Manufacturers and Brands who have already implemented B2B eCommerce, have experienced the benefits of online ordering, which includes the accuracy of the orders, faster deliveries, improved salesforce productivity and cost reduction. But, buyer adoption sometimes happens at a slow pace.
Over the years, wholesale customers and retailers are buying in the same pattern with the old ways available at the supplier’s end. Even if better ordering options are available, they choose to go with the ways they are doing for years. It is out of sheer habit. Changing habits is difficult, even if it makes your life easier. However, with the help of good planning, personalised communication, and constant monitoring, B2B eCommerce adoption can happen quickly and successfully.
B2B eCommerce Adoption & Covid 19
Coronavirus pandemic disrupted the distribution processes, which led to retailers realising the importance of online ordering. Online payments also gained a lot of popularity during this time, as it helped with contactless experience. So, this is the best time when you have all the valid reasons to convince your wholesale customers to buy from your B2B eCommerce platform.
B2B eCommerce Adoption: First Things First
Before you put any effort into making your buyers adopt your brand new eCommerce platform, you must have a way to measure the adoption rate within your customer base. Best way to find out the true state of B2B eCommerce adoption is the Global Adoption Rate because it considers the quality of the efforts of marketing as well as the quality of buyer experience.
Global Adoption Rate = Total number of buyers placing online orders / Total number of buyers invited to your portal
In order to improve your Global Adoption Rate, you will either have to improve your marketing efforts, buyer experience, or both.
B2B eCommerce Adoption: The Strategy
- User Experience: It is the basic requirement. You need to know that at the end of the day, it is all about user experience. If the experience doesn’t stand out to them, they won’t make the effort of trying something new. 5 parts of ideal B2B ordering experience are:
- Simple user experience
- Web as well as mobile ordering support
- Easy access to order information and necessary products
- Access to useful product collateral
- Seamless order confirmation and fulfilment process
- Sales Reps Can Do The Best: These are the people who have built their relationship with your customers over time; they are your biggest assets when it comes to promoting anything. Your sales reps must feel comfortable with the idea of an online ordering portal for your wholesale customers. They should not feel that it might affect their position and importance in your company. Make a fine strategy considering your sales team and commission them when their customers order online. If you don’t do this, they will feel very uncomfortable about the idea of online ordering and might block its usage; they will start encouraging their customers to buy from them directly instead. So, create a new set of KPIs focusing on online registrations, first online order etc. for your sales team. In addition to this, give incentives if they successfully bring more orders through the online portal, enlist sales leadership to incentivise their sales reps to promote your portal. They can be really useful in training your customers about using the software by meeting them in-person or on-call. Make sure that your sales reps feel equally excited to promote your online portal. You should read this blog to know more: How B2B e-Commerce and Field Sales can work together
- Use Drip Marketing Campaigns: Drip marketing campaigns are very popular used frequently in consumer space. The right purpose of these campaigns is to warm-up your recipient before you make an ask. There are 5 messages in the ideal B2B eCommerce launch drip marketing campaign recommended by us:
- Introductory email/sms to inform the distributors and retailers that you are about to implement online ordering system for them.
- A launch date email/sms to let these distributors and retailers plan to start using it.
- Launch communication to remind them to use it.
- Follow-up communication to get their feedback as well as remind them to use the same.
- Offer promotions to your wholesale customers to encourage them for buying online.
- Incentivise Your Buyers: Make your online buyers feel special than the offline buyers by giving them good deals, special support, and better service in all the possible ways. This will lure your offline buyers to come online. You can start with loyalty points as well for each customer ordering through your B2B eCommerce platform. As online ordering also improves your ROI, you can afford a bit more discount on the orders. You should read this blog: B2B eCommerce: Decoding the Business ROI and Impact
- Know Your Buyers: You cannot serve better to those you don’t know. Get their feedback on the ordering process, ask about their previous experiences with B2B ordering system, and understand their ideal workflows. Do not assume anything about your customer, rely on the real information coming from them. Also, try to understand what your customers are already experiencing at other online ordering platforms. Split testing can be really helpful in knowing your customers better.
As with any process change, however, there may be some initial reluctance. Manufacturers and Brands who move quickly to not just implement online B2B ordering but also do all they can to encourage adoption among their customer base will ultimately be at a significant advantage over competitors and see a faster return on their B2B eCommerce investments. This is the foundation that you make today and reap the benefits in future. To know more about the adoption strategy and practices, feel free to contact us for demo.