Importance of Omnichannel Loyalty in the B2B Segment
The ultimate goal of omnichannel, or multichannel, marketing has always been to facilitate the buyer’s journey for customers. It does this by offering a seamless shopping experience across all channels. In the B2C space this includes everything from in-store interactions to social media campaigns to e-commerce websites. Even offline channels like direct mail come into play. The goal is to use every outlet at your disposal to convert the prospect into a customer.
But if you think omnichannel marketing applies only to B2C you’d be mistaken. In fact, the consensus is that adopting omnichannel strategies is even more important in the B2B world than it is in B2C. Below we look at some of the fundamental reasons this is the case and why, now more than ever, it’s crucial for B2B operations to be loyal to omnichannel marketing.
We are living in a retail world
The omnichannel strategies that are so prevalent in the retail/e-commerce mindset has rubbed off on everyone, even B2B customers. Today’s consumer is now used to engaging with brands across a variety of channels and at many touchpoints. They are conditioned to this journey being seamless, with few if any paint points. This is exactly how today’s B2B customer wants it too.
B2B customers are no longer part of that aged generation comprised of people sitting at desks, happy to be on the phone all day negotiating purchase orders and process schedules. This new generation of customers was raised in a digital world with multiple brands competing for their attention over many channels, be it their TV screens, smartphones, laptops, etc. So even though they may be a B2B customers, they, as we all are in this day and age, still have a predominantly B2C mindset.
And if you, as a B2B marketer, don’t realize this now, then you’ll face the real possibility of losing your customers to another company that does.
Omnichannel boosts customer loyalty
Why? Because today’s customer, as mentioned above, love ease of use. They value convenience above all else. They want to research products online before buying, and they want that information right at hand with no delays. And when they have an issue with a product they’ve purchased, they want immediate help from a customer service representative.
Marketers who are aware of this also know that they can’t be everywhere at once. That’s why savvy B2B operations are investing in digital tools such as chatbots to help facilitate the buyer journey and boost customer satisfaction. Appealing to customers in this fashion—helping them along the journey in the efficient manner that they desire—is the only sure-fire to get ahead of your competition and increase customer loyalty.
There are statistics to back this up. As it stands now, those businesses with a solid omnichannel approach retain 89% of their customers. When comparing that with the paltry average rate of just 33%, you can see just how powerfully an omnichannel approach boosts loyalty.
Omnichannel customers are higher-spending customers
As mentioned above, appealing to customers across multiple channels makes their journey easier. Therefore, that makes the customer happier, and a happier customer is a higher-spending customer. Don’t believe us? Then consider this fact: a study by Accenture found that a whopping 75% of B2B customers who reported having a solid omnichannel experience would purchase from the same brand again. Accenture surveyed over 500 large-size B2B companies and over 900 B2B buyers across multiple countries, so the results speak for themselves.
Upgrading your omnichannel capabilities will give you a competitive advantage
The old saying you have to spend money to make money is as true in this context as it is anywhere else. That’s because many B2B companies are relying on legacy systems that are not meeting the needs of today’s customers. In order to give those customers the omnichannel experience they crave, you need to restructure your legacy organization and integrate it with cutting-edge technology. This will ensure you, as marketers, have the tools to do your job effectively in this rapidly changing digital world.
That means B2B sellers need to upgrade e-commerce platforms. It means they need to align digital spending with organizational and process change. In other words, the entire operation needs to upgrade its technological capabilities to reflect buyers’ needs and adopt omnichannel as their default strategy. This is also mandatory to gain that edge over your competitors.
If there’s still doubt as to whether loyalty to omnichannel strategies in B2B is crucial, consider this: according to the research group Frost & Sullivan, B2B e-commerce is poised to be a $6.7 trillion industry by 2020. And at $3.2 trillion, B2C represents just half that. To not leverage every channel at your disposal in this hyper-competitive digital marketing world only means that you’ll risk leaving many of those dollars and cents on the table.
More About The Author: Ryan Gould
Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services | Elevation Marketing
A strategic marketing and branding expert, Ryan helps Elevation’s clients solve their problems and achieve their business goals through integrated marketing solutions distinguished by research, storytelling, engagement and conversion. With a proven track record of energizing brands and having worked with a variety of Fortune 500 companies, Ryan is a respected expert in achieving consistent results through creative design, thought-provoking narratives and innovative problem solving.