In this article, we will show you how B2B eCommerce software can help accelerate the promotion of your business by automating your marketing and sales efforts.
Automated processes offer significant advantages over humans in business applications, for example:
- They can collect, manage, and process vast amounts of data quickly and efficiently.
- They can transfer data fast and accurately between different systems and applications.
- They can communicate consistently to customers, transmitting the most appropriate message or information at precisely the right time.
- They accurately track orders, interactions, etc., leaving less room for human error.
- They can monitor and analyse customer behaviour, allowing you to target your marketing efforts better.
Companies that automate enjoy many benefits over those that try to expand using old fashioned methods, including:
- Expansion can occur without needing to recruit so many staff.
- More efficient processes.
- Reduced human errors thanks to reduced reliance on manual data entry.
- Automated processes are significantly faster than manual ones, saving time.
- Reduced business costs due to lower overheads, e.g., no need for office space for extra staff, sick pay, etc.
- Automation can occur around the clock, meaning your business does not need to stop when it’s 5.00 pm, lunch break or time for a holiday.
- Enhanced customer experience.
- Increased sales.
However, for now, automation will not fully replace humans, so your sales and marketing teams don’t yet have much to be concerned about. What it will do, however, is free them from the more repetitive tasks and allow them to focus on securing sales.
6 Ways B2B eCommerce Software Can Automate Your Sales and Marketing
There are many ways you can automate some of the more repetitive tasks in your eCommerce business. Here we present six of the most common.
1. Choose Only the Right Tools to Help You
Knowing the specific needs of both your business and those of your customers will allow you to establish which automation features your eCommerce software needs to have.
For example, you will likely need to handle corporate accounts, possibly with different divisions within the same company. Each of those divisions may have different purchasing needs, so you may have to provide catalogues and prices personalised to each decision-maker. And if you have clients all around the globe, you may also need product data in multiple languages and currencies or with different terms and conditions.
Many of the tools needed to cater to those different business needs will be included in most eCommerce packages out-of-the-box, while others may require the installation of add-ons or plugins.
Email marketing is currently one of the most effective (and popular) automation tools in use. Most eCommerce platforms allow you to send automated marketing emails targeted to individual customers or customer groups. At the same time, A/B testing and tracking features will enable you to test their effectiveness and adjust your strategy accordingly.
OroCommerce is an excellent example of a B2B eCommerce platform that offers many automation options for your business, plus it has many features typically only found on B2C platforms.
2. Don’t Be Scared to Use Chatbots
Chatbots are a highly cost-effective way of automating communications with your customers. However, don’t be put off by the name ‘chatbot’ as they are so sophisticated that people often don’t realise they are chatting to a machine rather than a person.
Typical chatbot applications include answering customer questions or segmenting visitors to your website based on criteria such as business type, behaviour on the site, or preference. The fact that all of this is achieved using software rather than people means your staff can get on with more meaningful tasks rather than getting bogged down with menial stuff.
3. Use Abandoned Cart Recovery Methods
Often, visitors to an online store – B2B or B2C – will put something in their shopping cart, then leave the site without completing the purchase. There could be several reasons for this, such as something more urgent came up, or they simply got distracted. Either way, according to statistics published by Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is 69.8%.
Sending reminder emails to those people who have abandoned their carts is a highly effective way of converting many of them to sales. Furthermore, this is a process ideally suited to being automated.
Of course, one must ensure the automated emails don’t get seen as spam, so careful consideration regarding the content and timing is necessary, plus you need to know when to stop sending them.
4. Offer Discounts to Retain New Customers and Lure Back Old Ones
B2B and B2C customers are different in so many ways. However, they do share one common thing – both like to get something below the published price.
Therefore, discounts and promotions can be a superb way to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Highly effective methods of doing this are to offer a discount to new customers on their next purchase or give one to existing ones who may have gone AWOL to lure them back.
The best thing about discount and promotion campaigns is you can automate them via email marketing workflows. Check out this guide which tells you all about the promotion and discount strategies in B2B eCommerce.
5. Use Retargeting
In days of old, companies used to assess their customers’ needs and desires through conversations with sales representatives to create personalised solutions. Fast forward to today, and savvy eCommerce businesses are using all the analytical data that they collected using automation to do automated retargeting via advertising channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google Ads.
The ethos behind retargeting is simple – keep reminding potential and existing customers that might be interested in your products (as opposed to the general market) of your existence and what you can offer them. The result: they are more likely to remember your brand when looking to purchase products like yours.
6. Offer Customers Recurring Orders
Another highly effective repeat business strategy suitable for automation is email notifications for repeat orders to existing customers. Apart from making the ordering process simpler for them, it also dramatically improves the likelihood that they will buy from your company rather than someone else in the future.
Your email can be sent automatically at a pre-defined point in time, for example, a month after the last order. In addition, the message body can include details of the previous order and a ‘buy now’ or ‘add to cart’ button or link that can initiate the order process in a single click. Amazon widely uses such a tactic with B2C customers, and it is also highly effective when used on B2B purchasing managers.
As you will have seen, it makes complete sense to automate the more mundane activities of your business’s daily operations. In doing so, your staff will be able to focus on the more critical tasks, saving considerable time and money.
One of the quickest ways of integrating automation into your business is to use dedicated eCommerce software. Most are purpose-built to do that and much more, plus they will help make your eCommerce business super-slick, something for which your employees and customers will thank you.