How To Optimize Your Multi-Channel Strategy For eCommerce Success
Long gone are the days when all you needed to run a successful B2B ecommerce platform was a website and an email address. Today online business operates across multiple channels which all need to work in harmony to reach your audience.
Before beginning to optimize a multi-channel B2B strategy it's important to first have a complete understanding of your customers' journey. You need to know what they're looking for in the companies they choose to do business with, what their motivations are for seeking them out, whether they prefer to buy online or in a face-to-face situation, and more.
Manufacturers are not independent from retailers in this regard either. The producers of products can't simply rely on distributers to build relationships with customers but must be actively engaging with them also.
In short, your business strategy needs to be built around the processes and needs of your customers.
Contrary to commonly held belief, online business doesn't impair human relationships. What it does do though is forces brands to adopt a multi-channel business model to meet their customers where they are and reach out to them in new ways.
Nor does online shopping mean the death of face-to-face sales. In fact, many business owners still like to put a human face to the brands they buy products and services from. This means there is still an active role for your team of sales reps to play in visiting with businesses and communicating the advantages of your online platform. This helps bridge the multi-channel gap by allowing reps to engage in real conversations with customers and discover their wants, needs, and concerns, and communicate why your business is best placed to help solve them.
Also, don't be ready to shutter your call centers just yet. These are important touch points for customers who need to connect with your brands and need to have more complex discussions which aren't suitable for online chat platforms.
First and foremost, don't think of your digital space as simple a sales portal. Instead position your primary website as a tool which has the power to support both the customer and your sales force - given them the information and imagery to help sell and make purchasing decisions.
Your website is accessible from any connected device, meaning your salespeople can take your entire product catalogue to any meeting - even if all they have on them is a smartphone - meaning they are always ready to take advantage of a business opportunity.
However, when you're managing multiple channels of communication - both digital and physical - care must be taken to ensure that you keep track of all touchpoints. With so many different communication methods in play, it's crucial that brand messaging is consistent across all channels to avoid customers becoming confused.
One of the biggest advantages with online channels is the ability to solicit feedback from customers and deploy the resultant data to further evolve your strategy and drive real change in your business. Marketing is a constantly shifting landscape and it's crucial to be constantly assessing and reassessing the way you operate.
Multi-channel strategy is set to be a hot topic at B2B Online 2019, being held in November, at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, FL.
Please download the agenda today for more information and insights.