5 Ways M&D Companies Drive Efficiency & eCommerce with Augmented Reality

5 Ways M&D Companies Drive Efficiency & eCommerce with Augmented Reality

With Augmented Reality, manufacturers and distributors can increase:

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  • speed of production by 30%
  • speed and accuracy of maintenance by 34% 
  • speed and efficiency of fulfillment by 25%

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How are manufacturers and distributors dramatically improving efficiency? Augmented Reality applications for eCommerce allow B2Bs to streamline processes and drive incredible value for buyers. Get the full rundown below or watch the second half of our webinar here.

 

The AR Megatrend: Causes & Effects

 

COVID-19 forced a wave of digital transformation across industry sectors, accelerating the 10-year growth previously projected for the eCommerce market. As B2C companies raced to find new at-home buying experiences, B2B companies jumped on the bandwagon. Companies are realizing the dire need for digital technology.

 

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Emphasizing this point, McKinsey’s “B2B Decision Maker Pulse” states your likelihood of being chosen as the primary supplier for a B2B company increases by 100% when you provide an “outstanding digital experience.” Seeking to meet “New Normal” buyer demands, manufacturers and distributors around the world began investing in 10 key areas, namely Augmented Reality.

Here are the top 5 ways M&D companies are using the technology, not only to increase value for buyers but for employees as well.

 

1. AR for Production

 

B2B AR Production

 

For the biggest B2B brands in the country, Augmented Reality is taking the production cycle to the next level. Shipping leader Cerasis determined that factory workers and engineers utilizing augmented reality in production can increase their accuracy and lower mistakes by up to 96%, and complete work up to 30% faster.

AR allows workers to see blueprints in eye view, shortening the time it takes for quality control. Leaving less room for human error and stopping mistakes before they ever happen. Workers can spot and eliminate defects in manufacturing by scanning products or production machinery from the factory floor or remotely.

Global Creative Director here at Redstage, Christopher Yin, had this to say:

 

[su_quote cite=””]“Cut the cost of creating one-off examples for showing customers by utilizing AR. Save money on printing, shipping, and returns while also saving the time wasted waiting for customer approval. Send customers AR [model] links to quickly review and approve orders, netting same-day results, and boosting your bottom line.”[/su_quote]

 

2. AR for Maintenance

 

B2B AR Maintenance

 

Shutting down your entire production line to run maintenance on one of your machines can cause huge delays on the assembly line and in production. Household name General Electric Renewables utilized Augmented Reality in their maintenance processes at a wind turbine production plant.

AR allowed engineers to work on wiring on the turbines with an augmented overlay, helping GE Renewables improve assembly time by 34%. They accomplished this by using AR to overlay correct wiring conditions over the current project. Technicians at GER are also using voice recognition to identify wiring and determine correct placements, limiting mistakes and potentially harmful accidents.

Engineers can scan over machinery using AR and view necessary information directly in their eye view. From last maintenance date to specific areas there may be a malfunction, augmented reality is keeping engineers safely out of harm’s way while also massively reducing maintenance time.

 

3. AR for Planning

 

B2B AR Planning

 

For sellers of large machinery like assembly lines or presses, the best way to ensure you have the space planned out correctly is to see the machine through an augmented reality lens. In a scientific research report titled, Virtual Planning, Control, and Machining for a Modular-Based Automated Factory Operation in an Augmented Reality Environment, researcher Yun Suen Pai and colleagues outline the importance of minimal friction and misplacement between machinery in a large production area.

According to the report, “AR was used to aid the planning process of manufacturing systems with the key advantage of modeling 3D objects in the actual factory. By using AR as a form of user interface, any user will be able to freely manipulate the overall layout design on a table-top, which is extremely user-friendly.”

In other words, place the machine virtually in the space you have for it beforehand, without the hassle of measurements or human error. Plan for your warehouse move or upgrade with AR before you do it, and limit headaches if there is a mishap. Hololens by Microsoft is even allowing remote teams to get a hands-free view of factories and warehouses, giving managers the freedom of focusing on their plans.

 

4. AR for Virtual Product Models

 

AR B2B Model

 

Jon Wade, Head of Augmented Reality and VR at Shopify, shed some light on the thoughts of buyers when viewing products in 3D. He said that “…when visitors viewed a product in AR before making a purchase, they were 65% more likely to complete that purchase.”

We’ve also designed AR experiences that allow DTC appliance companies to show off their appliances, like coffee machines and stoves, to buyers from the comfort of their own home. The same way manufacturers would plan where machinery would go in a large production warehouse or factory, homeowners want to plan where a new stove or coffee machine will go in their kitchen before buying. View a new appliance in 3D, place it on your counter, move it around and make sure your buyers are confident in their purchase to avoid buyer’s remorse and increase satisfaction.

 

Stove Range

We designed this sample model of an AR stove range to show retailers and manufacturers how popular appliances and machinery can be viewed in a home or business setting from anywhere.

📲 Point your smartphone camera at the QR code to try it out, wherever you are!

 

 

This is the same for B2B buyers as well. Whether you’re selling large industrial appliances to restaurant chains or construction equipment to job sites, utilizing 3D models and Augmented reality for your products can give your customers confidence in their purchase. 

 

5. AR for Supply Chain and Logistics

 

B2B AR Logistics Shipping Supply Chain

 

Distribution juggernaut DHL is making a staggering $300 million investment in AR technology, accelerating their investment in AR and other technologies. DHL Supply Chain North America CEO Scott Sureddin said, “This investment is about a holistic view of emerging technologies that enable our customers to achieve their growth and profitability goals… Therefore, it is important that our customers can benefit from our experiences and expertise with a variety of emerging technologies.”

DHL successfully carried out a project testing smart glasses and Augmented Reality in one of their warehouses. The technology was used to implement ‘vision picking’ in warehousing operations. Their staff members were guided through the warehouse by graphics displayed on the smart glass to speed up the picking process and reduce errors. The project resulted in a 25% efficiency increase during the picking process.

 

The Fastest Way to Implement AR

Augmented Reality is growing in adoption from buyers and sellers alike. Don’t fall behind your competition, be the first in your space to implement AR in both your warehouses and online buying portals. Watch this on-demand webinar with our Creative Director Christopher Yin and Shopify’s Head of AR and VR Jon Wade for the full story, on how AR is changing eCommerce in B2C and B2B alike.

 

 

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5 Ways Augmented Reality is Changing eCommerce and Dazzling Buyers

5 Ways Augmented Reality is Changing eCommerce and Dazzling Buyers

[su_quote cite=”Tim Cook, Apple (2016)”]“I do think that a significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you.”[/su_quote]

 

According to the Commerce Department, online sales now account for 16% of all U.S. retail sales. In fact, eCommerce sales in the second quarter of 2020 rose by 44.5% compared to the same period of 2019. More merchants than ever before are investing in online stores as the industry booms. To maintain dominance in the rapidly growing market, leading brands are turning to Augmented Reality.

You can watch a free video version of this post, featuring Shopify’s head of AR/VR Jon Wade and Christopher Yin, Redstage’s Global Creative director to see these examples in greater detail and motion and get insights from the experts.

 

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality is the practice of using an AR capable device (like a smartphone or smart glasses), to superimpose computer-generated images over real life. This gives users the impression that the superimposed image is in the real world, allowing users to interact with products physically, without ever leaving their home. Take a look at the images below to get an idea.

 

Augmented Reality Example 1

 

We started talking about the AR eCommerce “arms race” three years ago. Today, most US consumers already have devices that support AR experiences (yes, even you). This holiday season, expect Augmented Reality’s importance in retail to truly shine, considering in-store shopping is at an all-time low. Even B2B companies are investing in the technology for a variety of applications, from eCommerce to operations. If you don’t keep up with this trend, you could be part of the 12% of companies falling behind during the pandemic. Continue reading to see a few AR experiences companies are using already, and some you can try yourself.

 

1) A New Standard in At-Home Retail.

Companies like Amazon and Apple are already utilizing AR experiences to bring the in-store experience into consumers’ households. With AR, shoppers can view items like furniture or appliances on their mobile devices, and place 3D product models in their home virtually. Phone and tablet users can view products anywhere, giving them the freedom to see if products fit in the space they are buying it for, prior to purchase. Consumers can ensure items are what they’re looking for, from size to shape and color, all from the comfort and safety of their homes. Check out this Augmented Reality model we built for Jura Coffee machines:

 

 

Jura Coffee Machines

Using augmented reality, we created an at-home shopping experience for Jura. With our AR design, customers can see how Jura’s coffee machines appear on their kitchen counters from home. With in-store traffic at an all time low in 2020, experiences like this help customers see the product without visiting a Jura location. Scan the code with your smartphone to view the model at home!

⬅️   Tap the buttons on the right of the image to see product features and dimensions.

 

 

In this way, AR gives buyers confidence that they are buying the right item and limit returns with Augmented Reality. Shopping for a new couch or coffee machine? Make sure it fits before tapping “buy,” without ever visiting the store.

 

In Home Retail Augmented Reality

 

For Retail, AR’s Future is Clear

Redstage’s Global Creative Director, Christopher Yin, had this to say about AR’s role in eCommerce: “Wayfair, Target, Walmart, Ikea, and every other juggernaut of retail has and will invest large sums in Augmented Reality in the near future, as it is the clear trend. To keep up with the largest companies in the world, you must give your customers unique and memorable experiences to retain them.” The stats speak for themselves:

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  • 61% of shoppers said they would prefer to shop at stores that offer AR, as opposed to ones that don’t.
  • 40% of shoppers said they’d be willing to pay more for a product if they could experience it in AR.
  • 71% of shoppers would shop at a retailer’s store more often if they offered AR.

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 Source: Retail Perceptions

 

2) Unique Experiences in Consumer Goods

 

In Store Augmented Reality

 
Augmented Experiences Enhance In-Store Buying

While you don’t need a dedicated app to enable AR experiences, these are a few ways top names in CPG are taking the tech to the next level. Augmented Reality is already being used to enhance in-store experiences. Utilizing their branded AR app, shoppers at American Apparel can scan clothing and footwear right on the rack and view information typical of an eCommerce store right from their phone. They can find the right sizes, colors, styles, and even customer reviews all while shopping in the store.

With Sephora’s in-store “magic” mirror, shoppers can try-on different kinds of makeup with Augmented Reality. With facial recognition technology, smart mirrors can automatically detect different facial features and apply a wide variety of cosmetic products directly onto users’ reflections. Remember, 40% of shoppers said they’d be willing to pay more for a product if they could experience it in AR. This applies to in-store shoppers as well.

 

Sephora's augmented reality mirror

Image Source: Retail Innovation

It’s easy to see how experiences like this increase customer satisfaction by ensuring they get the product they want. This prevents the disappointment of out-of-stock products while reducing returns and increasing sales. Bring the online shopping features your customers love to your physical stores and see in-store sales grow in tandem.

 

3) Augmenting Products and Packaging

You may have heard about 19 Crimes Wines, and how they utilize Augmented Reality to give a unique experience to customers purchasing their AR-activated wine bottles. In doing so they provide:

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  • A new dimension to wine bottles with video to tell brand stories.
  • New experiences to engage and entice customers in the aisle.
  • A viral marketing sensation that drives sales.

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Augmented Reality Consumer Goods Experience 19 Crimes Wine

 

 

 

 

Recently, the team at Redstage created an AR concept for Panini, one of the largest manufacturers of sports playing cards in the world. The benefits of this AR experience include:

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  • Adding an interactive dimension to playing cards.
  • Encourage use of branded apps to experience AR, encouraging up-sells.
  • Provide new experiences to engage and entice customers to purchase.
  • Allow shoppers to check packaging in-store for AR experiences in the aisle.
  • The potential to revolutionize the playing card and collectibles industry.

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4) Augmented Reality Gives Confidence and Freedom in Fashion

There’s nothing worse than buying clothing online that ends up not looking, feeling, or fitting how you hoped. Dodge returns this holiday season by using Augmented Reality to let shoppers virtually try-on clothes. Let them see the fit and cut of clothes in real-time, on their body, or let them walk around apparel items on a virtual model.

Do the earrings match? Is the dress long enough? Most of the time, shoppers don’t know their dimensions off the top of their heads. With AR, 3D product models are based on real dimensions, increasing buyer’s confidence in their purchase. Again, this will undoubtedly lower returns and can grow repeat customers who enjoy the experience.

 

AR for Accessories & Luxury Goods

 

Augmented Reality Try It On At Home Luxury Goods

Image Source: TryOn.Jewelry

Continuing in the theme of “bringing the in-store shopping experience to your home,” it’s just as important for consumers to see how accessories look on their body without visiting the store. Imagine seeing rings on your fingers, a watch on your wrist, or a necklace on your neck, without ever stopping by the jewelry store. All this and more is being implemented by top brands today. Sephora and Covergirl are even using AR for new makeup and cosmetics experiences.

So far, we’ve seen the Try-It-On-At-Home (TIOAH) AR experience implemented for:

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  • Bracelets
  • Earrings
  • Makeup
  • Nail Polish
  • Necklaces
  • Rings
  • Watches
  • And more!

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5) Using Your eCommerce Platform for Augmented Reality

Apparel designer Rebecca Minkoff has been improving conversion rates consistently with AR and 3D models, here’s how:

 

 

Rebecca Minkoff has been using 3D models on their product pages since the fall of 2019. 3D models give customers a 360-degree view of products, increasing interactivity over stationary photos. Jon Wade, head of Augmented and Virtual Reality at a leading eCommerce platform says, “We’ve found that visitors who interacted with a 3D model were 44% more likely to add a product to their cart and 27% more likely to place an order that visitors who didn’t. Furthermore, when visitors viewed a product in AR, they became 65% more likely to make a purchase.”

 

[su_quote]“Visitors who interacted with a 3D model were 44% more likely to add a product to their cart and 27% more likely to place an order that visitors who didn’t. Furthermore, when visitors viewed a product in AR, they became 65% more likely to make a purchase.”[/su_quote]

 

Knitted tie manufacturer Broni and Bo is another merchant utilizing Augmented Reality in their online showroom. Enhanced with facial recognition software, customers can try-on knitted bowties and wedding ties before the big day, giving customers confidence that they chose the right look. There’s no limit to the experiences you can give customers with Augmented Reality and 3D models.

 

Bow Tie Facial Recognition

 

 

AR models can bring your product pages to life and automatically display interactive 3D models when viewed on a desktop computer. Increase buyer engagement and make consumers more confident in their purchase from the beginning with AR and 3D models.

 

Misconceptions about Augmented Reality:

 

1) It’s too expensive: FALSE!

Implementing Augmented Reality on your online store is not nearly as expensive as you many think, which is why so many companies are investing in it right now.

 

2) It’s difficult and time-consuming to build AR models: FALSE!

With the right team, who has experience and knowledge, it is both easy and fast to implement Augmented Reality and 3D models into your store.

 

3) Implementation requires additional tech and infrastructure: FALSE!

Most eCommerce platforms, like Shopify Plus, are already set up to allow for Augmented experiences. They take no extra implementations or infrastructure to implement!

Jon Wade, head of AR and VR at Shopify, mentioned this about AR’s ease of use, “Any mainstream browser works for AR, you don’t need any additional hardware, software, or expert knowledge to experience it. It works on all new mobile devices, desktops, and tablets.”

 

4) AR will kill the load-time of my product pages: FALSE! 

The right team can implement AR experiences without sacrificing load time or website performance.

 

Want to Learn More About AR Implementation?

To show you how easy it is to make an AR design, send a .EPS file of your company’s logo to info@redstage.com and we’ll send you an AR model of your company logo for free. Test out the technology and see how quick the turn around time can be.

Watch this on-demand webinar with Shopify’s head of AR/VR Jon Wade and Christopher Yin, Redstage’s Global Creative director to see these examples in greater detail and get insights from the experts.

To learn more about how we can bring your AR dreams to life, visit https://www.redstage.com/augmented-reality-design to schedule your free consultation.

 

8 B2B eCommerce Resources You Need To Bookmark Now

8 B2B eCommerce Resources You Need To Bookmark Now

[su_quote cite=”Jeff Bezos, Amazon”]“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”[/su_quote]

eCommerce juggernaut Jeff Bezos knows the importance of the customer experience better than anyone. How does Amazon continue to innovate in this area year over year and lead the pack? For one thing, Amazon acts quickly to move on to new trends in buyer habits. For B2B eCommerce companies, being late to the party means losing authority and customers to competitors.

 

The most pressing questions we get from clients and partners are: How can B2B companies differentiate themselves from the competition? How do these companies attract and retain customers? What trends in the industry should we be aware of and take advantage of? If you share these concerns, look no further!

From eCommerce features that make revenue explode to areas B2Bs are investing for the year ahead, we’ve compiled our top tips and insights from 2020 in our latest B2B Round-Up! Take a look.

 

5 Must-Have B2B eCommerce Features of 2020

 

must have b2b eCommerce features

 

“According to TrustRadius, 45% of the B2B buyer demographic is 25-34 years old. This makes them the single largest demographic of B2B buyers today. But what does this mean for you, the B2B seller?

As buyers grow more accustomed to better customer experiences provided by top eCommerce platforms, there’s a growing number of features this new generation of B2B buyers has come to demand from their suppliers. In order to grow your sales pipeline, retain, and attract these buyers you should seriously consider these 5 must-have B2B eCommerce features.” — Read More Here

 

10 On-Site Search Practices to Boost Your B2B eCommerce Business

 

 

“As far back as 2014, 60% of B2B buyers said an on-site search was one of their top three features, with a further 48% of B2B sellers citing enhanced search as a top technology priority. Shoppers who interact with on-site search are typically 216% more likely to convert and generate up to 14% of all revenue. Make sure you’re paying close attention to the way your B2B operation caters to this profitable segment.

This guide will walk you through 10 ways enhanced on-site search can be used to help B2B retailers earn outstanding ROI.” — Get The Full Guide Here

 

7 Ways B2Bs are Investing In Digital During the COVID-19 Crisis

 

 

“While stock market experts work to price in risk, today’s largest retailers, wholesalers, and distributors are doing the same. What are the risks of doing nothing while we ride out the COVID-19 storm? Where and how can enterprise companies re-focus their efforts to guarantee growth once this is all over?

From remote-teams to supply chain automation and even augmented reality, the value of digital enablement has never been more apparent. In fact, only 12% of B2B companies are taking a “wait-and-see” approach to eCommerce as COVID-19 plays out. Here’s what the other 88% are doing today to ensure success down the line…” — View This Report Online Here

 

How to Stay Competitive in the Shifting B2B eCommerce Landscape

 

how to stay competitive in the shifting b2b eCommerce landscape

 

“B2B eCommerce sales are growing 7X faster than any other electronic channel. Yet, only 73% of B2B sellers sell through eCommerce or online marketplace portals today…

What does this all mean? It means there’s still some room for companies to begin their digital transformation, adopt eCommerce, or build industry-specific online marketplaces… B2B’s digital leaders in eCommerce are vastly outperforming their competitors. Digital B2B leaders who adopted online buying opportunities have reported up to 5x revenue growth, 8x operating profit growth, and up to double their return on shareholder growth.” — Find Out More Here

 

3 eCommerce Technologies B2B Sellers Need

 

3 b2b technologies sellers need

 

“In 2019, customers became bolder with their demands and expectations. You may have learned how to satisfy them with evergreen content, site optimization, and fraud protection. However, as 2020 picks up, merchants need to stay one step ahead of the competition by studying trends and going beyond customer expectations.

These 3 new eCommerce technologies help B2B companies boost sales and improve shopping experiences…” — Learn more about all 3 technologies here.

 

2020 B2B Industry Trends: Marketplace, Customer, and Business IT Insights

 

2020 b2b trends webinar

 

In a webinar hosted by CEO Adam Morris, he helps B2B Digital Leaders determine the new buyer personas they must tend to in the shifting B2B eCommerce market. Also, he demonstrates the newest trends threatening to disrupt B2B companies in 2020 and beyond.

Learn more about how to tend to millennial buyers, how B2B marketplaces are taking over, and insights from real merchants on centralizing and decentralizing data. This webinar is a can’t miss opportunity for growth. — Watch this Insightful Webinar Here

 

2020’s Biggest Threat to B2B Companies

 

 

“In manufacturing and distribution, digital is no longer a nice-to-have, but an absolute necessity to stay competitive. In a digitally optimized organization, front-end customer experiences can connect seamlessly with back-office operations. This produces an extremely fast and efficient business environment that customers prefer. A ‘wait and see’ approach is no longer a viable option. It’s an invitation to customers to abandon ship, and an invitation for the competition to outpace you.”

With insights into the biggest B2B verticals from experts with real-life experience, learn more about how doing nothing to enhance your digital capabilities during the Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest threat to B2B companies in 2020. — View the Report Here.

 

39 Genius Ways Manufacturers and Distributors Can Supercharge Their 2020 Pipeline

 

digital sales enablement guide eCommerce b2b

 

In this huge and in-depth sales guide, we’ve outlined 39 easy and genius ways B2B companies can enable their sales teams with digital back-end processes that better serve their customers and make their sales teams’ job much easier.

“A report published by Forrester in 2015 titled “Death of A (B2B) Salesman” justifies its title with a few key statistics. Forrester’s data illustrates a growing trend wherein 59% of B2B buyers prefer to research potential suppliers online, rather than talk directly to a sales rep. Most buyers prefer not to interact with sales reps because they believe salespeople focus primarily on the sale itself (and the commission), rather than providing value and a solution to problems customers face.” Learn how you can use automation and data to supercharge your sales pipelines in 2020. —Get the Full Guide Here.

 

Final thoughts

 

Throughout 2020 and beyond, Redstage is helping B2B companies become digital leaders in their industries. How? With automation, optimization, customization, and elite B2B eCommerce feature sets. If you’re not matching up to new standards, and not looking for the next big trend to elevate your eCommerce initiatives, you’re already behind on the times.

 

Here’s the fastest way to get your own eCommerce channel up and running: Redstage’s B2B Accelerator

2800+ Magento 1 merchants were left open to a massive cyber-attack in September that compromised the data of thousands of customers. If B2B merchant’s biggest drawback for migrating off Magento 1, or simply getting onto Magento 2, is time and cost, then let Redstage help. Read more here about the robust feature set included in our B2B Accelerator Suite, as well as look at the responsive and optimized theme. Contact us today to get started now.

 


 

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5 Must-Have B2B eCommerce Features for 2021

5 Must-Have B2B eCommerce Features for 2021

In the past few years, B2B companies across industries have been adopting eCommerce as the main channel for selling products. B2B eCommerce alone accounts for $1 Trillion in sales today and continues to grow. According to TrustRadius, 45% of the B2B buyer demographic is 25-34 years old, making them the single largest demographic of B2B buyers today. But what does this mean for you, the B2B seller?

As buyers grow more accustomed to better customer experiences provided by top eCommerce platforms, there a growing number of features this new generation of buyers has come to demand from their suppliers. In order to grow your sales pipeline, retain, and attract these buyers you should seriously consider these 5 must-have B2B eCommerce features.

 

B2B eCommerce Features Your Store Needs

 

1. Advanced Site Search

 

site search

 

Advanced on-site search is crucial for making sure your customers can find exactly the products they need quickly and easily. Typically, B2B products have a lot of specific parameters, (weight, length, height, size, shape, etc.), make searches easy by allowing customers to search by these parameters or SKU numbers.

“We’ve seen the conversion rate of users who search be 6-8x that of visitors that don’t use search,” says Redstage CEO Adam Morris. “Utilizing search shows intent and having a powerful search is crucial to capturing high converting customers. If a user can’t find the exact product they’re looking for due to slow, out-of-the-box, and not customized for market searches, you will lose the sale.”

A powerful advanced on-site search can make all the difference. Smart search features reduce the likelihood of expensive returns, refunds, and abandoned carts. In Klevu’s new report, they found that shoppers who interact with on-site search are 216% more likely to convert. This group also accounts for 14% of all revenue. For these reasons, it’s critical to provide the best search experience possible. Don’t let a sub-part search experience keep you from unlocking guaranteed sales. See the rest of the report here.

 

 

“We’ve seen the conversion rate of users who search be 6-8x that of visitors that don’t use search” – Redstage CEO Adam Morris

 

 

2. Custom Product Filters

 

product filters

 

Giving your customers the ability to filter by different product parameters allows them to quickly find what they’re looking for on the category page. Custom product filters allow merchants to display more information about a product’s qualities or attributes and allow customers to more easily refine product searches.

AI-driven dynamic filters on your category pages can automatically display the most relevant attributes to customers, making the buying process even easier. Adding images in product filters can make the process even faster and remove another chunk of friction from the process.

One of our Redstage’s platform expert Solution Engineers, Aidan McKnight, had this to say, “If evaluating an eCommerce system, consider what options are available for custom product filters. Does the platform natively support this? Does the native search work well with custom filters? Are there third-party options available? Choose a system that meets your unique requirements or that can be built-to-suit if required.”

These can make all the difference between your customers finding the exact product they need or abandoning your site for a competitor.

 

3. Customer Segmentation Groups and Profiles

 

b2b customer profile

 

Segmenting different buyers into customer groups allows you to create profiles for certain kinds of buyers. This allows you to ensure different customers get the right pricing, see the products most relevant to them. It also enables you to utilize upselling and recommendations to increase average order value (AOV). Keeping your customer groups in mind when setting up site search and custom filters is key to helping the right customers see the right filters and results.

Using segmentation, separate customers into categories by company size, company needs, and industry. This can help you provide another layer of personalization and more value to different kinds of customers. A report done by Econsultancy and IBM Watson Marketing showed that customer segmentation is a top priority to 72% of executives in B2B marketing and eCommerce. If you are not part of that figure, it’s likely your competitors are.

“Successful B2B eCommerce includes considering customers individually and as groups.” says McKnight. “Consider setting aside time to evaluate your current Customer Group/Segmentation strategy and review the data of both customer groups and individual customers. Segmenting your customers is an opportunity to drive additional revenue through your eCommerce platform and provide your marketing team with valuable insight into customer behavior.”

 

4. Advanced Shipping Options

 

advanced shipping options

 

Some B2B buyers want fast shipping, even if it’s not cheap. At the same time, others want shipping to be as cost-effective as possible, no matter how long it may take. Keeping customer groups in mind, B2B sellers must provide advanced shipping options for all their buyers and serve their individual needs. Many B2B companies have complex shipping needs, like delivery to multiple locations or drop-shipping from different warehouses to keep inventory down.

Utilizing fulfillment software, such as ShipperHQ, can increase productivity and decrease headaches. The right shipping software can help build a shipping strategy that aligns with your business goals and these customer demands. Provide automatic checkout that considers what they’re ordering, how frequently, and how much volume every time to increase reorder rates. And provide order tracking and tailored shipping rates to customers with discounts and other arrangements automatically, all within one system.

 

5. Product Information Management software

product information management

 

Due to complex product catalogs and new buyer habits, it can be difficult for online merchants to keep product information updated and consistent across multiple selling channels or sites. Think about how complex information gets across Amazon listings, Walmart, local retailers, and DTC channels. A product information management solution (PIM) can help. These solutions provide a single dashboard to collect, manage, and enrich your product information. 

PIMs save you money by lowering product enrichment costs up to 5 times. They can also reduce returns by as much as 40%, and increase conversion rate by more than 400%, according to Akeneo. Imagine what you could do by empowering your team with a PIM, allowing them to update or change product info in one place and automatically update it wherever it appears on the web? The ability to update product attributes on the fly will only strengthen the power of custom filters and your advanced search. Altogether, these features can pack a punch and give you a serious edge over the competition.

 

Why You Need To Implement Now

 

B2B distributor The Binding Source saw huge gains after optimizing their B2B buying experience with the features mentioned above. They implemented strong custom product filters on their category pages, integrated ShipperHQ for advanced shipping options and optimizing fulfillment, and built customer profiles and groups to segment buyers for custom pricing and product rules. The result? Within 1 month of launching these new features, The Binding Source conversion rate skyrocket 170% and saw transactions grow 33%!

These B2B features aren’t simply “nice to have,” they’re must-haves. The stats speak for themselves. If your B2B eCommerce site doesn’t have all the features the new generation of buyers are expecting, they’ll find a competitor of yours that does. Contact Redstage to implement one or more of these features today!

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How to Stay Competitive In The Shifting B2B eCommerce Landscape

How to Stay Competitive In The Shifting B2B eCommerce Landscape

eCommerce and digital transformation are taking over the B2B industry at a rapid pace. Prior to COVID-19, 2020 was already looking like the biggest year in B2B sales by dollar value, operating at twice the size of the B2C market at $6.7 Trillion. Why are things changing so quickly, and what steps can you take to make sure you aren’t left behind?

 

Buyer Demographics

millennial eCommerce

A big part of this overall macroeconomic force is the changing demographics of B2B buyers. The B2B landscape is changing dramatically as Millennials take hold of most buying responsibilities in B2B and distribution to B2C firms. Unknown to most, millennials are already the largest generation in the workforce. By 2025, millennials will account for 75% of the workforce worldwide. This is a generation of digitally connected, technologically dependent, and software-savvy workers.

What does this mean for B2B companies? Right now, more than 46% of all B2B purchases are made by millennials. For millennials, the convenience and ease of digital buying experiences are more important than other factors impacting their choice to buy. In fact, 69% of millennials say that the ease of doing business is why they choose the companies that they work with. For more than two-thirds of the customers you attempt to sell to, your online portal or buying experience is the most important aspect of your business for retaining them.

 

“Millenials don’t want to have a conversation with a sales rep, they want to have a conversation with your website.” – Adam Morris, Redstage CEO

 

How Amazon’s Marketplace is Hurting B2B Business

b2b business

Pre-COVID, Amazon Business was projected by Bank of America to take 10% of the US market for B2B. With eCommerce and online sales booming during the crisis (up 25% industry-wide since March), Amazon’s dominant market share has only grown. How can Amazon’s push into the B2B eCommerce market hurt your business?

As the market expands, customers without brand loyalty will shop on the Amazon Marketplace for things like materials, parts, and even industrial chemicals. Customers will see your products alongside your competition, where the only comparable attributes are price and quantity. Without your differentiation and product knowledge, you are losing a large number of sales to competitors.

Many industry leaders are trying to get ahead of this trend. Honeywell established the Honeywell Marketplace for aerospace parts companies, and in an industry dominated by brand loyalty and trust, it’s almost impossible to get buyers to see your products if you aren’t on Honeywell’s trusted marketplace. This has given Honeywell a major advantage in the market in terms of industry leadership, as well as increasing revenue by being a “middle man” of sorts in the industry. However, it may hurt smaller distributors who are competing for sales with every one of their competitors also on the marketplace.

In another industry vertical, DMEhub partnered with Redstage to build a buyer and seller portal for durable medical equipment. The new site connected physicians and other medical practitioners with medical equipment suppliers directly, allowing consumers to get their medical equipment from an online marketplace with direct access to their prescriptions. This majorly cut down the timeline for accepting these orders, as well as greatly improving the security of highly sensitive medical data in the backend of the site. Learn more about the project here.

 

What can you do to get ahead of your competition?

b2b eCommerce

B2B eCommerce sales are growing 7X faster than any other electronic channel. Yet, only 73% of B2B sellers sell through eCommerce or online marketplace portals today. While that may seem fairly low, keep in mind that 86% of US-based B2B companies with over $500 million in annual revenue have already implemented these solutions.

What does this all mean? It means there’s still some room for companies to begin their digital transformation, adopt eCommerce, or build industry-specific online marketplaces. However, we’re starting to get to a point in this journey where executives have already thought through these strategies and have implemented or are implementing them. If you continue to hold off on digital transformation projects, your competition will start looking at you through their rearview mirror.

According to a study by McKinsey, B2B’s digital leaders in eCommerce are vastly outperforming their competitors. Digital B2B leaders who adopted online buying opportunities have reported up to 5x revenue growth, 8x operating profit growth, and up to double their return on shareholder growth. The value of showcasing your products to your customers, highlighting key product attributes, and allowing those customers to buy from you quickly how they want to, is extremely self-evident.

 

Final thoughts

As B2B online marketplaces and buying portals become more and more commonplace, the room to differentiate yourself is growing scarce. Don’t get left behind the pack by waiting to innovate, the time to utilize eCommerce platforms is now. Check out how we helped Zwilling Beauty Group boost their revenue year over year by 87% by tapping into the power of Magento Commerce Cloud here.

If you’d like to know more about how to implement these solutions or have any other technology questions, contact us here.

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