When it comes to the commercial buyer – what differentiates one product from another? In other words, what is going to sway the commercial buyer to BUY FROM YOU, not the competition?
Sorry to say this – but your business – it isn’t unique.
Every business believes they offer a great range of quality products for the prices they charge.
Added to this, most products are generally available, and most companies would love for everyone to buy from them. They invest many £££’s into their marketing and often have a number of hungry sales people, who are engaged purely to hunt down potential customers and sell to them.
In short – all businesses are doing their best to win sales. Yours, your competitor, the start-up that hasn’t yet happened.
So – how do you buck the trend, and maximise your sales?
The trends of B2C are illuminating. Here’s a snapshot of a few of the strongest trends in retail marketing.
Retailers know when the buying decision is made – often before the customer knows!
The buying cycle starts a long time before any sales engagement is ever reached. The need for product is precipitated by awareness. It may be peer awareness, or influencer marketing. Logarithms can inform a retailer long before the shopping carts are full.
Influencer marketing is now mainstream and top bloggers and influencers can reap £millions. There is a law in place for people to be able to identify what’s an ad and what’s a non-paid recommendation. See #ad.
Buying journeys are personal
So many platforms, so many options. B2C buyers develop their own research and buying journeys, with their own favourite influencers. Whether they go from Pinterest or Instagram, straight to store, or via Twitter for social comment… perhaps they will check a review, or look it up on Amazon, before buying direct or via an online outlet. Savvy shoppers still check the voucher or offer codes available through numerous different sites, and people may share what they are buying with online friends first.
As soon as the customer starts the research it means the buying decision has already been made
By the time a customer lands in an online store, they know what they want. B2C retailers know it matters that products are photographed well, and that every detail is provided –. And despite big influencer bucks, they still also rely on search engines (so product detail and content is essential). With more and more retailers turning from bricks to clicks, they are changing the kinesthetic experience of shopping, and moving to pure visual appeal – so their photography, images, diagrams and detail simply must do the job and convert the incomers after the influencer marketing moment. They are selling the lifestyle not just a product
Applying these to the b2b marketplace:
Budget for influencer marketing. You may not be in the market for David Beckham to endorse your b2b products, but look around for an industry recognized voice that may back you and gain you influencer points.
Look at who your buyers follow: Research on Twitter, Instagram, etc, to discover who are the key people in your industry or outside. At least ensure that these influencers know about you. Reach out. Make contact.
Influence isn’t just done by people: Check out your industry media – look at reading figures and useful articles. Done well, as part of a strategy, advertising can also work.
Journalists are influencers with integrity: Make sure you connect with the relevant journalists and writers, but be aware that you can’t pay them. Their very job is about being impartial – so the only currency here is provision of quality copy/photos/articles/trial products or news scoops.
Understand the buying journey: And make it customer-focused. “People often by X when they buy Y”? Do they look for deals or offers? Are they saving time by buying your product with a huge drop shipment from your competitors? How can you work to split the purchase and get back your share?
By the time they are researching it may be too late: Your site may be the first or the 5th they have visited. They will have personal make or break points. Get to understand what they are? Perhaps it’s the time it takes to find the product? They need to see 3 great photos? Need clear information? Easy-to-find on your site? Site speeds? Comparisons with other products? Downloadable tech specs? It pays to find out and deliver your customers with a personal journey that they want.
Make it easy: Personalising the buying, offering the service, and keeping their admin requirements low, offering an option to refill their shopping cart with their normal purchases, delivery flexibility, and everything you can possibly do that means they don’t have to talk to anyone…
It’s not rocket science to note how b2b follows B2C, but it certainly takes the application of technology AND experience to get the best results for your b2b company. Aspidistra has nearly 20 years experience in creating b2b eCommerce websites integrated with Sage and Pegasus accounting systems.
Aspidistra – award-winning b2b eCommerce solutions.