Amazon has upended the digital commerce world. Many customers are now skipping brick and mortar stores and ordering everything, from electronic gizmos to groceries, from Amazon. In 2019, the company’s 2-day Prime Day sale generated an estimated $7.1 billion dollars in sales, topping its 2018 totals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In total, the company’s revenues are projected to hit $238 billion in 2020 and $356 billion by 2022.
Interestingly, third-party sellers on Amazon are now responsible for more than half of all physical sales. Independent companies across the world are fulfilling orders placed on Amazon, while the Internet behemoth itself often handles inventory management and shipping. However, there’s a catch: Amazon charges hefty fees both for referrals and managing shipping and inventory.
So how can you position your company to meet the demands of online buyers without the expense of participating in an Amazon marketplace?
The answer is to build your own digital marketplace that offers the convenience of shopping on platforms like Amazon. Amazon has dominated the market by offering fast (and for Prime members free) shipping, excellent customer service, no-hassle returns, and easy-to-use websites and mobile apps, among other things. So if you want to succeed in the eCommerce space, you’ll need to meet -if not exceed- Amazon’s performance and offerings for both B2B and B2C channels.
Sound like a tall order? It is, especially for complex global businesses, but if you’re looking to accelerate your digital commerce consider these 4 lessons from Amazon:
User experience is extremely important for eCommerce stores. The entire process, from the moment a customer tries to visit your site to when they reach the order confirmation page, needs to be fast, seamless, and easy. If customers encounter friction, they’ll be more likely to abandon your site or app.
Consider that 40% of website visitors will give a website just 3 seconds to load before ditching it. This means your website’s code needs to be clean and functioning properly. Your hosting service also needs to be fast and able to handle the traffic you’re bringing in.
Once your website loads, you have only 15 seconds to hook or impress a potential customer. You need to greet your customers with compelling offers and ensure that they can quickly find whatever they’re looking for. If not, customers might abandon your website.
The fact is, there are tons of eCommerce stores out there, giving customers plenty of options. And customers tend to behave like water, taking the path of least resistance.
Did you know that more than half of all web traffic comes from smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices? On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, mobile devices accounted for 52 percent of traffic and 36 percent of sales. As such, every eCommerce site must now offer a seamless mobile shopping experience.
Mobile devices differ from traditional PCs in many ways. First off, the screen is much smaller. On top of that, the input methods are different. There’s no keyboard or mouse. Instead, everything is through touch.
It can be immensely difficult for mobile users to click buttons and links on a PC-optimized website. That’s why every online retailer needs to offer mobile sites and apps that are optimized for small screens and touch input.
Only about 2-3 percent of visitors will ultimately complete a purchase. Many are simply visiting your website to do some research, check out prices, and to browse your selection. Even if a customer expresses interest in your product or services, say by adding something to their shopping cart, many will abandon it.
In fact, shopping cart abandonment rates average roughly 70 percent. If your website and/or shopping cart is difficult to use, you can expect even more would-be customers to abandon their purchase. In order to reduce abandonment rates, you need to offer a shopping cart that is easy-to-use on every device and requires only a few steps to check out.
So far, we’ve mostly talked about your digital assets. These are undoubtedly important. However, Amazon’s appeal goes far beyond its website and apps. Consider that Amazon offers free two-day shipping to its Prime members, of which there are 100 million in the United States alone.
Whereas customers in the past might wait weeks for a product to be delivered, they now expect the goods to be at their doorstep in just a day or two. In order to compete with Amazon, you too will need to offer fast shipping. This means you must fulfill orders quickly, expertly manage your inventory, and partner with shipping companies that can meet tight timelines.
Further, Amazon has consistently ranked 1st for customer satisfaction. If a customer has a complaint or there’s a problem with the order, Amazon will go out of its way to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and to the customer’s satisfaction. Amazon seems to take the saying “the customer is always right” to heart.
Once again, you’ll need to meet or exceed the high standards set by Amazon. If potential customers check out your site and see a lot of complaints and poor customer service reviews, they’ll skip you for a more reputable site. Likewise, slow shipping and a difficult return process will send customers elsewhere. In fact, an inconvenient return policy could deter up to 80 percent of customers.
You have to beat Amazon at its own game. Sound like a tall task? It is! Fortunately, building a modern, competitive eCommerce platform has never been easier.
By using PhaseZero CxCommerce, you can build an eCommerce platform that offers a great user experience on both traditional PCs and mobile devices. CxCommerce is built to handle the complex needs of global multi-channel sellers.
Managing shipping and inventory is challenging but vital. Many of the customers our clients serve depend upon fast, dependable delivery. For example, in the industrial sector, our clients are often delivering parts for heavy machinery and the like. If it takes too long to fulfill the order or deliver a part, their customers might find their own production lines shut down.
PhaseZero CxCommerce makes it easy to manage both inventory and delivery. We also provide a variety of tools for you to manage customer relationships, feedback, returns, complaints, and more. Amazon’s goal is to offer everything “from A to Z”. Our goal is to offer an eCommerce solution for both B2B and B2C clients that checks every box.
By using the right eCommerce platform, you can compete with Amazon. Taking on giants is never easy but it is doable with the right technologies, processes, and resources.
Millennials are no longer the workforce of the future—they are the workforce of the present. By 2020, millennials—the generation born between 1981 and 1996—are expected to make up 50% of the workforce, and by 2030, millennials are expected to comprise as much as 75% of the workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Further, as more and more Baby Boomers retire, more and more millennials are climbing the corporate ladder. Forrester estimates that some 73% of millennials are involved in B2B purchasing decisions.
This generational shift poses unique challenges for B2B sellers: how to engage millennial buyers.
At PhaseZero, our goal is to help companies transform their digital business. In this post, we’re taking a closer look at what this generational shift means and how businesses can redefine their e-commerce strategies to grow their digital commerce.
Millennial involvement or influence in purchasing decisions is changing buying habits and behaviors.
Think about these statistics from a Forrester Research study: 60% of B2B buyers would prefer not to communicate with sales reps as their primary source of information; rather, the majority (68%) prefer to research solutions on their own online before engaging with a company.
Translation: Gone are the days of searching product catalogs and cold calling. Millennials are logging online.
When it comes to engaging millennial buyers, understanding who they are and what they value is key.
For millennials, technology is not an added benefit—it’s an expectation. From banking to shopping, their entire lives are online. This tech-savvy generation doesn’t know how to live without an electronic device because they’ve never needed to.
Meeting their e-commerce needs starts with understanding their e-commerce needs. Below are just a few important concepts.
So how should businesses adapt their e-commerce strategies to cater to millennial B2B buyers? The answer: create a positive digital experience. Every digital interaction with your brand should be well-designed and well-defined.
What makes a good digital experience? Consider these millennial-friendly musts to help drive conversions:
B2B growth is at an all-time high. According to the 2019 U.S. B2B Ecommerce Market Report, the B2B marketplace topped $1 trillion for the first time in 2018. That number is expected to grow to a whopping $1.8 billion by 2023.
That, coupled with the fact that more millennials are stepping into decision-making roles, bolsters the need for a redefined e-commerce approach.
Preparing for this generational shift was of the main goals Fortune 500 company Dana had for developing a bold new digital commerce strategy. Dana utilizes PhaseZero CxCommerce™ for the company’s worldwide eCommerce platform, DanaAftermarket.com. CxCommerce™ enables Dana to deliver industry-leading customer experience and ease of doing business for internal and direct customers, especially millennials.
Prior to implementing CxCommerce™, Dana had a variety of ways customers could access product information, but many of them, like PDF or paper catalogs, weren’t easily searchable. Digitizing product content and creating a new search function that also showed real-time inventory availability was just one way Dana wanted to make it easy for millennials to do business with them. Download the full case study to learn more about Dana’s success with PhaseZero CxCommerce™.
First impressions are still crucial with the millennial generation. It’s just now those first impressions aren’t taking place in person or on the phone. They’re taking place online. Make sure you’re making the right impression by joining the Digital Commerce 2.0 revolution.
Markets are intensely competitive. You and your teamwork day in and day out to craft strategies, woo customers, and otherwise carve out competitive advantages. It’s not easy and the spoils go to the victors. One emerging technology that could give early B2B adopters a competitive advantage is voice search, which could revolutionize B2B sales.
Voice search is already disrupting the B2C market. Roughly 22 percent of smart speaker owners have used voiced search to complete a purchase and nearly half have used voice to find a local business. Meanwhile, 20 percent of mobile queries are by voice and 31 percent of smartphone users use voice at least once per week.
But how about the B2B sector? Could voice search prove every bit as disruptive for business-to-business transactions? There’s good reason to believe so. As more people rely on voice search at home, they’ll likely start to bring their habits, and smart speakers, to the office.
Let’s take a look at voice search’s already dramatic impact on the consumer e-commerce sector. After that, we can consider its potential impact on B2B transactions.
In total, voice search accounted for roughly $2 billion in e-commerce sales in 2018. This only accounted for about .5 percent of all e-commerce sales in 2018, but voice sales are projected to grow to $40 billion by 2022.
Some estimates suggest that voice search will account for 50 percent of online searches this year. Amazon’s Siri and Google’s Home have become immensely popular but focus primarily on consumer sales. Those consumer websites that have already enabled voice search stand to reap most of the benefits.
Take Amazon, for example. It’s now easy to find and order products online through voice search simply by using Amazon’s Alexa voice service. At the start of 2019, Amazon claimed to have shipped over 100 million products through its built-in Alexa. That’s a lot of shipments for an emerging technology.
Amazon was the B2C voice pioneer and it’ll be hard for competitors to catch up now that the company has secured pole position in the market. Still, other innovators, such as Google, are also finding success. Going forward, it’ll be increasingly difficult for new market entrants to secure market share.
That’s not true in the B2B voice search sector, however. Few B2B-focused companies have made the leap into voice search. Yet for the bold, opportunities abound. Those B2B companies that get ahead of the curve have a great chance to build a technological edge and lock up competitive advantages.
Let’s think about this from the customer’s point of view. Imagine a busy day at the office. You’re responding to emails from your employees, taking calls from customers, and putting together that report for the boss. People are coming in and out of the office, and you’ve got a meeting in 20 minutes.
Suddenly, you remember that you need to order a bunch of parts. Yet you don’t know what parts are compatible with this model or how long it’ll take to get a replacement part for that vehicle.
You should hop on their website or give them a ring but you’re short on time. What if instead, you could simply ask your voice assistant “How long will I need to get an ACME muffler delivered” or “what exhaust kits are compatible with a 2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500”?
With a voice assistant doing all the work, you can respond to emails and bang out that report. Voice search has the potential to disrupt a variety of industries and workplaces. Workers are always pressed for time and markets are cutthroat.
In the above scenario, if you had a personal assistant, you’d probably ask him or her to look up the parts while you focused on your other work. For better or worse, many people don’t have a personal assistant on-hand. And even if they do, that assistant could be tied up with other work.
Yet a virtual voice assistant is on-demand and ready to work 24/7. You don’t have to worry about your voice-enabled virtual assistant being too busy to help you. At most, you might have to wait for it to complete its search and present its findings. Usually, that’s all but instantaneous.
For B2B focused ecommerce stores, the benefits should be obvious. Voice assistants make it easier for business customers to hunt down information and place orders. Over time, this ease-of-use will encourage customers use e-commerce stores and other B2B businesses that support voice search.
This will lead to a larger customer base, increased loyalty, and higher revenues. In other words, voice assistants could present an excellent competitive advantage, especially for early adopters.
Voice search is one of the most powerful tools in the voice technology toolbox. Expect both voice search specifically and voice technology at large to have a big impact.
As voice assistance becomes more popular in both the consumer and business sectors, expect its capabilities to expand. Voice assistance software is relatively new and developers are just starting to develop technologies, algorithms, programs and more that can take advantage of voice recognition.
Already, you can ask your smart phone to call a particular person, say a customer or your boss. You can also use Google Assistant to set appointments and accomplish other tasks, such as informing you of your schedule.
Pretty soon, we’ll be talking to our devices like we talk to people. The conversations will be dynamic and information rich. Voice search is going to be a huge part of this on-going revolution. Those businesses that enable voice search today will be able to distinguish themselves in otherwise crowded markets.
At PhaseZero, our CxCommerce platform enables you to add voice commerce to your digital business out of the box. No additional addons or plugins required. We’ve built the system to meet the demands of the latest technology – including voice search.
The question isn’t whether voice technology and voice search will be disruptive. The question is, are you going to take advantage of the opportunities? If you want to get a jump on the competition, voice search and other voice technologies offer a great way to do so.
So do you want to be the next Sears, or the next Amazon?
“Headless commerce” might sound like something straight out of a horror story but it’s actually a revolutionary development that could have a big impact on eCommerce and digital marketing.
With headless commerce, the front and backend of an eCommerce platform are decoupled. While the two remain connected through APIs, with headless commerce you can implement dramatic change on either the front or backend while leaving the other end largely untouched.
In this post, we’re going to explore how a headless commerce system works and why it’s a vital part of building your Digital Commerce 2.0 system.
In a headless system, the front and backends operate separately from one another. As such, change on one side doesn’t require reciprocal change on the other side. This may seem like a minor development, but for eCommerce, it’s a big deal.
Nearly all web traffic initially came from traditional PCs, including desktops and laptops. This encouraged the development of “full-stack” websites, meaning the back and frontends were closely tied together. Change one thing anywhere in the front or backend and it often necessitated a reciprocal change on the other end.
In practice, this discouraged experimentation and customization. For example, on the surface, changing the UX might have seemed simple and straightforward but it would have required a major overhaul of the backend, eating up limited IT resources.
This discouraged innovation but headless commerce is now changing the way websites are structured and developed.
Headless commerce is proving to be especially useful for content-heavy websites. These days, many websites are constantly changing content in an effort to optimize SEO, conversion rates, and more.
In the past, major changes to the customer-facing user interface (UI) might have required major changes to the backend. With headless commerce, you can often overhaul the frontend of a website without having to touch the backend.
How does this work? You can connect the frontends and backends “heads”, or touchpoints, using APIs. This way, you can develop the front and backend separately, then connect them seamlessly with APIs.
If you overhaul your user interface, changing the way content is presented, adding in different buttons, or whatever else, you don’t have to rewrite the backend. Instead, you do your work on the frontend, then reconnect the two ends with APIs.
Likewise, if you wanted to overhaul your database or whatever else on the backend, you could do so and reconnect with the frontend.
So why should you care about any of the above or headless commerce in general? This technology is already reshaping the eCommerce landscape and if you don’t pay attention, you could fall behind. Markets are competitive. Those eCommerce stores that use the latest technologies and that maximize conversion rates and other metrics, stand the best chance of succeeding.
Headless commerce makes it easier to boost many of your metrics and to gain competitive advantages in other ways as well. Let’s take a look.
Adapt on the fly: Want to redo your user interface? Care to test out new content? In the past, this might have meant redoing your backend. With headless commerce, you can adjust your user interface and other customer-facing assets quickly.
Go Omni-channel: Headless commerce makes it easier to deliver any type of content anywhere. Videos, images, blog posts, infographics, memes, you can deliver whatever you need. You can also use digital signage and progressive web applications.
This goes far beyond websites as well. You can sell products through apps, social media networks, and more. Headless commerce makes omni-channel much easier.
Launch to the Market Quicker: Rolling out new products? With headless commerce, you can often get products onto the market more rapidly. With your content and products centralized, you can quickly deploy them through your API, pushing them through multiple channels.
Increased Customization: Many eCommerce websites and channels are working to provide visitors with customized experiences. Head to some eCommerce sites and they’ll offer recommended products that were chosen with the use of AI algorithms and other technologies. Since content is easier to deploy with headless commerce, you can customize the user experience and content presented by demographics (age, for example) and other factors.
These are just some of the many benefits of headless commerce. We could go on and on. Consider that easier omnichannel and new product deployment will reduce workloads on your staff. This could increase productivity and employee engagement, leading to benefits elsewhere.
Since headless commerce often requires fewer labor hours per project, this could also reduce costs. Further, headless commerce allows you to easily integrate with tools and could even improve website speed.
The above benefits are considerable, however, we’ve only scratched the surface. Headless commerce is already revolutionizing eCommerce.
Essentially every eCommerce store will benefit by moving to headless commerce. In an intensely competitive landscape, you need to carve out every competitive advantage you can.
If you can launch products more quickly or boost conversion rates with customized content, your eCommerce store will not only survive but also thrive.
Even if moving to headless commerce will require a major overhaul, it’s smart to make the move sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the greater the risk that you’ll fall behind the competition. Let’s consider a use-case.
Let’s say you’re a distributor for three different manufacturing companies selling car parts. Each manufacturer uses its own system. Owing to this, in the past, you might have had to set up different websites to sell each of their parts.
With headless commerce, you can integrate all three of their backend systems into one seamless user interface. Now, working with all three of your suppliers is straightforward and relatively easy. Your customers see one simple “Amazon-like” marketplace and behind the scenes, it connects to your many different supplies and systems.
Moving to a headless commerce system isn’t a hard as it sounds when you have the right partner. At PhaseZero, we rely on industry-leading technology and a Silicon-Valley approach to help you accelerate your digital transformation. We built our CxCommerce system to be headless. Why? We knew it would allow us to scale our platform to meet the growing needs fo our clients. We also knew that our clients, many who are industrial and manufacturing companies, would need to integrate with a variety of other systems like their ERPs, CRMs, or existing inventory systems. CxCommerce leverages headless technology to seamlessly integrate your existing systems into a modern digital commerce system so you can create the best omni-channel customer experience.
Schedule a demo today to learn more about how CxCommerce can work for you.
Time is the most limited resource in your customers’ lives, and they don’t want to waste it. If your site doesn’t load quickly when a customer clicks or isn’t easy and intuitive to find products on, you’re going to miss that sale. Simply being online isn’t enough anymore, you need to deliver a top-notch customer experience across all your digital channels.
In this article, we explore the key features you’ll need in an enterprise digital commerce platform to meet and exceed your customers’ expectations.
We’ll start with the first and most foundational item:
Most purchases are happening on the go and if a customer is required to use their fingers to zoom and blindly click around a website, make no mistake, they will find another supplier. According to CIODive, over 70% of online traffic is from a mobile device. By creating a site that is responsive and optimized for mobile, customers will be able to view the words and easily get through the website.
In our ever-evolving world, the next thing to think about is how global the market has become.
Many companies often have different sites depending on the market or language. This makes it difficult to deliver a uniform customer experience. It also increases the cost of maintaining and updating your sites.
The speed a site loads at is imperative to your business success. Remember not all your customers will have the best connectivity – especially if you serve multiple different countries. Make sure your platform is built with the latest technology and optimized for speed.
The final part of the basics on your site, support, and analytics can be the key to optimizing and growing with your customers. Having the analytics to demonstrate how visitors move through and use your site can provide incredible insight and give you the advantage in the marketplace.
Once you have the foundation of your site set to attract and retain customers, you have to consider the true promotional capabilities.
Utilizing targeted and smart promotions can increase sales drastically by appealing to a specific set of customers at a specific point in their purchasing journey. This is particularly important in a B2B setting where you may offer different options to different accounts. Make sure your system can support customer-specific pricing.
Moving toward the user experience side of your site, if you don’t have a search bar, this is a must-have for viewers. If they need to find a product quickly, a search bar is often the first place they look. If you have a variety of products or a large quantity, it is also helpful to customers if you make it easy on them. Add advanced search options to the mix. For example, if you sell parts, make sure people can search and sort by compatible models.
Customers want to know when they can expect their product. If the customer is depending on a part to keep their machines or vehicles up and running, they’ll likely make the purchase decision based on which vendor can deliver the product the fastest. Managing shipping and inventory isn’t complicated when you only ship from one warehouse. But many companies ship from multiple locations or sell products from different suppliers. You need a system than can check inventory and shipping from multiple locations or systems in real-time.
These features are just a few of the problems we built PhaseZero CxCommerce to solve. CxCommerce is an Enterprise Cloud 2.0 B2B and B2C digital commerce platform powering multi-channel customer experiences. Check out our full lsit of features and schedule a demo today to see how we can transform your digital business.
It’s no surprise that online sales have been soaring over recent years. In fact, in 2018, eCommerce sales increased a staggering 18%. This massive surge in eCommerce means there are even more competitors fighting for a customer’s attention. If you are still trying to target your customers with an old website, your competitors will leave you in the dust.
Companies that succeed at eCommerce in the next decade will have to adopt what we’re calling a Digital Commerce 2.0 mindset. This approach is built around three main components: content, convenience, and commerce.
In this post, we’re taking a look at the second element – convenience. You need to make it as easy as possible for customers to do business with you. Think about it. Customers are used to the simplicity of opening an app like Amazon and using one-click ordering to have their package at the door that day or the next. Is your digital commerce experience as simple and fast?
Upgrading to a website that is focused on convenience and the user experience (UX) can drastically improve your online sales. When you’re ready to accelerate your digital business, here are six essentials to include in your eCommerce UX.
There is no doubt that the invention of the smartphone changed the retail landscape. It is estimated that in the US alone, more than 53% of all eCommerce sales will be made via mobile. All of this leads up to one conclusion—your site must be fully functional on a mobile device.
This means that your website should function, whether it is being viewed on a computer, a smartphone, or a tablet. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your website is viewed the same across devices. Instead, rather, the site is altered slightly to have the best functionality given the specific type of device that is being used to access it. This helps reduce the amount of effort required by a user to get what they want out of your site.
It’s important to consider one-hand operation when discussing mobile responsiveness. The one-hand operation helps ensure the site is as easy to use as possible. With the way mobile devices are designed, this means making sure the call-to-action button and navigation can be used when using the device one-handed. The easier you make the UX, the longer they are likely to stay on your site.
As a consumer, there is nothing more frustrating than looking for something specific, and finding a company does not have a search function or if they do have one it doesn’t work well. Search is so important. Why? Several studies have found shoppers that who use the search function are more likely to make a purchase.
Search must be one of the key elements to include in your UX. You want to make sure you have the minimum search functionality on your site, and may even opt to have more sophisticated search options such as autocomplete, suggestions, and a strong error tolerance to further enhance the user experience. Error tolerance is important for industrial and manufacturing companies selling parts. Part numbers and names can be very similar. Customers should be able to quickly find a part that’s compatible with the product they’re using.
You should also consider more than just a traditional search voice. With the rapid growth of smart speakers and devices, the use of voice search is expanding. Nearly 60% of online shoppers in the US have used voice assistants to shop. Does your current site support voice search?
As internet speeds get faster across the globe, consumers not only expect but demand that sites load quickly. When page load time is optimized, the UX is significantly improved. On the other hand, if your site has any lag, consumers become frustrated with their experience, with 79% of these consumers saying they are less likely to buy from the site in the future. In other words, if your site loads quickly, it can lead to an increase in conversions (read: revenue).
When consumers are using your site, they expect to be able to find the information they are looking for on your product. This means product information must be easily located on your site and presented in such a way that it is easy to read. The location of product information should be uniform across the site, regardless of product, product category, etc. Take Amzon.com as an example. The product description is always located below the ‘Buy Now’ and ‘Add to Cart’ buttons. Having things where they expect to find them helps improve the UX.
Customers also expect different types of content. Some customers may prefer to watch a video while others might want to download the full product documentation. Your eCommerce system should support a variety of content types and make them all available in search.
Expanding upon the idea that the user expects to find things in a certain place with each product, you must also consider the element of navigation in regards to UX. The navigation used on a site must be logical to the average user and easy to sift through. Focusing on navigation helps ensure the user can find what they are looking for without getting frustrated or wasting time.
Creating a uniform experience is another important element of the UX that must be considered. It is important that the user have a uniform experience across the board. This means that no matter what platform or device is used to access the site, what country the site is accessed from, etc. the user will get the same experience. Having a uniform experience is beneficial for several reasons, one of which is the user will not have to figure out new navigation each way they access your site, while another is that it contributes to your company’s overall brand image and experience.
Another advantage of a uniform experience is improved SEO. In transforming the digital commerce experience for Dana, PhaseZero CxCommerce™ consolidated several country and product-specific websites into one global platform DanaAftermarket.com. The new uniform experience and single domain lead to a 450% increase in organic search traffic. Download the full case study to learn more about Dana’s success with PhaseZero CxCommerce™.
Ultimately, you want your site to be as easy to use as possible for the user. This is important, given that the UX has a direct impact on your bottom line. Failure to consider these crucial elements of UX can lead to poor conversion rates and an overall experience that may lead to a loss of a potential customer. Some of the elements that go into creating a great UX may be easy to incorporate, while others are a tad more complicated. Each element must be carefully considered and fit into the overall strategic plan of how you want the prospective customer to interact with your brand online.
To see how PhaseZero CxCommerce™ can improve your user experience and accelerate your digital commerce, schedule a demo today.
Most of us don’t think twice about jumping on to Google to search for anything we need to know about or quickly shopping on Amazon for home, personal, recreational or even for work. Today’s consumers expect find product information within a few seconds and a couple of clicks – even in a B2B setting. One of the biggest problems facing manufacturing companies who are trying to build a modern enterprise digital commerce system is how to organize product content for digital commerce. Creating a digital experience for your customers and employees is vital to your future success. In this post, we’re taking a closer look at the complexity of product content:
The main problem with product content is the many different locations and mediums used to store the info. If you’re reading this at your desk, take a minute, grab a scratch pad, and write down all the ways you distribute and store product content.
How many of these were on your list?
While the list isn’t exhaustive, it should at least give you some hope that you’re not alone in dealing with this challenge. Many companies have spent years amassing product content in a variety of formats. The sheer volume of content and in multiple forms creates three main problems:
The main goal of any product content is to deliver accurate information about a part or product. But if the data is stored in multiple locations and different formats, version control can become a nightmare. How can a customer service representative be confident they’re giving a potential customer the right information?
Some content formats make accessibility an issue. Information on company servers or intranets cannot be accessed by customers. Customers will have to call a representative, and an employee will decide how to export and deliver the content to the customer. This wastes the customer’s time and eats away at your team’s productivity.
Finally, the biggest problem with many of these traditional product content formats is that they aren’t easily searchable. One of the most significant advantages of converting product content to a digital format is the ability to make it readable to search engines like Google.
Now that we understand the challenges behind product content let’s take a closer look at the expectations of the next generation of both buyers and sellers.
A generation ago, people didn’t mind flipping through a paper manual or calling customer support, but that’s changing as a new generation enters the workforce. Millennials are a digital generation. They grew up with the internet and smartphones. Handing them a paper catalog to try to find a replacement part is like expecting them to use an old fashioned card catalog at the library. They’ll eventually figure it out, but not before they get frustrated.
So what experience do modern Millenials want? They want a smooth digital experience that is:
It’s important to remember it’s not just buyers that have these expectations. As your workforce expands, they’ll need to learn your products quickly. New employees are going to turn to digital methods before legacy mediums (media?) when trying to find product information.
So how can you meet the demands of a generation that would rather watch a YouTube video describing a part than look up a part number in a catalog? The best solution is to digitize your product content and include it in your digital commerce system.
When we launched the digital transformation journey with a leading automotive and industrial company on PhazeZero’s CXCommerce platform, we had to integrate 6 product catalogs covering over 300,000 products. We knew that the product pages would need high-resolution images as well as specifications, lists of compatible products, and links to any existing literature. The entire system is searchable on any attribute that a part might have. The additional product information also has the added benefit of helping the site rank better for search engines like Google. After implementing the enhanced product pages and with SEO techniques, the site saw a 450% increase in organic search traffic.
Before Phase Zero, the company’s product information was challenging to navigate. The company had hundreds of websites and ways of connecting with customers depending on the line of business, brand, or country. Customers would need to go to several different sites to complete a transaction. They’d start by trying to locate the part, but if they didn’t type the part exactly as it was listed in the database, it likely wouldn’t show up. Then they’d have to go to another website to see if the part was available before going to a third website to place the order.
CxCommerce unified the customer experience making it easy to both find product information and complete an order.
Product content is a complex challenge for enterprise companies. You need to make it as easy as possible for both internal and external users to find the information they need. If you’re struggling with modernizing your product content experience, request a demo today to see how CxCommerce can help and make your content digital, searchable, and easy to find.