Integrated B2B eCommerce Portals Make Way for a Range of New Services to Boost Customer Loyalty
Increase the business value you gain from your eCommerce solution
A company’s digital sales platform offers many new ways to achieve long-term customer loyalty. For example, an additional procurement function that uses barcode scans of existing packages allows the company to increase its ties with customers who place many reorders. This opens the possibility for specialized value-added services that enable a company to increase customer loyalty in several industries. This article highlights some of the ways this potential could be unleashed.
While the B2B online store provides a product search and the option to place orders, this only has a minor impact on customer loyalty since all online stores offer these as standard functions. That said, the online store is the cornerstone for a broader and deeper relationship with customers that provides additional utility which in turn leads to higher customer loyalty.
- your customers could use the digital online platform to receive much better processes which would not be possible without digitalization
- your sales department could offer customers additional practical services via the digital sales platform
- your customers prefer to use your digital processes to place orders instead of sending them by e-mail, fax, or telephone
Value-added services offer further potential in terms of customer loyalty and increase the versatility of the digital sales platform or the company’s client portal.
What value-added digital services are available for B2B eCommerce?
Value-added services are additional functions that go beyond the standard ordering process. These additional functions could be for customer use or use by various departments at your company. Accessing a customer's order history or online information on the availability of a product, for example, is two things that could be of actual use to the company's sales team.
It is possible to increase customers' use of the digital sales platform by offering the option to subscribe to news about product changes and new security notices like Egger did in the woodworking sector.
Another example is online customer support. Customers can obtain information on the self-service page via a chatbot, use callback functions, or customize the product they want to order in industry-specific product configurators.
There are also other ways a company can increase customer loyalty. Support is one of them. This could include managing customer feedback and service requests in a structured way in ticket systems or tracking the processing status.
Since value-added services vary widely by industry and business model, the potential and focus for each company must be considered on a case-by-case basis. To get an overview of the wide range of options available, however, the supplementary services in B2B eCommerce can be grouped into particular topics.
Six Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty in B2B
Here are a few examples of potential additional functions that can make your B2B eCommerce solution stand out from other basic digital sales platforms:
- Customer-specific order data/processes
- Provision of customer-specific order and product data to the customer as well as to the company’s sales department; this includes order histories, quotation tracking, shipping status, availability and delivery times, customer-specific product numbers, and prices for customer searches
- Self-service features for managing employees and authorizations as well as customer approval processes using a budget and controlling tools as well as electronic invoices
- Integration into your customer’s digital eProcurement system using standardized interfaces (EDI), catalog exchange via OCI (Open Catalog Interface ), or as a punchout catalog
- Specialized procurement functions
- Specialized procurement functions for manual reorders, orders via barcode scans of existing packages, automated reorders or predefined shopping lists/carts, as well as promotional materials and shipment of samples
- System integration with other sales channels
- System integration with other sales channels such as industry/comparison portals, marketplaces for the sale of overstock merchandise, for example, as well as download functions for the provision of product data and media for your customers’ and retailers’ sales activities
- Digital customer support
- Digital customer support in the form of product support available via live chat or chatbots, callback functions, subscriptions to product updates and security notices, product selectors/configurators, content portals, FAQs, feedback, and support portals.
- Payment and liquidity services
- Advanced payment and liquidity services such as rental concepts, leasing, or payment by installments
- Advanced inventory management and logistics
- Customized shipping and delivery logistics with customer-specific shipping priorities, route planning, delivery times, and unique shipping methods such as pallet delivery, unloading by crane, or pumping
- Advanced inventory management with customer-specific warehouses for reserved stock or self-service warehouses for consumables or to construction sites
- Advanced services for reading fill levels, consumption, error messages, and maintenance statuses, as well as the resulting procurement processes for goods and services
Arvato Systems has been supporting businesses around the world with their eCommerce strategies for over 20 years. From our many customer case studies, we understand just how vital value-added services in a customer portal are for their success. In many cases, high-quality services set new standards in a particular industry, each of which is unique its own way.