- On September 8, 2020
The B2B buying landscape is changing. Modern customers expect to buy the products they want, when they want, how they want – and with 3.4 billion people browsing, scrolling and shopping online for over 6 hours each day, the demand for a frictionless online experience grows fiercer by the minute.
To keep up with this demand, leading merchants have turned to connected commerce. In simple terms, connected commerce means being everywhere the customer is. It leverages the power of evolving technology and data to connect and engage with customers across all channels, creating one unified experience for buyers. This encompasses both digital and traditional channels, including in-store, point-of-sale and online customer experiences.
Connected Commerce: How Marketing & Sales Must Adapt
Gone are the days of singular-channel, fragmented marketing campaigns and messy, inconsistent buyer experiences.
In order to effectively create connected commerce, marketers must adapt the omnichannel approach. Omnichannel campaigns are adept at placing the prospect at the center, ensuring they receive the right messages, at the right times, through the right channels. This enables and empowers connected commerce, allowing for true continuity across all channels throughout the buying process.
- Marketing teams that utilise three or more channels in their omnichannel campaigns see an average purchase and engagement rate increase of 250% compared to those only using single channels.
The overarching idea is that individual channels work together in order to provide one single, cohesive and connected brand experience. Let’s take a look at a few examples of connected commerce in action:
- A buyer gets a cart abandonment email, offering a unique discount/promotion incentive to complete the sale. This is followed up with retargeting ads for the product in question.
- A buyer receives a text message offering a promotion whilst shopping in-store.
- A buyer nearly makes a purchase in-store. Despite not completing the purchase, they receive personalised banner ads fostering continued interaction.
Marketing teams must understand that the true worth of connected commerce comes from the wider opportunity to provide value to buyers. Even if your messaging is consistent across all channels, buyers won’t appreciate the same old sales pitch over and over again. After all, nobody likes being sold to – just look at the growth of adblockers in recent years.
Instead, we must focus on providing personalised content, offers and experiences that aim to help the buyer. Time and time again, marketers who create relevant, usable content for their audience have seen far greater ROI than those who shout ‘Buy! Buy! Buy!’ into the void. When marketing is solving problems, it doesn’t feel annoying or promotional – it just feels helpful.
In order for connected commerce to be effective, it mustn’t stop with the marketing department. Sales teams have to be on board too.
Sales personnel are uniquely positioned to gain an in-depth, first-hand account of the needs and wants of your audience. Through the proper utilization of a CRM platform, salespeople are able to record, store and analyze customer woes – and even anticipate future problems your brand may be able to solve. With this information gathered, marketers are able to personalize and fine-tune connected commerce efforts – enhancing the entire sales process through increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Connected customers have high expectations when it comes to their buying experiences. Not only do they want frictionless purchasing, they also require personalised recommendations, unique offers, stellar customer support, flexibility, prompt execution – frankly, the list of demands is not a short one.
Because of this, today’s marketing and sales teams must rethink the way they deliver experiences to customers. The new leaders in B2B commerce are those who build a world around their buyers, meeting emerging needs through a cohesive, continuous and connected experience.