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Key B2B functionality that will increase your profits…

Key B2B capability that may build up your income…

The old adage is  “never go shopping on an empty stomach”, we’ve all made the mistake of filling the trollies with enough food to feed an army (whilst eating the chocolate bar on the way around and throwing the empty wrapper in the bin before getting home). This coupled with leaving the shopping list behind means we typically buy everything we didn’t need whilst returning without the ingredients for the home-made chilli we wanted to make. The moment you enter the supermarket your journey is being subconsciously steered by them, from the careful positioning of the items they make most profit from, the end of isle money off promotions and the  three for two deals – before you know it you’ve got six of something that wasn’t on your list and you’ve got rows of tinned soup in your kitchen cupboard that you may never eat because the offer seemed appealing at the time. If supermarket analysts reviewed the list we left on the kitchen table against the receipt we took home they would take credit for the increased order value whilst we are left cursing for exceeding the monthly budget.

E Commerce functionality is getting better….

Research tells us that “online shoppers in the UK spend more per household than consumers in any other country” and 87% of retailers know what average order value to expect (AOV is a widely used ecommerce metric which divides the total revenue by the number of orders taken) . It is reported that an increased AOV online has a strong correlation to increased profit – so how can so many business to business operators ignore this essential ingredient?  People and businesses have already made the shift to purchasing online and ecommerce functionality is getting better as a result with advanced B2B marketing. As recently as five years ago people purchasing a B2B platform just wanted a basic order entry experience that would negate the need for rekeying orders that were being received via email, fax or phone. Today things are thankfully a lot more advanced, there are many business drivers that focus specifically on the growth of the online sales channel which is propelling the online experience so far forward that it is surpassing even the personal service that can be offered by a telesales representative or account manager.

What’s the secret?

Online promotions are one of these key drivers, they are sexy and clever. With the latest B2B functionality, manufacturers and distributors are landing customers on dynamic promotion pages that are intuitive; showing only the promotions that are applicable to their login and profile. Here buyers can instantly add the product that they want but have the added benefit of choosing from a list of rewards that suit their needs– that’s correct, customers are feeling rewarded in just a few clicks. Do you remember the old ‘hurry whilst stocks last’ tagline? Unlike the supermarkets, the B2B online customer can’t see whether the shelf containing the items on offer is almost empty and worry that someone is going to reach over their shoulder and take the last one; that same demand can be created online utilising subtle functional nuances where you can introduce a countdown timer, letting customers know how many of these deals are left, creating the urgency to add the offer before it runs out.  If the customer’s specific price (the price negotiated with the distributor to guarantee their business) is less than a promotional offer they will hide the offer from them because it’s not relevant. And the clever part? They don’t make you enter that voucher code anymore, they’ll give it to you automatically because they know online channel is working and the promotions are applicable to you. A win win situation all round – strategically relevant to the distributor in supporting their suppliers whilst helping increase the all important AOV!

The sexiest part however are the distributors and manufacturers that are operating streets ahead of the hesitant ‘could we/should we move customers online’ business owners. These operators are running promotions which have a ‘must buy’ item; the mandatory qualifier which hooks you in making you add something to your basket that you had never thought of (forget that old shopping list now), the recently launched product in the market that people do not even know about. What’s sexy about this? This is how you get hooked, how the order value is increasing and how online sales are growing exponentially. The pattern has shifted from having the six of something that you won’t need to re-order for a while, long gone are the days where the customers are avoiding the soup aisle because they were ‘robbed’ last time and instead, customers are now trying something that wasn’t on their list and items they didn’t consider purchasing – that in a nutshell is how spending habits are changing – and you didn’t even notice! The next time the customer logs in online to quickly repeat an order because business for them is also improving (they’ve got the mandatory item they were never going to purchase in their basket because their customers actually liked it) and they view the next set of offers continuing to spend in a different way. In simple terms, digital ecommerce managers have simplified it, they’ve automatically added the free items to the basket, thrown in the new lines we didn’t consider whilst removing the frustrating need to find that voucher code and making the customer journey a quicker, simpler process. Before you know it, the customers have started loving their suppliers for what they sell (praise for that intelligent and intuitive way of marketing) because it’s doing the thinking for them and in turn benefiting their customers and their profits.

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