that covers our top 5 e-commerce tips.