Since the COVID restrictions started in early 2020, more and more B2B companies have been shifting to platforms that enable digital sales. A transition absolutely vital for their survival. However, to stand out from the crowd, simply having an e-commerce presence these days is not enough. To successfully set yourself apart from the competition and add value to your offerings as a B2B seller, you need to make an outstanding customer experience with self-service functionalities the heart of your digital sales channels.
Increase your B2B sales long-term
B2B organizations should never lose sight of what it takes to meet and exceed emerging customer expectations; an excellent customer online experience that offers an intuitive, easy-to-use, and responsive self-service experience. Succeed at providing this, and you will improve customer satisfaction, enhance loyalty, and increase sales over the long term.
Research by the McKinsey institute show that customers indicate a clear preference for self-service channels when researching, evaluating, ordering, and reordering. A trend that is continuously picking up speed. And with the events of 2020 further accelerating the adoption rate of self-service, buyers even indicate becoming increasingly comfortable placing large orders remotely or completely through automated digital self-service.
This trend puts sellers that have yet to develop modern e-commerce options at a serious disadvantage. But digital channels are typically not the only touchpoints a B2B buyer interacts with throughout his or her purchase journey. B2B sellers must therefore find ways to integrate data from all of their channels, as this is the only way to remove barriers and successfully enable self-service for their customers.
CARLSBERG: FULLY INTEGRATED B2B E-COMMERCE AND ENGAGEMENT PLATFORM
Carlsberg is one of the largest and most iconic brewers in the world. The Danish company now reaches more than 140 countries with their products. Carlsberg wanted not only to become a leader in digital within the beer brewing industry, but also to develop a stronger partnership with their on-trade partners. In 2018, they launched the Carl’s Shop, the innovative platform that would take Carlsberg’s digital journey to its next level.
The Carl’s shop digital commerce platform provides superior customer service, enables customers to place orders 24/7, through any device, and eliminates the need for telesales. In addition, it enables customers to stage their hospitality business for success, with elaborate and rich content like product stories, editorial content and training on how to successfully operate their business. Through this content, Carlsberg can build an emotional connection with their customers that transcends the transactional, and becomes more relational and loyal. This approach has proven to show visible growth in net revenue per customer (Carlsberg’s Annual Report 2019) and it is the perfect example of digital and customer experience excellence in B2B.
So, what precisely enables a compelling CX? What are its building blocks? While transforming the complete customer experience involves many steps, it all starts with overcoming ‘product data challenges’. Never underestimate the severe impact poor product data quality can have on the shopping experience.
Master your data
It may sound like such an easy thing: integrating all your data. However, adding new product information to a dynamic B2B e-commerce website is a challenging undertaking. The e-commerce website isn’t the only location where this data is needed. New or updated product information must be integrated to, and accessible by, every relevant online and offline channel. And if B2B sellers don’t have a tool to send accurate product data to every channel, they will find themselves wasting time, money, and manpower – and worse, allowing inaccurate date to be shown to customers.
Complete, reliable, and attractive product information is essential for a great customer experience. Here are some facts:
- A Forrester Research study reveals that 87% of shoppers leave a B2B website to conduct further product research using other channels, usually because the product description or information did not meet their needs.
- According to A.T. Kearney, providing more accurate, complete, and consistent product information can increase conversion rates from 17% to 56%.
The quality of product information can be the deciding factor for successful product discovery and a subsequent purchase, especially when the potential client is enabled to compare two products with multiple options regarding the level of detail. In the past, detailed information was required mostly in the construction and manufacturing industries, where customers would ask their sales representative everything they needed to know before deciding on a purchase. Today, with most sales channels being remote, all product information simply has to be available right there and then. If you fail to meet this prerequisite for self-service, you will drive your customers to other vendors for their purchase.
And that’s where PIM software enters the stage, helping B2B sellers simplify the process of creating, collecting, and managing product information for both online and offline catalogues. Simply put, PIM allows you to deliver compelling product experiences through your sales and e-commerce channels faster and easier.
Make Data Your Most Valued Asset Using PIM
Product Information Management connects, manages, and shares data between all systems. This includes ERP and PLM, and spans across all your channels – from e-commerce and retail, to PoS and print, and everything in between. It not only allows you to enrich your data and create a single source of truth, PIM also hands you the tools to correctly analyze all data at once and use the results to guide your business decisions in the right direction. By leveraging product data managed across multiple systems, you can turn it into a powerful asset that drives innovation, digital transformation, and growth.
There are many benefits for B2B organizations to effectively using PIM. It allows you to create omnichannel experiences, increase sales opportunities, and reduce product returns, which all contribute to increasing your revenue. Furthermore, with PIM you can improve consistency and operation efficiency by eliminating duplicate product data and error-prone processes, and make it easier to comply with regulations. PIM also makes it easier to onboard new products and services, and simplify the product lifecycle, all responsible for accelerating your time-to-market. You can further enhance your customer experience by using insights to make it more engaging and drive performance and business value. Connecting all your data has the added bonus of eliminating barriers both internally and between outside partners, resulting in faster decision-making.
Outperform the Competition
In the age of information, mastering your data is key to providing both value and relevant experiences for your customers. Doing so allows you to fully commit to omnichannel, offer personalized purchase journeys, and improve retention by creating satisfied customers that will happily continue to do business with you. With PIM managing your master data, you can take the lead over your competitors by setting yourself apart with better, faster and more consistent performance of your digital sales channels.
Osudio & SAP CustomerExperience combine software for digital commerce and product content management, with UX design and years of implementation experience. We help you create meaningful, seamless, and omnichannel customer experiences. Benefits include limited IT hassle, higher customer engagement and revenue, and the opportunity to easily integrate other countries onto the platform.