Trend #4 Omnichannel
Research has shown that companies with strong omnichannel marketing strategies retain on average 89% of their existing customers compared to 33% of companies that lack such strategies. B2B sellers need to embrace the fact that all customers are now omnichannel and work toward accommodating them.
In an environment where more B2B customers prefer to do their own research online, customer expectations should influence an organization’s B2B selling priorities. To meet those increasingly complex and sophisticated expectations, it’s important to have a flexible, scalable commerce infrastructure with an integrated online selling platform at its core. From a technological point of view, that means an organization requires not only a robust B2B ecommerce platform but also a strong CRM system that would help create a comprehensive B2B buyer persona. A CPQ system is also essential for expediting full-service sales and letting the ecommerce platform effectively support complex products and variations in product lines.
The data indicates that B2B buyers don’t have specific preferences toward either self- or full-service. Instead, they switch between the two depending on a purchasing scenario. The combination of human-assisted options and self-service, therefore, makes for a sensible strategy. Flexible ecommerce infrastructures typically offer a full spectrum of options, from self-serve to sales team-delivered full service along with hybrid selling models.
It’s worth putting extra effort into migrating B2B buyers online in an attempt to convert them into higher value customers.
eCommerce cannot be independent of traditional direct and indirect selling channels. All the back-end data around products, pricing, contracts, rebates, and promotions have to be consolidated, while the front-end touchpoints accommodate the needs of each channel. The best approach would be to start from the back-end and work your way to the front to keep consistency in the process while providing unique personalized experiences for every user persona.