How to Optimize Your Ecommerce Value Proposition
By Tom Wintaugh
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Automated transactions have revolutionized the way we conduct business in the digital age. From browsing online to pricing, buying, and tracking orders, automation has touched almost every aspect of the B2B ecommerce experience. Though it may sometimes seem that automation has made human labor redundant, human relationships continue to play a vital role in obtaining and nurturing loyal buyers.
Selling is very much about connecting with the shopper on a human level. This is especially true when it comes to large and expensive orders. High-value transactions involve far more buyer trust and risk than smaller consumer purchases. To earn this trust, sellers should do their part to establish themselves as a reputable and experienced business. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to nurture strong buyer-seller relationships throughout the entire selling process.
If you want to build and maintain strong customer relationships, make sure your sales team has the time to do so. When they’re preoccupied with busywork, they’re not actively working to ensure customer satisfaction and trust. Make time for your team to call, email, or even visit your valued customers. They should have plenty of time to ask customers insightful questions and try to understand how they can serve them better.
Personal interaction can still add value in an automated, transactional environment. The following are a few examples of how the “human touch” can work to connect customers and sellers:
No matter how good your online tutorials and FAQs may be, some customers want someone to talk them through their order, particularly if it’s large and especially if it’s their first experience with your store. To ensure that customer questions get answered, consider setting up your ecommerce platform to require them to call for pricing or inquire for more details. Doing so allows you to add a personal touch that demonstrates your commitment to getting customers exactly what they need. You can talk through their requirements and let them know about features like automated ordering. Consider making offers like discounts and free add-on items to create a memorable first purchase experience.
When your most important customers experience technical problems for specialized requests, they need to know that these will be addressed as soon as possible. A conversation with a real person can head off minor complaints before they turn into major issues. If customers have problems with your system and get frustrated, they’re more likely to abandon your store and look for other shopping options.
Taking the time to ask relationship-building questions makes the customer feel good and helps establish trust. The customer should always feel that you are acting in their best interest—otherwise, they may start to think your company sees them as just a number.
While you may have avoided giving out contact information in the past, B2B merchants can differentiate themselves by providing a way for shoppers to call in during business hours. This may mean that your sales staff has to start splitting shifts to cover multiple time zones, but the payoff in positive customer interaction is absolutely worth it.
While it may not (yet) be as popular as speaking with a real person over the phone, having live chat available on your site gives visitors the ability to get answers and support almost instantaneously. With a chat system, you can send transcripts of your customers’ conversations via email for their reference. Learn more about the power of live chat here.
If you’re short on support staff, or just want to give your customer options after-hours, consider adopting a customer service platform to help keep your processes healthy and ongoing. A robust platform should offer email, live chat, phone support, and issue prioritization tools.
Buyers returning to your store to make a reorder don’t typically require the same guidance and care that new visitors do. They know exactly what they want and how to get it. An expedited reordering form saves these return buyers the time and hassle of going through the shopping process all over again.
If you don’t have a mobile-responsive store in 2018, you are missing out on sales. Mobile ecommerce purchases have skyrocketed over the last few years and are quickly becoming a staple of the B2B buying experience.
At Miva, we are all about developing relationships and driving your success. That’s why we have real people waiting to help you realize your ecommerce goals.
Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.