Are you creating sticky B2B customers for your e-Commerce website?
You spend countless dollars and hours getting traffic to your B2B e-commerce website. From there, it’s another monumental journey to turn website visitors into paying customers.
But once that sale is made, you’ve got two choices: continue chasing new business or ensuring that your current customers will keep buying from you.
What Are Sticky Customers?
Most e-Commerce businesses rely on a mix of new and existing customers, but it’s hard to ignore the benefits of creating sticky B2B customers.
Sticky in this sense doesn’t just mean repeat customers. Rather, it describes your most loyal buyers that aren’t likely to buy from your competitors. As long as you continue to provide the products or services they want, they’ll keep giving you their business.
Having sticky customers is one of the biggest compliments for e-Commerce B2B websites. With an increasing amount of competition and information available, you know you’re doing something right.
Know the Difference Between Sticky and Locked-In
The subscription-based business model has long been touted as the most efficient way to create sticky B2B customers. But that’s not always the case. There’s a fine distinction between a customer that’s sticky and one that’s locked in.
Simply having a subscription-based business doesn’t automatically make your products or services sticky.
Locked-in customers buy from you because they have to. They’ve either signed a contract or enrolled in your services for a defined period of time. There’s nothing else that’s keeping them from taking their business elsewhere. Or, you’ve made it so difficult for customers to leave that the effort just isn’t worth it.
On the other end of the spectrum, sticky customers give you their business because they want to. You’ve created a product or service so appealing that they’d rather buy from you than someone else. Your customer service is on point, your UX isn’t lacking, you make it easy to do business with, they like your brand – the reasons are seemingly infinite.
So how do you avoid the locked-in syndrome and create sticky B2B customers? We’ve included four ideas to inspire you:
#1 – Scale Your Services
Banks and insurance companies dominate the sticky customer scene. Because of the variety of services they offer and the way they connect those services (online portals, bundle deals, etc), it’s almost nonsensical for customers to split any of these services between providers.
Your E-commerce website can take a page from this playbook by offering complimentary services that make sense to your business. Are there other products or services you could offer without incurring a major investment?
However you decide to scale, make sure it makes sense to your business. Consider what your customers are buying from other companies that somehow relates to what you offer. You might offer some services or products as a package deal that will save the buyer time and money while still being profitable to you.
#2 – Focus on Engagement
Part of what sets sticky customers apart from locked-in ones is how they feel about the company. Studies show that 40% of customers will purchase from a competitor if they have a positive reputation for customer service. In addition, 63% of marketers have noted that engagement leads to customer renewals, retention, and repeat business.
By focusing on how and when you engage with your customers, you stand a much better chance of staying top of mind, building trust, and proving again and again why you’re the best choice for their needs.
Consider the following ways to boost customer engagement:
Writing a blog for your B2B customers can provide value and insight your competitors might fail to offer. It gives them a reason to visit your website often and puts you in a position of being an industry authority.
Social media gives you direct access to your customers and can spur two-way communication. You get a better feel for how your brand is received and can strengthen relationships with buyers and prospects.
You don’t need a hardcore email strategy to make email marketing work for you. Sending a periodic newsletter (monthly or weekly) can be enough to engage with your customers without seeming overly sales-y or annoying.
#3 – Stay Ahead of Customer Needs
One of the biggest opportunities when creating sticky B2B customers is being able to anticipate their questions and needs.
B2B sales cycles are usually much longer than those in B2C models. There are more questions being asked, more decision makers involved, and more thought and negotiations needed. Businesses who can foresee any potential questions or needs and be able to resolve it will have a much better chance of not only making the sale but also leaving a good impression on the buyer.
But sticky businesses take these initial questions a step further and continue offering solutions that customers want.
It’s important to never stop listening to your customers. Constantly collecting customer feedback and using it to make business decisions can help you stay involved in their needs and make your business the only one they need to partner with.
#4 -Build Value for the Customer
All your products and services mean nothing if your customer can’t see what makes them more valuable than those offered by competitors. This is where striking a balance between sticky and locked in can help you excel.
Let’s put this into perspective:
iPhones are among the most expensive smartphones you can get. So why do people buy them? Their UX is sticky by design. You can’t get iOS on any device except Apple, and once you get used to the look and feel, it’s hard to make the switch to another option.
Airline loyalty programs, Keurig, and Spotify have all followed the same route. You have an airline loyalty program to keep your status and perks. You pay 50 cents or more for a Keurig coffee for time and convenience’s sake. You pay for music you’ll never own because it’s a great way to scale your music collection.
In these cases, you’re paying more for something, but the value justifies it.
Is Your Website Creating Sticky B2B Customers?
Stickiness isn’t just about products and services. Your website design contributes to your customer’s experience. Give us a call today for inspiration on how to integrate your website into your sticky B2B strategy.