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Emerging trends in B2B promotional strategies that drive eCommerce growth

    October has arrived and this signifies the start of the Golden Quarter - 3 months full of inevitable discounts that attract hundreds of thousands of shoppers to spend their hard earned cash on limited time offers. In fact, Black Friday alone was forecasted to reach 8.57 billion British pounds last year, the highest among many other countries in Europe.

    For B2C retailers, the Golden Quarter marks the launch of planned promotional strategies that will stand out over the noise of competitors. A time where they will see a distinct spike in sales that support their annual growth trajectory. And, with Prime Day taking place tomorrow (13th-14th October), the Golden Quarter has got a little more, well, golden

    However, let's not neglect the impact Covid-19 and the rise in Black Friday fatigue will have on 2020 sales, as we’ll most likely see tighter spending and lowered confidence in bonafide deals. 

    But where does this leave B2B? 

    We’re not accustomed to seeing B2B bargain deals but this doesn’t mean they’re not driving their own promotional strategies that rival those of their B2C cousin. 

    Many traditional B2B models are founded on forming solid relationships with their customers, to the extent that discounts are not offered as part of a limited time, buy now or lose out frenzy but ones that are formulated specifically for that individual customer. This helps support loyalty, boost order quantities and repeat business. 

    The power of promotion in B2B strategies 

    For both B2B and B2C businesses, promotional offers help increase customer acquisition in a short period of time. Black Friday is a prime example of attracting new customers and increasing repeat purchases by offering stand out and often time pressured deals. On the other hand, promotions can also be seen as a longer term strategy that can add value to customers and this is where B2B is leading the way. 

    B2B purchases are ‘need driven’ compared to the likes of B2C that are usually ‘want driven’. By understanding the customer, B2B can offer well-timed, relevant offers that continue to drive customer loyalty and retention. 

    Zoom for example, who have been enjoying an enormous increase of users during the pandemic are offering smaller teams their Pro service at a discounted rate using the code ZOOMCARES. They are reaching out to occasional customers via email marketing and taking a humanised approach by leading with supportive messaging that will resonate with their audience during social distancing measures. 

    For many organisations, the likes of Zoom has been a crucial service for business continuity during the pandemic. Running percentage discounts is a great way to help migrate these new and occasional users to a membership model.

    The UK’s leading manufacturer of industrial strength paint and 9xb client Watco is another great example when using percentage discounts to reward customers. By launching a deals page on their eCommerce website, their customers are attracted back to their store to see what monthly offers they can take advantage of. This is a great way for Watco to manage their promotional strategy - by understanding the needs of their customers through purchase data and trends, they are able to quickly produce relevant online offers for their customers. 

    Although percentage discount offers are usually shorter term strategies, Watco also strengthens customer loyalty via bulk order discounts - the more you buy, the better the savings will be. This is a continuous strategy that helps to drive larger average order values and repeat custom. 

    As B2B pivots their traditional strategies to focus on digital initiatives, delivering promotions is easier, quicker and cheaper than ever before. 

    Be part of the B2B digital transformation

    We recently posted an article focusing on ambitious B2B brands who are transforming traditional eCommerce into aspirational experiences. By adopting B2C strategies, many B2B companies have migrated their customers to online channels, helping to boost the customer experience (CX). Furthermore, we highlight how B2B eCommerce leaders see CX as the gateway to growth, with 90% believing CX is crucial to their companies’ strategic priorities.

    The digital transformation for many B2B companies has proved pivotal in 2020 as Covid-19 has hit laggard businesses hard. With a huge shift to online, the debilitating fact is those who already had strong digital capabilities or the power to quickly adapt are able to keep up with the shift in consumer behaviour. Christina Augustine, chief customer officer at Bloomreach says “The businesses that really invested in their B2B eCommerce, over physical transacting, they’re going to be the winners both now and in the coming months.”

    The increase in B2B digital capabilities has also seen many adopt data driven strategies that play a huge part in delivering tailored digital experiences, including promotional offers.

    Champion data and technology to create personalised offers 

    Mckinsey recently wrote about how to elevate customer experience excellence in the next normal, stating that now is the time we should be seeing investment in data, technology and systems to deliver exceptional experiences. 

    Our UX Lab team uses an array of methodologies to gain consumer insights, from webstore performance analysis, customer journey mapping, buyer personas and customer acquisition/channel reviews, they’re able to understand customer behaviour and provide improved and tailored experiences. 

    Take 9xb client Alexander Dennis for example, who effectively migrated offline customers to their new eCommerce store through incentives that matched the needs and interests of their customers. The more we know about our customer behaviour, the more equipped we are to serve personalised experiences that will help to convert and build loyalty. This includes forming offers that measure up to business needs. 

    What’s next for B2B promotional strategies 

    From standout merchandising, faster browsing across devices, improved logistics, customer focused features and smoother ways to purchase - B2B businesses are massively improving their customer experiences. As part of this shift, we’re also seeing leading B2B businesses bring promotions to the forefront of their digital strategy. 

    B2C may still be leading the way with mega deals through events like Prime Day and Black Friday but B2B are offering consistent value throughout the year through tailored promotions that add value to their customers. 

    It will be clear to see that B2B will be driving more and more tailored promotions to support customer acquisition and to drive loyalty. 

    If you would like to discuss your B2B eCommerce transformation, speak to one of our experts.

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