B2B ecommerce: Delighting customers with brand experience
How do you delight customers? What is brand experience? Who are responsible for creating a brand experience? Who are the benefactors? And finally why is brand experience so powerful in B2B ecommerce? Let me decode these for you.
The focus is always towards creating customer delight and the only tool is by creating a proper brand experience. While it is easier to comprehend in a B2C context let me elaborate a little about its relevance in the B2B space.
Brand experience is more than the sum of parts of what a customer experiences at every point of contact with the brand in B2B ecommerce.
Most organisations tend to forget that in B2B ecommerce while your clients are businesses, these comprise people who are experiencing your brand and thus they are the decision makers.
The four steps of inbound marketing are attract, convert, close and delight. From the first step of attracting customers via creating awareness about your value propositions till the last step of creating customer delight is the entire brand experience.
What is the first point of brand contact? It may be an online advertisement on Facebook or a top result for a relevant Google search – via SEM or SEO -- or an advertisement or a hoarding or an article in a newspaper or even a cold call. This is beginning of the brand experience of a customer.
The second step of "convert" is basically creating interest in the mind of the decision maker. Making them more aware of your services and products and how these can benefit the business owners, slowly handholding them towards a decision-making stage.
Please understand at every stage the customer is encountering a different touchpoint of the brand and his/her experience at every touchpoint is critical for creating a holistic experience of the brand. A slip at any point can ruin the entire brand building exercise.
There is a common misconception that the "close" stage is the final stage when a prospect decides to go ahead with the brand – product or service – and become a customer. The key that makes a brand experience powerful is whether a brand is able to deliver customer delight to the businesses even after the closure of the deal, after the prospect becomes a customer, which is the final stage "delight".
The discipline at every moment of contact with the customer, both potential and existing, of every element of the brand – from customer care executive to the CEO – makes a brand experience impactful. It is the customer delight that makes the brand, in turn, powerful.
So the objective of any B2B ecommerce business should be to convert prospects to promoters of the brand as in B2B space word of mouth goes a long way.
It is the customer who can make or break a brand.