e-Commerce Strategies: When B2B and B2C Collide

This just in… B2B buyers are demanding rich online experiences, more real-time information, the ability to share knowledge with fellow buyers and the chance to make faster decisions.  This new playing field has many businesses looking to toss aside their outdated B2B approach in favor of proven techniques from the world of B2C e-commerce – and that requires a whole new, or smarter, approach to commerce.

Smarter Commerce promises to transform the speed in which businesses can manage and adapt their buy, market, sell, and service processes and, in the end, generate greater customer loyalty, revenue and agility. To embrace this new approach to commerce, B2B companies need to align their commerce processes to put the customer at the center by enhancing their:

  • Operational Automation: Take orders electronically to reduce cost-per-transaction and optimize quote-to-cash cycle times.
  • Buyer-Centric Marketing: Focus on understanding customer needs, segments and behavior in order to deliver targeted and contextual marketing messages that help influence purchasers.
  • Rich Customer Experiences: Simplify and speed the purchase process by delivering rich online experiences that provide access to important information and aid in purchasing decisions.

To incorporate these elements into their business, companies need to follow the four steps below:

  • Online Order Taking:  Replace manual order taking processes with an online self-service channel to reduce administrative costs, errors and improve turn-around time.
  • One-to-One Marketing:  Embrace web marketing techniques that tap into buyer personas to deliver targeted information capable of influencing the purchasing process.
  • Online Order Making: More than just automating the purchase, create a dialogue with the customer, offering relevant product promotions and marketing campaigns based on the buyer’s profile, order history and online/offline behavior.
  • Community Marketing: Offer online communities and social networks that foster collaboration with and among customers, provide a forum to gather product feedback, elicit new product ideas and address any product-related issues.

B2B businesses facing new B2C challenges can learn more in the white paper, Next Generation e-Commerce Strategies for B2B Sales and Marketing.

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