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The benefits of extending Optimizely into a B2B app

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Evaluating a new A/B testing vendor: Timeline



Paper order forms, faxes and even old-fashioned phone calls still tend to dominate the wholesale sales process. While B2B is way behind B2C, the move to digital commerce is underway and accelerating. This is precisely why ecommerce platforms that specialize in delivering B2B tools, features and functionality (like Optimizely) are seeing such rapid growth.

A recent Gartner report examines the rapid move toward B2B digital enablement and a key finding is that buying decisions and the actual purchases are no longer being driven by sales reps, as online ordering surges. In fact, at the time of the study, only 17% of the wholesale purchase journey was attributed to sales rep interactions and, among millennials, fully 44% said they prefer no sales rep interaction at all when making buying decisions.

This quote from the report struck me as particularly important. “As baby boomers retire, and millennials mature into key decision-making positions, a digital-first buying posture will become the norm. Further, we expect the acute spike in digital buying during the COVID-19 pandemic to have sustained influence on customer comfort with digital learning and buying.”

Covid-fueled retail ecommerce has exploded and B2B is finally starting to catch up. Smart B2B businesses are starting to adopt a “digital-first” stance and considering an app as a logical extension of their online wholesale ordering platforms.

The reason apps play such a big role in B2B is utility. B2B buying is very complex and ecommerce platforms are usually tied into an ERP and CRM. Tools for account-based custom pricing and order list management are typically folded in.

The B2B path to purchase can be a winding one and an app can straighten this road by personalizing the online buying experience and delivering it in an always-on manner, literally in the pocket of buyers. Reducing customer service time/expense and data entry error is often cited as a primary goal of wholesalers considering an app.

After all, all wholesale buyers are consumers themselves and covid-driven retail app adoption and use has skyrocketed in the last two years. Mobile app usage was up 40% during covid. Another factor is that, increasingly, wholesale customers expect an app to make ordering easier and more personalized.

Ask yourself when was the last time you logged into the Amazon mobile browser? Odds are, you never have, since the instantly-personalized experience of the app is far-superior. With an app, there’s no need to enter payment information, no need to type in your address and order history is called up instantly. Page load times are nearly instantaneous and you get the app-only option of using push messaging to drive deeper engagement with wholesale accounts.

Chef’s Warehouse is one of our biggest B2B customers they recently re-platformed to Optimizely. We built their B2B app out to leverage and extend new Optimizely B2B features and functionality and the results have been fantastic. Their reps can easily access customer order history and account-specific pricing, etc. The app consistently delivers a conversion rate that is three times that of the mobile website and the majority of buyers/chefs now use the app for wholesale ordering.

Apps were once thought of as “nice to haves” but this is changing fast, as buyers demand tools to make complex wholesale ordering processes easier. As more and more wholesale businesses move online and the business starts to catch up to retail, the leaders in the space will be first to market with an app, so they can learn and iterate and phase in new features.

According to Digital Commerce 360, in 2021, online B2B sales grew 17.8% to $1.63 trillion from $1.39 trillion in 2020. In fact, B2B ecommerce sales grew faster than all other manufacturing and distributor sales in the U.S.  

Gartner calls the successful delivery of digital, online tools to help smooth the path the purchase “Buyer Enablement” and concludes the research with the following: “Customers are migrating decisively from in-person channels to digital alternatives…new digital channels must be purpose-built to drive sales performance, justified by a simple truth: customers learn and buy digitally.” 

Apps are all we do, we make the process easy, and the ROI is typically rapid. Orders placed on the app “pour into” your current Optimizely operations and data is seamlessly synched between the app and Optimizely.

If you are interested in a custom app to meet your specific needs, please consider visiting our page on the Optimizely solution marketplace. We work with Optimizely customers like Chef’s Warehouse and Binny’s Beverage Depot and can customize an app project specifically designed to meet your unique requirements.

Got app? If not, you should be considering the potential benefits to your wholesale business.  



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MARKETING

Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

2. Understand topical authority: Keywords vs. entities

Google has been talking about topical authority for a long time, and in Discover, it is completely relevant. Traditional SEO includes the use of keywords to position your web pages for a specific search, but the content strategy in Discover should be based on entities, i.e., concepts, characters, places, topics… everything that a Knowledge Panel can have. It is necessary to know in which topics Google considers we have more authority and relevance in order to talk about them.

3. Avoid clickbait in titles

“Use page titles that capture the essence of the content, but in a non-clickbait fashion.” This is the opening sentence that describes how headlines should be in Google’s documentation. I always say that it is not about using clickbait but a bit of creativity from the journalist. Generating a good H1 is also part of the job of content creation.

Google also adds:

“Avoid tactics to artificially inflate engagement by using misleading or exaggerated details in preview content (title, snippets, or images) to increase appeal, or by withholding crucial information required to understand what the content is about.”

“Avoid tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage.

Provide content that’s timely for current interests, tells a story well, or provides unique insights.”

Do you think this information fits with what you see every day on Google Discover? I would reckon there were many sites that did not comply with this and received a lot of traffic from Discover.

With the last core updates in 2023, Google was extremely hard on news sites and some niches with content focused on Discover, directly affecting E-E-A-T. The impact was so severe that many publishers shared drastic drops in Search Console with expert Lily Ray, who wrote an article with data from more than 150 publishers.

4. Images are important

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If you look at your Discover feed, you’ll see most of the images catch your attention. They are detailed shots of delicious food, close-ups of a person’s face showing emotions, or even images where the character in question does not appear, such as “the new manicure that will be a trend in 2024,” persuading you to click.

Google’s documentation recommends adding “high-quality images in your content, especially large images that are more likely to generate visits from Discover” and notes important technical requirements such as images needing to be “at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting.” You may also have found that media outlets create their own collages in order to have images that stand out from competitors.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

One of the most important parts of having a website is making sure your audience can find your site (and find what they’re looking for).

The good news is that Google Search Essentials, formerly called Google Webmaster Guidelines, simplifies the process of optimizing your site for search performance.

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Salesforce rolls out new edition of Marketing Cloud for small businesses

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Salesforce summer 2023 release: The business executive's guide

Today Salesforce announced Marketing Cloud Growth, an edition of Marketing Cloud designed specifically for small businesses.

With help from AI, this edition makes it easy for marketers to segment audiences, create and execute email campaigns from text to image, optimize campaign performance and create unified customer profiles. It also has a prompt builder that can store and manage known reliable prompts for organizations.

Dig deeper: 70% of SMB marketers willing to pay more for tools with AI or automation

Salesforce developed the new edition by looking at the most common use cases for which small businesses frequenty don’t have the people or resources. This includes things like personalizing campaigns and advanced testing.

The company is also letting small businesses (those with fewer than 200 employees) that have Sales or Service Enterprise Edition “get started with Data Cloud at no cost.” Marketing Cloud Growth will initially be available in the U.S. and Canada and is expected to roll out to Europe, the Middle East and Asia by the end of the year.

Why we care. First of all, small businesses need all the help they can get. This creates an opportunity to start using AI within a centralized marketing workflow rather than importing content from independent generative AI tools. Perhaps it’s also a sign of Salesforce moving to compete with platforms (can we say HubSpot?) that more overtly court SMB clients.

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