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HCLSoftware: Fueling the Digital+ Economy

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Personalization in B2B e-commerce lags behind its B2C counterparts. Two-thirds (66%) of B2B buyers expect the same level of personalization, or higher, in their professional purchases as they receive in their personal purchases.

Customers are justified in this expectation in an arena where both businesses and customers funnel significant time and energy into cultivating longstanding relationships. A well-executed personalization strategy profoundly impacts your consumers, demonstrating that your company innately understands their needs and preferences. A personalization gap can disrupt customer loyalty, leading to reduced revenue.

In B2B commerce, it is crucial to recognize that individuals are behind every business transaction. Personalization is a pivotal element in enhancing customer engagement, loyalty, and revenue through providing products or services to meet business needs with a tailored experience that resonates on a personal level. You must take three critical actions to deliver bespoke e-commerce interactions between your business and your customers: recognize, memorize, and advise.

Recognizing your customers is at the heart of effective personalization

It’s time to tap into the wealth of data residing in your CRM, data management platform, and website analytics. Customers who interact with your website should instantly be met with a personalized experience to reflect their specific needs, preferences, and negotiated pricing.

Pricing segmentation management leads to a streamlined sales process with minimal frustrations. Understanding which customer is shopping on your site is vital for businesses needing custom pricing for different vendors or distributors. For example, a large automotive manufacturer with over one million SKUs required vendor-specific pricing capabilities. The HCL Commerce platform lets the company know who is shopping on its site and can provide accurate pricing information.

Recognizing and responding to customer characteristics is the foundation of a personalized e-commerce experience that will set you apart from your B2B counterparts.

Memorizing your customer’s details, with the power of data, enables personalization at scale

Personalization must reflect the customers’ needs and wants, even before they know them to meet their expectations. A Moengage survey found that 27% of individuals are most frustrated when they receive irrelevant content or product messages. This frustration leads to friction in your customer relationships. You can avoid this by strategically leveraging data and behavioral analytics to ensure your messaging and content align with each customer's preferences.

Go beyond the transaction to elevate your customer experience. Consider why customers make those decisions rather than taking transactions at face value.

Is the customer preparing to expand their product offerings or responding to budget cuts due to new management? This information impacts buying behavior but is not collected through e-commerce site analytics. The “why” is often gleaned from conversations with the customer and stored in your CRM.

The key is unifying all data points to create a comprehensive profile with a 360-degree view of the customer, showcasing your grasp of their nuanced needs and preferences. Use your data to turn customer interactions into relationship-building opportunities, such as a hyper-personalized shopping portal.

Each portal should showcase products that uniquely reflect the needs, preferences, and past purchases that are unique to the buyer based on their role and company goals. For example, the shopping portal for a pharmaceutical buyer would differ from the shopping portal of a durable medical equipment buyer within the same company, aligning with the specific requirements of each position.

Utilizing software to memorize the details collected over the lifetime of a customer relationship empowers your company to provide your customers with a truly top-notch experience, paving the way to enduring customer loyalty.

Advise on relevant solutions to build trust

Presenting solutions that are relevant to the user is where personalization shines. Harnessing the power of advanced analytics and AI enables your company to provide curated recommendations to streamline purchasing.

You can use data collected from all customers to provide relevant recommendations, such as highlighting products that buyers from a similar company have purchased or products that complement past purchases. Keeping a pulse on your buyers puts you in the unique role of advisor rather than a mere transactional e-commerce site, opening the door for upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

Your increased attention to customer details will empower you to identify emerging segments among your buyers and website visitors. For example, a global electronic component distributor could notice a new emerging segment of site visitors. Rather than their typical buyers, primarily industrial engineers, they may identify engineering students and hobbyists as a new audience based on analytics. To engage this new segment, the company could begin offering tailored content and product messaging relevant to the newly identified market segment, improving customer experience, and building trust.

Beyond products, you can share appropriate recommendations on the user’s homepage according to their role within their company. For example, if an individual from procurement is visiting your site, they are likely looking for an order status update, which should be easy to locate once the user has logged into the site. B2B buyers expect a seamless, efficient, and convenient experience that you can provide through tailored recommendations.

Personalization is the Critical Future of B2B E-commerce

Personalization is a vital differentiator for an enhanced customer experience. Seventy-one percent of customers expect personalized company interactions, and over three-quarters (76%) get frustrated when this doesn’t occur.

Failure to deliver a customized experience puts your company at risk for customer churn. With the cost of new client acquisition sitting four to five times higher than the cost of retaining current clients, companies simply can’t afford to ignore customer desires for a personalized experience.

McKinsey notes that companies that grow faster generate 40% more revenue from personalization efforts than their slower-growing counterparts. Personalization is no longer a commodity for B2B e-commerce companies. Let HCLSoftware help you future-proof your business.

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