You might be disappointed that it’s not yet time to sit back and reap the rewards of your B2B store, but building a successful online business is about more than just setting yourself up, building a great website and doing a little digital marketing.
Succeeding online is all about maintaining continual strategies that allow you to keep building and diversifying your customer base.
You’ve got to remember that it’s never been easier to set up an e-commerce store and get a simple business off the ground. That’s amazing news for the customer and terrible news for anyone looking to succeed in the already-crowded marketplace.
That’s not to say it can’t be done, but it needs a strategy, forward thinking and a future-minded approach. We’re forever hearing about companies who’ve succeeded briefly, only to burn out shortly after.
Even the most successful, industry-dominating companies only succeed for fifteen years on average nowadays, compared to the seventy-year life spans of similarly successful business in the 1950s.
The fact is, the internet has revolutionized many different industries, and in order to ride that ongoing wave of technology, you need the kind of approach that is at once optimistic and technology-centric, but also cautious and aware of the risks.
There’s many tricks and tips that can be employed when it comes to staying on top and keeping your B2B store continually growing, and we’re going to run through thirteen of the best here.
Focus on the Customer
Success in almost any industry is dictated by fully understanding the need that you’re fulfilling, and B2B e-commerce is no different at all.
You need to understand and focus on your customer throughout the development of your business, as it’s only through this that you can hope to keep up with the times and provide a buying experience that simultaneously meets all needs whilst being memorable.
Remember Why People are Buying Online
These are the elements that set you apart from the traditional resources that businesses have relied upon for years and years. This is what pulls them away and turns them into your customer.
The key aspects are ease of buying, a range of products, and delivery time and convenience. These are the avenues you have to sell through.
Keep it Easy
One of the biggest problems for all online e-commerce stores, both B2C and B2B is abandoned shopping baskets. We’re not saying that making the purchasing process super easy will get rid of that problem altogether, but it can mitigate it.
Making things easier and more straightforward is always going to result in more sales.
Make it Memorable and Distinct
The fact is, no matter how hard you try, you’re never going to be that different from other online retailers, and that’s a problem, especially when it comes to branding.
You need to create a buying process that’s memorable and distinct, encouraging customers to purchase again. A lot of the time people are choosing to shop from the same retailers simply for the buying experience which is important to remember.
Quality Product Information and Photography
Lastly, when it comes to considering the customer, you’ve got to think about what really matters to the companies you’re selling to. For a lot of them, it’s going to be reducing hassle and making sure they’re buying the item they really need, especially if they’re buying in quantity.
If you can quell any worries about the product they might have with a quality description and photography, that’s ideal. I’m talking elements like measurements, professional photography, and reassurances.
Deals and Discounts
When it comes to the slight margins that can be made selling large numbers of product at just above wholesale value, it’s understandable why you’d think that discounts and deals are to be avoided, but the fact is that they can be just as enticing for businesses as for individual companies.
Sure, it might cut into your initial profit margins, but the whole point of B2B is recurring customers, not one-off sales. Plus it allows you to show your customers that you value them as well.
Volume Ordering and Clear Discounts
One thing all businesses ordering are going to want to be seeing loud and clear is the discounts they’re going to get on larger volume orders. This can be a hugely powerful tool in your sales conversion arsenal, allowing you to turn those on-the-fence customers into definite sales.
As I said earlier, B2B sales are all about recurring customers, so why not offer a subscription service? This way, you could allow customers to never forget to order from you, and guarantee yourself some regular income.
For businesses intent on making things run smoothly, this can be hugely useful, while guaranteeing you regular sales.
Show Your Customers You Value Them
This is really another part of branding. If you want to demonstrate to customers that regularly order from you that you value their business, offer them real, tangible benefits in the form of discounts and deals on the products they actually want.
This is going to sow brand loyalty, while potentially encouraging further sales. Win-win.
Digital Marketing is Vital
If there’s one thing no business can afford to neglect nowadays, it’s digital marketing. While that’s a broad term, it covers everything from making sure you show up in search results, to communicating with your customers on social media and brand building. In short, it’s essential to keeping ahead in the crowded marketplace.
If You’re Not Number One…
Search Engine Optimisation is essential. Research has shown that very few searchers even go beyond the first half of their search result page. That means that’s where you need to be. If you’re not number one, you’re nowhere.
Keep it Up
One of the big issues for lots of businesses is keeping their digital marketing campaigns and strategies up. They’ll do the content marketing and maintain the social media well for six months or so, but then it’ll fall by the wayside.
This is especially true for smaller businesses. Digital marketing and growth is a very linear process that requires regular upkeep and maintenance. Letting that fall by the wayside isn’t an option.
Branding is Key
As we’ve said a million times before, it’s all about branding. You need to build a brand that people recognize and associate with positivity and loyalty. That’s essential to making sure your business continues to thrive and retain customers.
Brand marketing isn’t really all that hard, it just requires consistency across all your digital marketing fronts and website.
Lastly, Stick with It
Very, very few businesses explode onto the scene and immediately start making a lot. The fact is, a lot of the time online, especially in B2B e-commerce, it’s a bit of a waiting game.
Keeping up your efforts and sticking with it is absolutely essential because while things might start off slow, that’s just how it works. Keep at it for at least a year, and if you do all the above, we’d be very surprised if you didn’t see some pretty great results.