When Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, launched its b2b ecommerce offering last year, the event passed almost unnoticed. There was no great fanfare, no social media eruption and very few big headlines. And this is a $250 billion business entering a market forecast to hit $6.7 trillion by 2020. So why the underwhelming response?
Quite simply, it’s because all too often, b2b lacks one crucial ingredient that makes it engaging, accessible and inviting. Humanity.
And that’s something often overlooked in b2b ecommerce. So companies who want to differentiate themselves and standout in a highly competitive – but equally lucrative – marketplace could get ahead of the game by adding a personal touch to their online sales approach. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking…
Cut the stock images
Most stock images are staged, unauthentic and overused. They’re not representative of the people who work for you or the customers you’re trying to attract. Why not use your own, real-life images and add some personality to your site? They’ll help you build empathy and trust with your audience – and you can be confident they won’t be used by anyone else. The same goes for stock product images – use your own shots and stand out from your competitors.
Steer clear of jargon
Using industry jargon and overly complex technical phrases distances you from your audience. It’s just not how people communicate in the real world and can position you as a characterless monolith. The best content takes complicated business propositions and expresses them in a simple, accessible and human way – so you come across as real people dealing with real issues.
Talk your customer’s talk
Having cut out all the jargon on your site, the smart way to address your prospects is to use the language your customers use. And the best way to do that is to mine the comments and opinions they leave on your site, (or a specialist b2b review webpage), for the words and phrases that will resonate most. With this kind of insight, you can create messages that will make powerful connections with your audience – because you’ll be speaking to them exactly how they speak.
Let your customers do the selling
When consumers research products they want to buy, other people’s experience of those products are an important influence in the decision-making process. In other words, people buy from people based on the recommendations of other people. The same principle applies to selling b2b products as it does for b2c – so make a feature of your customers’ testimonials and give their honest comments prominence on your site. No one can sell better to a new customer than a satisfied existing customer.