Help your B2B Customers fall in Love with Ordering Online
Having spent time and money investing in a B2B eCommerce site it is important to spend the time onboarding customers. Here is 5 top tips to help get your B2B customers ordering online.
Ok great, so you have got your b2b online store all set up, but simply sitting back and waiting for the orders to start flooding in just isn’t going to cut it I’m afraid.
If this was a physical premises instead of a digital one you would be taking careful steps to make customers know when you were opening, where you are and why they should come to you.
Your online shop should be no different.
In the world of eCommerce getting the customers in the door of your online shop is referred to as onboarding.
What is customer onboarding and why is it important?
In short customer onboarding is the structured and methodical way of briefing your customers about your online B2B portal. Showing them around and helping them learn how to use the tools and features on the site to their benefit.
We all know first impressions last and when it comes to eCommerce the research is clear - the first experience a customer has of your online service sets the tone for the entire relationship you have online with them.
If a customer is uninformed they will go on to have a bad first experience and a long lasting bad impression of your online shop and are unlikely to return.
Onboarding your customers successfully will go a long way to making their first impression of you online a successful one and one they return to increasingly, instead of the time intensive phone calls and emails they are in the habit of using at present.
5 Top Tips to Onboard your B2B customers
Like any relationship you need to show your customers some love to get them onboard.
If your customers are conditioned to place orders by phone or via email, just how do you actually get your customers to break up with these traditional ordering methods and fall in love with digital ordering?
We all know it can be hard to change, so here’s some simple tips to help make the transition from traditional ordering to digital as easy as possible for your customers.
1. Simply let your customers know that this change is happening!
If you have just gone live with your new B2B eCommerce site make sure to tell your customers!
Send them an introductory email letting them know you now offer online ordering and most importantly the benefits to them of ordering online.
Or even better give them an actual phone call to let them know. Perhaps ring the top customers yourself and get the sales team to ring the rest.
A combination of email and phone calls will probably work best depending on the size of your customer base and team.
Just because your ordering is going digital doesn’t mean the personal touch has gone and it’s important customers know that.
Even if your online a long time and are simply trying to increase customer onboarding, emails and calls to customers who are yet to go online or haven’t done so in a while will help remind them you offer this service.
2. Make the process clear and simple
When you are in the process of informing customers of your new online site make sure you give them a simple guide to follow on how they actually get online and what they do once the get there to get set up with their account before they actually log in to place an order.
Make sure to let them know via email the web address they need to go to and how they get their username and password to get logged in. Follow up on this message to make sure they have got these details.
So perhaps this is included in the introductory email you sent them and then you follow up with a phone call to make sure they got the email and talk them through the process of getting their account set up.
3. A picture paints a thousand words - a live demo even more!
Probably the best way to make customer onboarding successful is a live demo with the customer where you physically set them up.
This can be done remotely when you call them or in person if you have sales rep on the road visiting customers.
Actually walking your customers through the process of setting up an account is a great way to engage your customers in the process and help them feel more comfortable and that you are by their side willing to help with this new experience.
You also get to talk the customers through the features and tools that will be most beneficial to them and reiterate that you understand their specific needs and how this new way of ordering can still fulfill those needs and actually be better at doing so than how they usually place orders.
This is the best way to ensure a smooth onboarding and ongoing usage as it will really help them understand the true benefit to them.
After you've walked them through a demo, if you want to take it a step further video demos of creating an account, placing an order, accessing account detail etc will be gratefully received by customers. Screen shots with step by step instructions of the main features will work well also if your video skills are not up to the task.
4. Test Orders
Ok so you’ve now spent some time calling or emailing your customers with the details of how to set up their account and use the site and you hopefully even walked them through the actual process.
But how do you actually know if they understood how to use the site and can follow through with simple tasks like placing an order.
Verifying this onboarding process is really important to guarantee long term usage.
A good way to do this can be to get them to place a test order on the site so they can experiment with the different tools.
You can do this when you are doing the initial live demo or in a follow up call or visit.
Doing this can also help give the customer the confidence to use the service once they see how simple it is.
5. Make them an offer they can’t refuse
So now you have emailed and rang your customers to try onboard them and hopefully even walked them through the main features on the site with a live demo and placed a test order together to give them the confidence to go ahead and order themselves.
And this may be enough for some customers who will be willing to now continue ordering online. But for some you may need to give them a further incentive to start ordering digitally.
Offers on shipping costs or a special discount for ordering online can work wonders to get the most reluctant customer ordering online.
This could be in the form of a discount code, voucher or coupon sent out to customers to use online. Perhaps emailing customers a special offer to place their first order and a further offer once they've placed 5 orders in total.
And once you get them ordering and accessing account information for themselves and they see the true benefits to them in terms of convenience and user experience there will be no stopping them!
Remember really spending the time to successfully onboard your customers can be a really powerful way to not only build stronger customer relationships, but also ensure the B2B eCommerce site you have no doubt invested a lot of time and money in gets off to the right start and will soon become an integral part of the business.
If you plan your onboarding process right, train both your staff and customers on how to use the platform while also providing the support and incentives they need. You will have no problem getting them to start ordering and keep ordering online with you well into the future.