So you’ve launched a B2B eCommerce site. That’s great! But what if most of your customers aren’t immediately logging in and ordering. What now? Has your investment into B2B eCommerce been for nothing? Should you close it down and recoup whatever costs you can?
Before you do that, keep reading this post; we explore tips on getting customers onboard, starting with targeting the right customers and keeping in mind that a B2B eCommerce site may not be the best fit for all customers.
You might have decided to launch a B2B eCommerce portal to improve your customer experience, or reduce your cost-to-serve, or both. You can still accomplish that. You just need to focus on customer onboarding as the next initiative.
Customer onboarding is the term used to describe the end-to-end process users go through when they start to use a product or service. The process is about giving your customers support as they learn to navigate around your B2B eCommerce site for the first time.
Why is it important? First impressions matter. A customer’s 1st experience with your online portal sets the tone for the entire relationship. Building trust in a new system takes commitment and time when it’s something your customers are not familiar with. If you don’t win your customers over with a positive first impression, it will be difficult to be successful.
In short, a smooth customer onboarding is fundamental to the success of your B2B eCommerce site. However, it is not without challenges. As such, here are a few tips to help you become successful in onboarding your customers to your B2B eCommerce site.
Learn how to start your own B2B eCommerce business with our eBook:
B2B eCommerce: Your Ultimate Guide To Getting Started
Tip 1: Target The Right Type Of Customers
You cannot expect for all your wholesale customers to be immediately receptive to placing their wholesale orders with you online. To start, identify which of your customers are most likely to begin using your B2B eCommerce Portal and target them first.
How do you decide on which users to focus on? You can begin to target newer businesses first. Those started in the last five years will likely have owners and managers who are more receptive to new technology. Then, conduct a quick scan of which of your buyers have a very nice website and premium social media. These signs typically indicate a company is comfortable with digital tools. With customers who meet these criteria, you will likely to have a high onboarding rate.
Tip 2: Inform And Educate Your Customers
It is important to keep your customers updated during the implementation of your B2B eCommerce site. According to an HBR review, about 51% of executives listed a lack of communication as a driving cause for failure to onboard new customers.
Your business can start by sending personalized emails to your customers that introduces and highlights the benefits of an eCommerce site. For a more personalized touch, give your customers a call to share the news of your new online portal and address any queries they might have of it.
It is crucial for a customer to understand the on-boarding process clearly. You will need to provide a thorough breakdown of the entire process, from how to log on to the platform to how to navigate around the site. For example, when informing your customers on how to log in, you need to include details such as the web link of your online store, along with their username and password to access their online account. You would also need to follow up with your customers to make sure they are not encountering any difficulties throughout their onboarding process.
One effective method to use to educate your customers is to provide group demo sessions. By walking your customers through your B2B eCommerce site, your customers will feel more comfortable learning how your site works. Demos serve as an excellent opportunity to highlight essential site features and to teach customers how to use the B2B solution. It can also be used to gather immediate customer feedback of the ordering process.
Once a few of your customers start using your B2B eCommerce portal and are happy with it, you will begin to have a few examples and references to use when convincing other customers to jump onboard and use your B2B eCommerce Portal.
Tip 3: Incentivize Your Customers
Drive initial adoption by providing an incentive for your customers to start using your B2B eCommerce Store to place their orders.
What could this incentive be? You could give discounts like free shipping, discounts off their next purchase, or free samples for placing orders using your portal. These rewards encourage your customers to use your B2B eCommerce store and accelerate the usage of your eCommerce platform.
However, you also need to ensure the financial incentives you provide to customers still work within the business case of launching your B2B eCommerce store.
Tip 4: Be Open To Feedback
The most important thing is to be open to hearing your customers' feedback. Your business needs to understand your customers’ needs and expectations. Using these insights, you can understand and adapt your platform to meet their needs better.
You can use email surveys or call your customers up to collect their general feedback on your B2B eCommerce site. Another useful approach to customer feedback is to use Net Promoter Score surveys to track your customer satisfaction with your site. This can be done via a pop-up question form on your website after the user has browsed through it for a specific period.
Using their feedback, make changes to improve your customers' online experience. When you receive good feedback, it serves as a verification of the success of your customers’ onboarding process. When you receive bad feedback, act quickly to make improvements and iterate.
Tip 5: Track Your Customers’ Onboarding Process and Improve Where Necessary
Your business will need to establish your own set of metrics to track your success in getting your customers onboard to use your B2B eCommerce platform. Doing so can help you understand where customers are dropping off and why. This allows you to make changes where possible. For example, a low online customer retention rate could indicate that your customers prefer using traditional ordering methods compared to your B2B eCommerce platform. Thus, you would need to take action to fix your eCommerce site to ensure that it can meet your customers' purchasing needs.
A customer-centric approach is vital to the success of your onboarding process. Your customers’ overall experience is only as good as its weakest component. Plan your onboarding process right and provide your customers with the support they need to ensure a successful onboarding experience for your customers.
There are many benefits that come with using eCommerce for your B2B business. If you want to learn more about how to start your B2B eCommerce business, download our eBook- B2B eCommerce: Your Ultimate Guide To Getting Started.