Business marketers have much to gain from retention marketing. Business customers tend to be fewer and more valuable—meaning you can't afford to lose even one. But how do you keep your customers active and buying from you, versus the competition? How do you prevent defection? Let's look at the traditional approaches to retention marketing in B-to-B, plus some new developments in loyalty marketing being adopted by B-to-B marketers today, including social media and gamification.
A year ago, we published an article on 11 fundamental guidelines for e-commerce checkout design here at Smashing Magazine. The guidelines presented were based on the 63 findings of a larger "E-Commerce Checkout Usability" study we conducted in 2011 focusing strictly on the checkout user experience, from “cart” to “completed order.” This year, we’ve taken a look at the state of e-commerce checkouts by documenting and benchmarking the checkout processes of the top 100 grossing e-commerce websites based on the findings from the original study. This led to a massive checkout database with 508 checkout steps reviewed, 975 screenshots and
The key to success in e-commerce lies in matching a retailer’s strengths with the needs of its customers, explained Paul Miller, vice president of e-commerce at W.W. Grainger Inc., which sells maintenance supplies, tools and spare parts mainly to businesses. The first step is to understand what the customer is trying to accomplish. “You’ve got to clear away the clutter and find out what it is they’re trying to do,” Miller said. “How do you make it so they can find it, buy it and move on?
Although there are many drivers of overall campaign success, four factors with significant untapped ROI potential are de-duplication, predictive analytics, enterprise campaign testing strategy and inclusion of referral metrics.
Staples, the office supplies giant, has launched a new commercial Web site StaplesAdvantage.com (www.staplesadvantage.com) aimed specifically at business customers. According to Marci Grebstein, vice president B-to-B marketing and e-commerce at Staples, these include companies range from small businesses to the Fortune 1000, in markets such as education, healthcare and pharmaceutical, and state and federal government.
Online affiliate marketing has evolved into a “love it or hate it” strategy, leaving many marketers torn. How can marketers work to grow affiliate-related revenue, new customers and leads in a world that’s already decided “fewer affiliates are better”? A few bold voices are suggesting a Renaissance in this tried-and-true strategy.
Brand is king in the realm of securing customers and creating loyalty, which can save your bottom line in this down economy. Brand goes far beyond logos and taglines—it lies within your customer’s perception of your product or service. Whether you are aware of it or managing it, every point of contact with the customer defines and reinforces your brand—from the way you answer the phones, to the appearance and manner of your sales force, to the cover of your catalog and the landing page of your Web site.