5 Tips to Find and Win the Micro-Moments

Micro-moments are critical touch-points in today’s customer journey—they are the moments when a consumer with a smart phone thinks: I need to go somewhere, I need to get something, I need to know the answer to this question right now. Every time someone picks up their phone, there is an opportunity for your company to be the one that gives them exactly what they want in that moment. That split second of satisfaction can make an immediate, and maybe loyal, customer.

Micro-moments create endless opportunities to connect with people, but which ones are worth pursuing?

5 Tips for Finding the Right Micro-Moments

1. Identify the top mobile-centric searches that lead to your company — Are customers coming to you because they are searching for a product in a nearby location, or are they looking for the answer to a how-to question? Tap into your analytics tools and resources like Google Search Console to discover how customers are ending up at your site via smartphone. Then plan relevant and eye-catching content for the particular questions your customers are asking.

2. Analyze the most popular questions asked of your brand and/or product category — Invest in resources to help you find and analyze the most common “what, when, and how” queries for your brand or product category. Know how customers get to your product, but also how they get to similar products. Think about whether your content can give them a more direct, thorough, or relatable answer than your competition.

3. Reframe consumer surveys — Focus on the when, why and where of customers connecting with your products, instead of just traditional questions about brand perception and customer demographics.

4. Leverage your internal team to create new ideas — Pull knowledge from all parts of your team—customer service, merchandising, marketing, or technical. Gather data about customer touch-points including call and chat logs and interactions with existing campaigns. Collaborative brainstorming with all of these groups gives you the best chance of identifying and matching customer intent.

5. Experiment with in-store interviews — If you have retail locations, visit them. Talk to customers you observe using their smartphones while browsing in product aisles: find out what they were looking for and whether or not the found relevant results.

A small device doesn’t mean a small purchase, so don’t miss the opportunity to make the most of it.

Considering a New E-Commerce Platform? 5 Must-Ask Questions

Buyer expectations include a unified customer experience across all channels and devices; if your current e-commerce platform isn’t meeting customer needs, it’s time to take a hard look at the topic of re-platforming.

But a shiny new platform won’t be shiny for long if you haven’t thought about your long-term vision, priorities and existing and future systems. Re-platforming is a large-scale project. The key is to understand and define your internal requirements before you start reaching out to vendors with an RFP. It’s amazing how many differences of opinion can emerge when defining the needs of an organization—don’t run the risk of failed implementation with a shift in priorities after the project has started.

5 Pre-RFP Questions for a New E-Commerce Platform

  1. Who are your customers and how do they interact with you? Ask yourself how you currently sell and fulfill, and how your customers buy from you. Who are your future customers; will their online behavior differ from your current customers? Make sure your platform can serve differing needs over time.
  1. How involved do you want to be with ongoing management of the solution? There are pros and cons to a SaaS versus the traditional approach for hosting your solution—the right answer depends on your preferences, budget, and resource availability.
  1. What is your ongoing support strategy? Do you feel too reliant on IT resources for managing your storefront right now? Think about the specific activities you would like to move into the hands of business users.
  1. What systems will require third-party integration? A comprehensive list of third party systems and applications (e.g. product reviews) that might be replaced by the new platform is a must to include in your RFP.
  1. What are the requirements of your OMS? Identify your back end requirements, such as inventory visibility and shipping requirements, to make sure you can discuss how your new system will address your needs in each area.

Extra Tips

  • Don’t get stuck trying to mirror the functionality you already had. Find a system that fully addresses long-term customer needs.
  • Don’t make your decision based on a demo alone. There are more than a few differences in e-commerce solutions when you look under the hood—make sure you thoroughly understand the system’s omni-channel offerings and how the system impacts all areas of your business. Prioritize finding the right long-term partner.

Four Question Quiz: Are You Keeping Up with the Right E-Commerce Platform?

We all know that sales have shifted from in-store to online purchasing. Shopper expectations now include high-functioning websites: they want to easily find product information, they don’t want to waste time browsing products that aren’t relevant, and they especially want to buy when they are ready to buy—that means they better be able to buy from their phones. These expectations can put a lot of pressure on small to mid-size sellers (both B2C and B2B) to keep up with the user-centered navigation of larger e-commerce websites.

But giving shoppers all the options they want is not optional. E-commerce that doesn’t function well will lead to lost sales.

So it’s time for the quiz: Are you using the right e-commerce platform?
#1: Do you get customer complaints about any of the following?
     o Products are hard to find
     o Search results aren’t relevant
     o Navigation isn’t consistent throughout the website
     o Slow page load times
     o Customers can’t figure out how to complete a purchase

#2: Does your platform include omni-channel ability, which keeps the buying experience consistent across channels and devices?

#3: Can you complete minor changes to your website quickly and without breaking other parts of your site?

#4: Can you implement marketing strategy without having to involve IT staff, including:
    o Personalizing product recommendations
    o Targeting marketing and merchandising campaigns
    o Boosting and/or burying products at a category level

If your current platform isn’t meeting the needs of your customers, it’s time to consider a new e-commerce platform. The right choice will be a platform that can integrate with your existing systems, give your customers the options they want, and is designed to customize to your specific needs.

Make sure to identify your internal requirements and set out your priorities and vision before you reach out to vendors. Implementing a new platform is a large-scale project and you don’t need the complications of a shift in priorities midstream.

Check back on our blog for more posts that will help you identify your priorities.

Beyond B2C: The Must-Have E-commerce Features for B2B

thanx blog beyond B2C Once you understand the motivations and buying habits that separate B2B buyers from B2C shoppers, the next step is structuring your e-commerce site to address the more specific demands of B2B buying.

Common E-commerce Features with a B2B Twist

You’ll need to use common B2C features but boost functionality to address more complicated B2B buyer needs.

Quick order –“Quick order” for B2B means more than entering a product number to make a purchase. Make it easy to order multiple items at a time, place a reorder, and export data from the buyer’s account.

On-site search – Smart auto-complete is important in both worlds to make a buyer’s experience easier and faster. B2B buyers also need to search by product number and manufacturer part number.

Guided navigation and Faceted search – Make your product menus comprehensive, with options to narrow and filter categories of products so buyers can quickly find what they’re looking for. Include the ability to narrow search results on multiple product attributes such as manufacturer, make and model, and application.

Product detail page – Every buyer needs product details; for a B2B buyer include the item #, manufacturer part #, UPC code, and any relevant cross-reference #’s to help meet the buyer’s exact specifications.

Split shipping/Multiple “Ship To” addresses – It’s common for a B2B buyer to have responsibility for purchasing goods across multiple locations. So make sure they can ship the contents of a single cart to multiple shipping addresses.

Personalization – Since most B2B transactions require a login, a seller has a wealth of buyer information to work with. Use information about the buyer’s company, industry, and transaction history to personalize content and product offers.

B2B Specific Features

B2B buyers have custom concerns that need additional custom features.

Quotes and RFQ – Encourage new B2B buyers by allowing them to “Request for Quote” without having to create an account and log in. Make it easy for them to turn a finalized quote into an order by making sure your system is set up to honor any special contract pricing.

Competitor cross reference – Including competitor cross-reference numbers in the search experience may sound like advertising against yourself, but actually allowing a customer to compare your product, and find corresponding parts, by using competitor part numbers can make you a valuable resource for alternatives and comparisons.

Custom catalog and contract pricing – Contract pricing and special product offerings can be complex to execute in e-commerce but are also one of the most important features in B2B sales. After login, a customer should see only products they are allowed to purchase, and only their contract prices should be displayed (including volume discounts).

Don’t just rely on B2C features to create a customer-focused B2B e-commerce experience.  Optimize those features for more sophisticated buying habits and add additional features to promote long-term relationships with your B2B buyers.

Are B2B Buyers and B2C Shoppers Different?

Thanx Media Blog B2B vs B2C shopper

The blurring line between B2B and B2C buying continues to be one of the most popular topics in e-commerce. When we know that B2B consumers have begun to expect a B2C-like experience online, should we just use one model?

Not quite. A B2B buyer is not the average online shopper looking for the best deal on a new pair of shoes. No, B2B buyers are not leisurely browsing commercial furniture or appliances; they don’t “window shop”. Instead, B2B buyers are more directed, want real details about your products and services, and want to build long-term relationships.

The B2B Buyer vs the B2C Shopper

Business buyers are sophisticated and may even understand your products better than you do. They:

  • buy products to stay profitable, competitive and successful
  • are far less likely to succumb to impulse buying behavior
  • have a high interest in educational content about the products and services they buy
  • negotiate pricing contracts
  • may place frequent repeat orders
  • need access to purchase history and account activity

B2C shoppers are increasingly tech savvy and are usually looking for the best price. They:

  • are less directed and spend free time browsing their favorite e-commerce websites
  • are heavily influenced by shipping costs
  • often make impulse purchases (especially when there is free shipping available)
  • do not negotiate prices, but instead research the competition prior to making a purchase
  • are less brand loyal and more likely to buy from a competitor based on price alone
  • often choose guest checkout—access to order information after the order has shipped is less important

Where do they overlap? Both want:

  • high quality customer service
  • an easy-to-use and well designed online experience

So, when building a B2C-like experience to meet the demands of your B2B buyer, remember that in additional to beautiful images of your products you need comprehensive details about the product’s specifications, that your platform should simplify access to user information, and that your customer service contact information should be prominent. Don’t lose B2B buyers with an e-commerce experience that is too sparse for their needs.