Efficiency is important in every aspect of life. In this modern world we live in, difficulties and delays are viewed as more than a minor inconvenience. The truth is that as humans, we subconsciously desire simple, straightforward processes in order to achieve what we need.
E-commerce and B2B sales are no exception. Customers and clients have come to expect a strong sense of efficiency and effective communication from the sites and brands they engage with. They want the ability to securely access all their information from a business such as invoices, previous transactions and personalised discounts, all in one place and at any time.
But how does an ecommerce or B2B company go about meeting these needs?
From our downloadable whitepaper on portals, a portal can be defined as “a doorway or entrance” and “a way of accessing a web system that will allow you, as a user, to perform a task”.
Indiana University similarly describe web portals in the following way –
“Web portals provide a single point of access to a variety of content and core services, and ideally offer a single sign-on point”.
Having the ability to provide a dedicated way in which to service the needs of customers and clients, from an intuitive and personal platform, is a sure-fire way to increase the efficiency of any online business model. In the B2B world, that enhancement can offer a complete transformation of said efficiency.
How Can a B2B Portal be Personalised for Your Customers?
With a bespoke ordering portal, businesses with a focus surrounding B2B services are able to provide customers with a powerful, personal solution that meets their needs. A personalised customer experience is crucial for keeping up with competitors and providing customers with a relevant shopping experience.
With a sign-in-based service, accounts must be created. This means two major things in the realm of personalisation:
- You’re able to approve who can view and access your products
- You can set different rules, access levels and more for different accounts and customers
These are the starting points when it comes to tailoring your customers’ experience with your business. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways in which deeper personalisation can be offered for a streamlined process through a B2B ordering portal…
Payments and Transactions
B2B ordering portals are often associated with invoice-based transactions that revolve around providing different customers with different levels of credit. These credit levels are simple to configure within a portal-based system, making the handling of invoice-based purchasing much more intuitive to manage from both the perspective of both the customer and the company.
This also ties in with the ability to control any potential discounts that can be associated with different accounts. By setting certain rules (similar to those that you’re able to set for credit levels), you can allow for different per-product pricing and discounts that you can attribute to certain customer accounts. This eliminates the sometimes-lengthy process of calculating discounts and pricing using traditional methods (which can also lead to confusion on both sides when something doesn’t quite seem to add up).
We mentioned earlier that a portal enables you to control who can actually view and purchase your products. A B2B portal doesn’t just stop those access levels at the doorway though.
Your business may provide certain products that you may only want to provide to a specific portion of your customers. A portal allows you to set rules that can restrict access to certain products or categories to certain customers, meaning you can control who is able to buy (or not buy!) specific products and services. This prevents any unauthorised transactions and can be integrated with pricing rules for complete product and transaction personalisation.
Aside from the personalisation which that can help to make the sales process less complex for everyone involved, portals also provide customers with the ability to complete additional tasks that would otherwise require more resources from your business.
How Else Can a Portal Streamline the B2B Sales Process?
As we mentioned earlier, web portals allow your customers to perform tasks through an easily-accessible online service. This is one of the most effective streamlining attributes with portals – instant access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This accessibility provides two valuable benefits.
Firstly, your customers are able to access what they need, when they need it.
They no longer have to rely on traditional opening times for customer service numbers and support lines. Instead, they’re able to interact and engage with your business from anywhere at any time. As we mentioned in our post about the benefits of portals, this platform provides instant online gratification which can significantly improve the customer experience from the get-go.
Secondly, this ability for customers and clients to access services and solve problems independently through a portal means your business can concentrate its resources elsewhere.
The Auxillis case study in our portal white paper found that following the integration of a bespoke client portal solution, inbound phone calls were reduced by a considerable amount, 78% to be precise. This also reduced the number of legal cases surrounding the Auxillis claims process by a whopping 40%. This, in turn, enabled the business to focus its attention and resources towards outbound and business development calls, enhancing their ability to grow and succeed in their goals.
When it comes to direct communication with your customers and clients, a portal also provides a solid platform for engagement.
Utilising the tools available through a bespoke portal enables you to provide messaging services as well as live chat solutions. These can be configured to be accessible 24 hours a day (and even automated through mechanisms such as chatbots), meaning people can communicate with your business with ease. You can also set up in-portal alerts, automated e-mails, text messages and more. Aside from the more direct communication through the implementation of a portal, you’re also able to keep customers informed on the status of orders, deliveries and other subjects with ease. These communicative abilities can dramatically improve the trust that your customers have in you, as well as improving the aforementioned resource allocation on your part.
Portals Offer Astounding Streamlining Capabilities
Our bespoke portal solutions give you a diverse array of abilities and control, and we work meticulously to ensure that your portal fits your exact needs. We work with you to create the ideal solution in order to serve your clients and customers in an effective manner. A portal is an excellent way to lower your costs, meet (and exceed) the expectations of your current and target demographics and much more.
As an example of how our ordering portal solutions helped to serve another of our clients, Stateside Skates managed to achieve a business-wide uplift of 12% in orders as well as an increased average order value of 16%. The portal also allowed them to outreach to 55 countries around the world. The growth and streamlining potential of implementing a bespoke portal for B2B organisations is exceptional.
If you think a portal may be the solution to growing your business, get in touch with us today. We’re always on hand to answer any questions and discuss your needs.