August 19, 2021
Average Read Time: 3 minutes
The past 18 months have left little untouched – including B2B sales.
Self-service and sales via the web have been critical during COVID-19. But buyers discovered that websites and ecommerce make it much easier for them to do research, purchase products, and arrange for service, and most people don’t want to give up that convenience even after the pandemic ends. Only about 20 percent of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales, recent McKinsey research shows.
Given those statistics, it’s surprising that about a quarter of small businesses still don’t have a website. However, that number is down from about 40% only two years ago. Businesses are catching up, and the competitive advantage of companies that already have websites is slowly eroding.
With buyers strongly preferring to explore products and services and buy online, it might be time to evaluate and expand your digital footprint. A great online presence can help you not just stay even, but get ahead of your competitors. And while you can improve your digital footprint in many ways, optimizing your website – a selling tool entirely under your control – is one of the most crucial. Here are five ideas that can take your online presence to the next level – and, better still, increase sales.
And have you considered online chat? Instant communication while a customer is visiting is becoming more important every day. Chatbots can qualify and route requests accurately and conveniently, and third parties can monitor your chat during and outside business hours to supplement your manpower.
Optimize your mobile website. Everyone’s digital presence expanded when mobile devices came to the forefront. According to Statista, mobile devices accounted for almost 55% of website traffic in the first quarter of 2021 – and a significant percentage is made up of B2B buyers who research and purchase products and services. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you will lose business – it’s as simple as that.
Websites using a mobile-first approach leverage the unique aspects of mobile devices (screen size, touch screens, vertical orientations, etc.). Text size, navigation, link placement, and fast page loading all are important. So is content that automatically adjusts so users don’t have to rotate their screens to read it.
Increase the number of payment options you offer. Retailers have spoiled us with easy online shopping. Everyone expects the same convenience when doing online business, and that includes B2B buyers. One of those expectations is multiple payment options. Credit cards, debit cards, and ACH make payments fast and straightforward. If you’re sending invoices for website sales, electronic invoicing and text-to-pay also simplify and speed up payment.
Link social media selling channels to your website. Customers today use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to conduct research and make online purchases. Many hosting platforms with a website builder, such as WebCommerce, make it easy for a business to add a webstore to those social sites so prospective customers can find them. Social selling, whether promoting awareness or allowing customers to purchase from the store included on a social site, is well worth exploring. According to LinkedIn data, businesses that are leaders in the social selling space create 45% more sales opportunities than other brands.
If your company has a Facebook business page, a LinkedIn page, a Twitter profile, or an Instagram account, you already are doing the basics of social selling. But your social media presence should offer more: a brand-immersive, seamless, consistent experience to promote and increase sales.
Integrate your website into online marketplaces such as Amazon. In case you need convincing about the value of integrating with Amazon, the company’s sales hit almost $100 billion in Q2 2021, and third-party sellers now account for 56% of units sold on the platform. Amazon integration allows a business to set up an online store to sell goods, and as with promotion on social sites, webstore platforms such as WebCommerce have built-in options to integrate with Amazon in just a few clicks. You can customize your storefront, accept credit card payments, and track and respond to orders. You also can link back to your own website if customers want to investigate further.
You can explore plenty of other ways to increase your digital footprint: search engine optimization (SEO), link building, content creation, Google and Yelp listings, online advertising, email marketing – the list of possibilities is long. You can find lots of resources and marketing experts to help. First, though, be sure that you’re making the most of your greatest sales tool (other than your fantastic products and services, of course): your website.
MerchantE’s WebCommerceSM platform can help you design a powerful ecommerce site in minutes.
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