The B2B customer’s journey often starts with search, followed by face-to-face meetings and trade shows. COVID-19’s enforced social distancing and travel bans have disrupted this online to offline behavior, and accelerated the digitalisation of B2B relationships. Being discoverable online is no longer enough. It’s essential to have B2B digital strategies that amplify your online presence and connect you with your customers throughout the sales cycle.
B2C brands know how to create compelling customer experiences online. Amazon’s clean layout and powerful recommendation engine and Uber’s intuitive, helpful user interface are good examples. B2B is catching up fast. The key is to make the buying process easier for your customer. Integrate your online presence across owned, earned and paid platforms and media. Find ways for content and customer data to flow consistently across the company’s entire interaction with the customer - from lead generation through to sales and retention. So what are the elements of a successful digital strategy?
What are their digital touch points along the customer journey? Do they use desktops or mobile devices? What motivates their purchases and what keeps them awake at night? What insights and product information do they need to collect and assess? Who’s the decision maker? Global apparel sourcing directors? Who else is involved in the decision process and at what stage?
Go beyond messaging that promotes your company and your product features and benefits. Create content that speaks to your customers’ pain points and helps them do their jobs better. For example, highlight how your company helps retailers reduce inventory levels and deliver affordable on-trend fashion. Create empathy with customers adapting to such “new normals” as the rise of e-commerce and the current recession. Consider all the frequently asked questions from buyers and think about what data you can repurpose into content to aid decision making. Be consistent; Gartner reports that buyers who discover consistency of information across channels are 4.5 times more likely to make a purchase.
Your website is not just the destination for your digital marketing – it’s home to your digital business. Think about all the ways your customers arrive at your website. Establish content relationships with garment industry trade media and do online advertising and email marketing. Use LinkedIn to supplement or replace traditional trade media and events and drive prospects to your website.
Take advantage of the many specialist technology and data/insight platforms available. According to ZenDesk, 91% of customers would use an online knowledge base if it were tailored to their needs. Gartner finds that customers spend 5% of the buying cycle sifting through and assessing information, prioritising relevant sources and making sense of data from different sources. As an apparel industry-focussed B2B platform, Serai helps buyers and suppliers showcase their businesses and build trusted relationships with new partners. As a result, businesses can connect and grow globally, take advantage of upcoming trends and get support to act on opportunities.
There is no doubt that digitised B2B relationships and customer experiences will drive the future of international trade. The question is: how well will you capitalise on the trends for your business success?
Customer experience is just one of many B2B business topics on the Serai radar. If you’re interested in more articles like this and want access to the latest industry news and insights, registered companies can join Serai today. All you need to do is click join and submit some basic information about your company.