B2B people interact with commerce, both online and offline, in multiple ways and for multiple reasons. That's why manufacturers and distributors developing strategies for digital commerce or selecting a B2B e-commerce platform need to understand the role of each digital sales channel that falls under the umbrella of “online sales”. Recognizing and planning for the different use cases and roles involved in each channel can help drive greater productivity and discover new revenue opportunities. A strong customer portal is essential to support existing customers who have already passed credit checks and joined the digital system.
It's the digital sales channel that manufacturers and distributors are most familiar with when thinking about an e-commerce system. However, the details of a beautiful user experience aren't enough to meet the complex needs of the B2B buying cycle. A customer portal should be designed with the goals of increasing productivity and increasing efficiency. A robust portal will automate low-value tasks and provide the opportunity for self-service where CSR or salesperson skills are not needed to support the sale.
In addition, the portal must be transparent to sales and CSRs, who can use that information to generate greater revenue opportunities. Manufacturers, in particular, must provide a “white label” portal that bears the brand of a valuable channel partner, but which, like a customer portal, offers the value of increased efficiency and a streamlined self-service approach to managing low-value tasks. While the functionality can be quite similar to that of a direct customer portal, this digital sales channel must handle the complex pricing scenarios faced by partners who deal with many different customers who purchase their products. Refined search capabilities may also be more important to this use case, as they allow customers to search only within their specific product categories and custom catalogs.
For Manufacturers, Gaining Engagement with Channel Partners is Critical to Success. The ability to create additional sales opportunities and provide marketing pushes within the portal is a key capability that should be part of the core functionality of any B2B e-commerce platform. Smaller distributors can come together to create cloud-based B2B marketplaces for customers, disrupting the market for others who still focus on individual e-commerce solutions. Marketplaces can create greater opportunity for distributors to reach new markets and customers, and expand their share of the wallet.
However, to take advantage of this type of digital sales channel, the e-commerce solution must have the collaboration and lowest cost that cloud technology provides. The advent of robust cloud software at subscription prices allows it to compete with the largest distributors, including Amazon. Ecommerce solutions that are not cloud-based will limit competitive opportunities for distributors looking to expand their reach, so this should be an important consideration for digital commerce strategies. Native mobile apps differ from responsive mobile websites in that the native mobile app stands alone on the device and offers more comprehensive features, such as leveraging the camera, microphone, GPS, device security mechanisms, and more.
Many B2B people work remotely, whether managing equipment on a construction site or repairing equipment in the field. Mere responsiveness is no longer enough for sophisticated users who expect to be able to perform complex tasks directly from their mobile device. At the same time, researchers spend more time working on their mobile devices, making it even more imperative that any B2B e-commerce system has a fully functional mobile experience. We've only scratched the surface here by describing how the complex functionality and roles involved in B2B e-commerce use these five categories of digital sales channels.
However, understanding the difference between these channels and looking for how each can help achieve e-commerce objectives, from onboarding to productivity, can have a major impact on the strategy and platform decisions manufacturers and distributors make in the future. Your website is an ideal channel for your content marketing campaigns. Through blog posts and announcements, you can provide current and potential customers with valuable and relevant content to help them resolve their pain points. Because websites have multimedia capabilities, you can easily distribute different types of content, from articles to infographics and even videos.
There are several reasons why it's so difficult to evict email as a channel that offers a medium to high ROI for your business, but the one thing that can't take away from email is its versatility. While email may not be the newest technology available, it allows you to apply the latest trends in content marketing, such as personalization and automation, without hurting your marketing budget. Uber Email's Halloween marketing email also has the ability to support other marketing objectives, so it's no surprise that 73% and 63% of B2B marketers say that email is their primary tool for generating leads and driving revenue, respectively. Social media marketing is on this list for a few worthwhile reasons, but it's not just about social media users hitting the 4.48 billion mark.
From being a channel that people use to establish personal connections, social media has grown into something bigger, bigger and better than originally imagined. Today, you can reach potential buyers by engaging them in a more personal and authentic way. As such, it's easier to direct your efforts toward organic social media marketing, as the platform was initially designed to encourage interactions rather than sell to your potential customers. You should invest time in cultivating relationships with your target market while trying to understand the needs and interests of your buyer characters.
Ultimately, this can help you generate highly qualified leads on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, who represent 80%, 13%, and 7% of qualified B2B leads, respectively. PPC results have also been found to get 150% more conversions than organic visitors. Clearly, paid search could represent a win-win situation for your marketing campaigns. The number of mobile phone users is increasing day by day, and this trend is expected to continue in the coming years.
Because of this, it only makes sense to offer promotional content to mobile users. And thanks to geo-targeting strategies that use location information to recommend products or services more conveniently, the customer experience can also be constantly improved. Starbucks mobile app has features that support your sales operations. Last but not least, mobile devices can collect customer data, which you can then use to map out a mobile marketing strategy that delivers results.
Display ads allow you to use images, audio and video to better communicate your advertising message. These are displayed on websites, email platforms, social media, and many other digital channels that offer ad placements, usually in the form of a banner. You may be a traditional company that wants to rebrand, in this case, social media marketing should be a good starting point. You can refer to the previous section in this post to narrow down the channels that are perfect for your goals.
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E-commerce is nothing more than a digital store that sells its products or services to several people on the web. This is why e-commerce is gaining so much space. Nowadays, there are only a few brands that don't have their audience on the Internet. The market is another type of online sales that is growing every day.
The main factor in the market is its reach. Opting for the market ensures that more people see your product, since it will be exposed in large sales channels. The function of the market is only to expose these products, creating a bridge between those who sell and those who want to buy. Some platforms redirect consumers to in-store e-commerce.
Being on social media is of great importance, something almost mandatory for brands these days. The affiliate program makes this possible through agents who bring these products to more people, acting as real online sellers. Google Ads is an advertising tool that allows you to include products in various web advertising strategies. Email marketing is an essential digital strategy and works as a very effective sales channel.
This is how email marketing drives conversions. By making this gradual communication, respecting the context of each person, email marketing becomes an important strategy to generate conversions for companies. This new digital sales channel has proven to be so successful that a whole new industry has been built around the process of maximizing revenue in the Amazon marketplace. In addition, knowledge about the contextual boundary conditions that help sellers cope with the introduction of digital sales channels is scarce.
So, while you may believe digital sales are an essential skill set, asking sales to figure it out for themselves or not having a proper system to follow will ultimately require more time, energy, and resources. A master's degree in digital marketing can be useful, but it's not necessary to enter the field of digital marketing. If your company is considering expanding to new digital channels, you should ask yourself if the added value of a new channel outweighs the potential damage to existing channels. The salesperson can make several calls, the marketing department can send brochures, there can be email campaigns, PowerPoint presentations at meetings, a whole range of efforts.
Many digital marketers use all other digital marketing channels to add leads to their email lists and then, through email marketing, create customer acquisition funnels to convert those leads into customers. For example, after extending nighttime hours, McDonald's targeted shift workers and travelers with digital ads because the company knew that these people made up a large segment of its nighttime businesses. By using an omnichannel digital strategy that emphasized intelligent brand development, its digital channels added greater value than the financial damage that a potential channel conflict could cause. In addition, this research provides information on contextual boundary conditions, which are (buying sales) for e-commerce and (empowering sales) for multi-channel selling.
While the emergence of a wide range of new digital channels and markets presents many opportunities, there are also several risks. Supplier firms in business-to-business (B2B) contexts are increasingly introducing digital sales channels. Even if you use multiple digital channels to promote your business, you should be able to provide a seamless experience for users, where they can move from one channel or device to another without any difficulty. So what are digital sales? It's the ability to scale relationship building using social and digital channels.