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Creating B2C experiences in a B2B world

All B2B customers are also B2C consumers. They expect an experience like Amazon delivers. The bar has been raised . . . and B2B companies must deliver.

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The Background

Drive Medical may be ahead of other manufacturers and distributors in its efforts to create B2C-like experiences on its B2B eCommerce site.

According to a Forrester Research report, B2C eCommerce has set the user experience standard against which B2B sites much compete.  But many B2B enterprises are either new to eCommerce, or slow to adopt proven B2C tactics and principles.

In a recent blog post, Andy Hoar, a Senior eBusiness Analyst at Forrester, wrote,  “All B2B customers are also B2C consumers, they’re comparing their B2B eCommerce experiences with gold-standard B2C experiences from the likes of Amazon. The bar has been raised . . . and B2B companies must deliver.”

For several years now, Drive Medical has had a very B2C-like eCommerce site for its business-to-business customers.  The site was built on the Magento eCommerce platform and features real-time SAP integration (thanks to Drive’s partnership with b2b2dot0!)

So, when Drive Medical asked us to help integrate the same type of live chat that customers are used to seeing on B2C sites, we were more than happy to help. (See our CEO’s blog post for our enthusiastic embrace of this kind of consumerization of B2B sites.)

The value of live chat in a B2B world

live-chat-operator

Customers who chat are 3x more likely to buy.

Can live chat be as powerful on a B2B site as it is on a B2C site?  You bet.  Any feature that enhances the customer experience and helps them make informed buying decisions is good a tool to have.

In fact, when it comes to creating a B2C experience for B2B customers, our friend and client Dustin Holmstrom at tng worldwide put it best when he said, “…our customers are not purchasing agents, that means our site should feel more like Amazon than SAP.”

Live chat is definitely part of the spectrum of B2C-like experiences that people have come to expect from all websites.  And, in this case, what’s good for the customer is also good for the B2B merchant.  Why? Because:

How we helped Drive Medical implement live chat

Live-Chat-inc-logoOur role in this was actually quite simple.  We helped connect Drive’s site to the third-party vendor of their choice, Live Chat, Inc.

It was a quick update and took us less than a day to implement.  So, this is not a story about how smart we are or how hard we worked to make this happen.  It’s a story about our philosophy.  We don’t ever want to be the bottleneck.   And we’re vendor agnostic.

So, when Drive Medical, or any other client, makes a business decision to extend and leverage their investment in their SAP-integrated eCommerce website, we want to help make that happen as quickly as possible.

Our integration of live chat into Drive’s website is just one example of our rapid response, vendor agnostic approach.   For another example, read the story of how we helped tng worldwide reduce shipping errors by integrating with SmartyStreets address validation services.