Buyer experience has been a B2C term until recently – now customer-centric marketing tactics and strategies are gradually making their way into the B2B world.
Today, more and more sellers in B2B support the idea of retaining their customers by improving the buyer experience. B2B buyer expectations are constantly rising, so B2B sellers need to cater to those expectations if they want to stay ahead of competition.
In this post, we will share some B2B customer experience best practices to help improve retailer-wholesaler relationships, because a typical wholesale customer is a retailer.
Use these strategies to improve the B2B wholesale buyer experience:
1. Efficient management of returns
This is one of the most influencing factors in business-to-business service. There may be cases when a retailer wants to return the products that they could not sell or the ones that were returned by their customers.
Allowing buyers to return products will develop trust in their minds and encourage them to stick with your brand every time they wish to purchase products.
2. Networking with customers
Some brands organize regular events that bring them and their customers together. Such in-person events are recommended for B2B companies whose products are embedded into the daily processes of their customers.
This is an opportunity for companies to engage with clients and collect data for more personalized B2B customer service in the future.
3. Timely order delivery
Distributors and wholesalers need to live up to their customers’ expectations and, thus, need to get products to them on time. Make sure you have a reliable order and inventory tracking system that will help you understand the buying habits of your B2B customers and make sure that you have the inventory available all the time.
4. Account-based marketing
According to a survey conducted by SiriusDecisions in 2015, over 90% of companies believe that account-based marketing, or ABM, is a must-have strategy for the best B2B experience.
Instead of targeting the marketing efforts on marketing personas, like in B2C, ABM involves targeting specific companies and customizing the marketing campaigns to their needs and preferences. Narrow focus and a unique approach to each account make ABM a perfect example of personalized B2B marketing.
5. E-mail marketing
E-mail still remains one of the most powerful marketing tools, and it can also be a great means of marketing communication between a wholesaler and their buyer. A wholesaler can exchange personalized e-mails with their B2B clients, for example, in a series of educational newsletters.
Such e-mails contain no marketing messages at all, but still they do a great job to improve the B2B customer experience and boost conversion.
6. 24/7 availability
Wholesale sales can extend beyond the wholesaler’s location and even time zone; therefore, it is crucial to support the clients around the clock. You can achieve this by hiring remote customer support reps at the customer’s location, having your own reps work in shifts, or even integrating intelligent chatbots into your social media page or your B2B eCommerce platform.
7. Asking customers for feedback
Amazon was the first to introduce a customer review section on an eCommerce website. Their stellar attitude to customers brought them to success, so this example can motivate you to gather feedback and improve the experience of your customers.
8. Segmentation of customers
All customers are unique, so after the first sales you can divide your customers into tiers according to contract size, value to the company, and other criteria. Your company can also assign specific rewards and benefits to each segment.
This helps in evaluating resources needed to serve prospective customers. You can even create questionnaires for prospects that would gather the criteria to place them in a segment. This way, you’ll have a better idea of the value of a prospective customer before they become one.
9. Discounts and special offers
This is a time-tested, classic, and straightforward aspect of B2B customer experience management, which was borrowed from B2C. The approach works best for companies whose products and services are bought per transaction instead of via longer, signed contracts.
There are various types of discounts you can implement, for example, personal or “surprise” discounts for the most loyal customers. Discounts are also a way to engage prospects and convert them to buyers.
10. Exit interviews
An exit interview is a standard procedure that helps find out what went wrong so that you can try to retain the customer and rescue the contract.
Although this procedure can sometimes be unfortunate, it can give you valuable insights into why a customer wants to move on so you can decide whether there are process missteps or company-wide issues that you don’t know about. Exit interviews not only help you save an account, they can also help you redirect efforts toward existing problems.
11. Exclusive access to new features
B2B companies can give their customers unique access to new features or products, or invite them to act as beta testers for rewards.
12. Case studies
Take the examples of your most loyal customers and showcase their success story on your website. This story will highlight how you helped the customer solve their particular problem by using your products or services.
Case studies not only strengthen your relationship with existing customers, but also build trust in your prospects and increase conversion.
13. Customer journey tracking
Use special analytics tools to track customer journeys on your B2B eCommerce website. As a result, you will be able to see on which sections of the website the customer spends more time and what causes them to abandon the shopping cart.
14. Rewards for social media shares
Social media platforms are powerful marketing tools. Get the most out of them by asking your customers to share information about your products and, in return, give them rewards such as discounts.
Reviews on social media can also be valuable, depending upon your industry.
15. Readiness for mobile
B2B customers are shifting their preferences from desktop to mobile versions, because smartphones are now used more frequently than laptops and desktop computers. A responsive, wholesale eCommerce website or a shopping app can become a great competitive advantage for your business.
16. Simple ordering process
One of the key differences between B2C and B2B eCommerce is the complexity of the ordering process. Customers should be able to quickly access discounts, special offers, and tailored pricing structures.
What do you use to improve the B2B wholesale buyer experience?
Unilog can help you improve the experience of your B2B buyers with CIMM2, a robust eCommerce platform designed specifically for B2B businesses. Contact us to learn more about our all-in-one software package. Also, let us know what strategies you currently use on your site. Please use the comments section for discussion on your favorite tactics for B2B wholesale, and to share anything we may have missed.