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Top eCommerce Adoption Tips from a B2B Distributor

For those just starting their eCommerce journey, or whose website has just gone live, Mike Powers from Hill & Markes has some worthwhile insight and advice to share to help you gain internal and external site adoption.

In a recent webinar hosted by Unilog, Hill & Markes’ eCommerce Manager explained how their third-generation, family-owned wholesale business made the leap to a mobile responsive site, complete with unique functionality and advanced features to better serve their customers. However, once their site went live, the company knew their work was not done because now they had to find ways to get their employees and customers interested in using the site. Here are some of the strategies Powers shared to gain adoption and the impressive results of their efforts.

Top priority: internal adoption

Before they could convert their customers to online users, Hill & Markes had to first ensure their customer service team was comfortable with the site’s features and functionality so that they could be online advocates. As a result, they provided group training sessions, one-on-one advanced functionality training and even internal contests to help promote use of the site.

An internal customer service SPIFF, Powers noted, was their most successful internal promotion. For two months, Hill & Markes had their customer service team heavily promote the website to those customers who traditionally called, e-mailed or faxed in their orders. The result was a conversion of 25% of those customers to permanent online users, which will save their customer service team more than 2,000 hours each year – hours they can better use as product consultants and brand ambassadors.

Next step: customer migration

Once their internal teams were using and promoting the new site, the distributor then focused their efforts on getting customers to transition to ordering online. They brought on a customer onboarding specialist to be the point of contact for new online customers. This person also traveled with sales reps to provide one-on-one training to larger accounts, and developed how-to videos and step-by-step instructions that customers could access on YouTube, LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

Hill & Markes also hosted weekly webinars and held tradeshow seminars for customers solely around how to use the website and to answer any specific questions. With multiple channels, resources and opportunities to promote their site, Powers said they were always available to educate customers.

End result: a big eCommerce win

By implementing a multi-faceted adoption strategy, the distributor was able to measure and analyze the results of their work. Their site adoption efforts proved a huge success that yielded a number of wins, including:

  • 26% increase in customers ordering online
  • 95% increase in registered users online
  • 6,500 sessions by external users each month

In addition to Hill & Markes’ winning strategies, Unilog’s SVP of Marketing, Scott Frymire, relayed simple yet effective tips other CIMM2 customers have shared to drive their eCommerce adoption. Frymire stressed that eCommerce initiatives can’t happen in silos; they must be a company-wide effort in which everyone is working toward an omnichannel experience for customers.

To learn more about Hill & Markes’ eCommerce adoption journey and detailed strategies you can employ at your organization, watch the webinar.

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