Our Skills4Smart TCLF 2030 partners are engaged in various initiatives and projects that aim at increasing the competitiveness of the European and national TCLF sectors. One of them – the Portuguese Footwear Technological Centre (CTCP) – pays special attention to the support both in terms of manufacturing and knowledge in the area of footwear and leather goods from their conception to the commercialization of products. In consequence of their activities, CTCP shares with us a few tips to improve the company’s performance.

The main focus of a brand or company that intends to start a B2B e-commerce project is to increase sales. Still, every company is different, and its objectives must be very well defined and prioritised so that the B2B online sales strategy can result in the best way and bring a return for the company. A fundamental issue for each company that chooses this business route will be the definition of short, medium, and long term plans. To avoid the mistake of wanting to do everything at the same time, companies must go through different stages and define very well what will be the strategies and goals for them.

For some companies, the initial focus will be on establishing contacts and gaining new customers, for others, the main objective will be to improve the relationship with existing customers and increase the sales volume for them. For each strategy, it is necessary to implement a specific action plan and define specific KPI’s1 for monitoring these same actions.

Ten types of improvements that presence in a B2B Marketplace can bring to a company:

1 – Attract new customers

This will probably be the main objective of companies that decide to opt for an online sales strategy on B2B platforms. Especially in times of crisis, attracting new customers means creating business opportunities and the possibility of generating new types of revenue. New customers lower the dependence of the company on existing customers, and if the customer is handled well, the possibility of recurring orders is quite high.

2 – Reactivation of former customers

All companies have in their customer base, inactive customers, customers who have already made purchases at the company, but for one reason or another, have stopped doing so. One of the actions that may well be included in a company’s B2B online sales strategy may be to reactivate these customers who already know the company, but who have not established a commercial relationship for some time. And how can a company/brand carry out this action? Through direct contacts, through promotional activities, through the disclosure of your space on the B2B Marketplace, communications focused on these customers can bring positive and faster results.

3 – Increased relationship with customers

The relationship with customers is a focal point of any business. Customers are the main target of any company; without customers, there can be no business or sustainability. The higher the level of the company’s relationship with customers, the greater exposure the brand has with them, the higher the chances to establish a lasting and constant commercial relationship. Companies that can develop constant and efficient communication with their customers also can make a higher number of sales. A business marketing strategy focused on contact with the customer tends to be a strategy with more effective results.

4 – Easy to buy and quick to replenish stocks

The ease of doing business is also a point of great importance in the commercial relationship of a company with its customers. It is provided with the presence of the company at a digital point of sale. The easier it is for a customer to buy a product from a particular brand, the more often they will. With markets increasingly competitive and with the amount of supply that users are bombarded daily, companies that hinder the purchase process are at serious risk of not being able to operate and survive in the digital era. If a customer runs out of stock of a particular product, it needs agility, not only in purchasing it for replacement but also in delivery. If the customer is unable to complete this process as quickly as possible, he will be missing the opportunity to carry out his sales. A customer who loses sales is not a satisfied one, and a dissatisfied customer has a tendency not to buy again.

5 – Increase in sales frequency

Equally or more important than being able to attract new customers, is getting customers to buy again. That is, being able to retain customers and increase their frequency of purchases instead of having several customers with unique purchases. Building customer loyalty is also a crucial part of any business. A long-term customer is much more valuable to any company than a series of customers who make a one-time purchase. Investments in marketing and customer acquisition will be much more mitigated in long-term customers. If constant capture in new customers is necessary, these efforts will be more considerable. A long-standing customer represents a higher percentage of profit for the company since the costs in marketing, and prospecting will be unique and diluted in the number of orders that he makes.

6 – Sell to small customers with small orders

Most companies keep their focus on large customers and large orders and always try to work in this direction. When there is a small customer, with a lower order volume, some companies prefer to “deliver” this order. Usually, these customers bring the company high costs for the order value. However, when a company operates in a B2B Marketplace, these customers can place their order through a self-service regime, where monetary costs are highly reduced, and the cost/benefit ratio tends to improve in the company’s favour.

7 – Geographic coverage

Geographic coverage is a problem for many companies that operate or intend to work in the global market. Distant customers imply a higher cost of sales to the companies due to transportation costs and delivery time. A B2B online sales platform is a driving force for companies and brands to eliminate these types of obstacles. The platform responds in precisely the same way to any customer. It might be located in the same city as the company or on the other side of the world. By eliminating this geographical barrier, companies are thus able to focus on new customers, expand horizons and target customers who were not previously considered viable due to the high costs already mentioned.

8 – Work the entire product catalogue

Commercial departments sometimes tend to focus their communication on products with the highest output, those that sell more and which are naturally more accessible to the market. Companies that have an extensive catalogue of products tend to have difficulties in advertising all their products. Setting up a marketing and communication strategy for the entire product range can be too costly for some companies to support. A presence in a business Marketplace can be an alternative and more dynamic way to showcase the entire collection and make customers and potential customers aware of the full range of products and know-how that the company has.

9 – Increase participation of products with a higher margin

Another advantage of being present in a Marketplace is that all products are presented in the same degree of detail. All acquire the same visibility to the eyes of the consumer, usually with an attractive image and detailed descriptions. A consequence of not working the catalogue well is that, typically, the most sophisticated products require excellent knowledge on the part of the sales team, to make customers aware of their advantages. In large part, these are the products that bring higher added value for the company. Selling a traditional and recognised product is always easier than selling a differentiated and complex one since it requires more work and preparation in the customer approach.

10 – Efficient launch of new products

In traditional ways of doing business, launching a new product is a process that always requires a relatively significant investment in the promotion and communication of this same new product. With a B2B e-commerce platform, this task is made much easier for companies, as they focus all their communication efforts in one place and with the advantage of being in the digital world. For a company that wants to promote a new product, it becomes easier to do it through videos and virtual experiences, technical product descriptions. It then proceeds with the dissemination of all these elements through the internet instead of doing it in person.

In summary, a B2B strategy, combined with a professional and specialised platform in this field, can generate many positive results. Companies, therefore, gain the possibility of reaching 100% of their potential market, displaying and disseminating their entire catalogue of products, communications, and promotions and, at the same time, greatly facilitating the customer’s life.

This article is written by João Morgado (CTCP/APICCAPS) is an extract from the report “B2B Marketplaces for fashion”.

Click here to download the full report: https://www.worldfootwear.com/news/are-you-using-any-of-these-b2b-marketplaces-for-fashion/5651.html