What do B2B retailers need to know about personalization?
When COVID-19 hit and face-to-face interactions disappeared, the whole world had to adapt to a new way of doing things.
B2B eCommerce businesses were not immune from this transition, and in many ways, we’re still figuring out how to do things differently. But as the dust settles and the “next normal” moves more sharply into focus, online businesses are finding ways to incorporate digital interactions to support clients.
The challenge for many is how to do this in a way that allows you to scale quickly and maximize ROI, while at the same time providing the personal touch that has been the foundation for building up your customer base until now.
Why do personalization?
Personalization provides online businesses with a way to tailor their customer experience to each site visitor. Intelligently applied personalization will individualize every step of the customer journey and can be set up to meet the specific needs of your business.
You can do this with customer data, by setting business rules, or a combination of both.
Monetate Personalization uses machine learning to apply insights gained from interactions with prospects or customers, as well as out-of-the-box targets, to create highly relevant experiences. For example, differential pricing information can be displayed on product pages for specific types of customers, and targeted product recommendations can be shown on your homepage.
By increasing the relevance of products and pages, personalization boosts:
- AOV (Average Order Value)
- Lifetime Order Value
Machine learning and automation also mean advanced personalization solutions like Monetate Personalization can be easily scaled, so you can maximize revenue as you expand.
Why should B2B retailers consider Personalization?
Many B2B eCommerce businesses consider personalization to be more of a challenge to implement than their B2C counterparts. They cite the importance of face-to-face meetings with clients and the lack of access to good data as reasons.
But with so much of the buyer journey moving online, B2B marketers have a greater opportunity than ever to create outstanding digital experiences for their customers.
B2B customers are becoming used to online interactions and transactions, meaning businesses can meet them where they are – providing tailored digital touchpoints across the B2B customer journey.
It also makes gathering rich data easier, which in turn can feed into your personalization efforts, creating a virtuous cycle of engagement and individualization.
Another concern of B2B organizations when it comes to personalization is that they don’t have enough scale to make it worthwhile or useful. But as personalization gives a huge boost to both average order value and lifetime customer value, personalizing your experience for a smaller but precious pool of customers can make a massive difference to your bottom line.
How to set up for success?
The common obstacles and objections to B2B personalization are being removed, but to make it work, you need to commit. Successfully implementing personalization requires a considered strategy, with buy-in across your business.
Your teams will need to experiment, gather data, and monitor results from critical touch points on the buyer journey. And they will need to return to it over the long term. A short-term boost in ROI is likely, but the main objective is long-term growth and the fostering of customer relationships.
To succeed, you need to:
- Make a plan – Personalization, with its leveraging of data from several sources and its applicability across the customer journey, requires buy-in from multiple departments and teams. To get everyone on board, you need to devise a plan early and temperature check it with all stakeholders.
- Include sales – Buy-in from your sales teams is especially important in B2B, where a high level of customer contact and care is the norm. Having sales teams add insights will help improve your personalization.
- Manage pricing tiers – Product recommendations and pricing will have a big impact on final sales. Road-test different scenarios, displaying recommendations at different points, to maximize revenue.
- Look after VIPs – Take a strategic approach to your biggest spending customers, and use personalization to nurture this segment with white glove services.
How to get started with B2B Personalization
There are many ways to apply personalization, and how you do it will depend on the specific needs of your company. To find out how to maximize its impact, you should apply these principles in the planning phase:
- Understand how your clients use your site – If you can see things from your customer’s point of view, which personalization data will allow you to do, you can target searches, and display recommendations to move them quickly to the pages they want to get to – and the ones that are the highest value for your business.
- Identify your first move – Points of friction, where visitors bounce or reach out for help, can be a good target for your initial personalization efforts. You don’t necessarily have to start on your homepage – product pages or other strategically important areas of your site can often be better places to start if they align with your business objectives and give you an impressive early win.
- Pick your channels – Your personalization plan shouldn’t be solely focused on your website. It should encompass all channels that are important sources of engagement and conversion for your business. B2B customers expect the same consistency of experience across channels as B2C customers, so focus on the transition points between channels as places to apply personalization. Whether it’s email, a call to a help center, or your app, you need to apply the same attention to detail so no aspect of the customer journey falls short.
- Select a solution – Choose a personalization solution that uses machine learning to gain insights from customer behavior and to continually improve, delivering more finely-tuned, individualized experiences as more data points become available. A composable solution can integrate more easily with your existing tech stack, building on and supplementing the data you already have.
- Measure, measure, measure – Analysis of customer behavior is a crucial component if you want to improve your personalization over time. Track click-thru rates, closed sales, customer satisfaction, and other KPIs.
How Monetate Personalization can help B2B retailers
Monetate Personalization uses powerful analytics and advanced machine learning technology to deliver 1-to-1 personalization at the scale you need.
- Enhanced product findability and navigation
- Faceted, type-ahead, and boost-and-bury with Solr search
- Individualized, real-time product recommendations that can be automated or set with business rules
You can improve the findability of your products and intelligently display results based on a combination of data-informed personalization decisions and rules determined by stock levels and product availability.
Adopting an advanced, unified personalization solution like Monetate Personalization will allow you to meet the complex and changing needs of your B2B customers. For more insight, we encourage you to download our guide, “B2B Personalization: Finding Success in the Acceleration to Digital Sales.”
If you’re interested in learning more about B2B personalization with Monetate Personalization, we encourage you to request a demo.