Distributor Geriatric Medical—which produces 90% of its revenue through its digital channel—has learned how to address the many needs of hospitals and nursing homes that buy products like wheelchairs and exercise equipment online.

Justin Racine, director of marketing and e-commerce, Geriatric Medical

Geriatric Medical’s e-commerce site, built to engage a wide variety of customer personas, manages to keep just about everyone happy: 90% of the distributor’s revenue comes in through the digital channel, said Justin Racine, director of marketing and e-commerce. Digging into and utilizing data too often untapped by B2B online sellers is the key to a site that satisfies every customer type, according to Racine, who will speak on a panel, “Perfecting the Most Important Pitch of All: to Your C-Suite,” the new conference and exhibition debuting in Chicago Sept. 24-26.

B2BecNews caught up with Racine recently to discuss how the company is working toward the goal of driving even more of its business online.

Q:  What is driving B2B companies like Geriatric Medical to expand online?

Racine: Our goal is to reduce the number of orders coming in via phone or our sales team—not to replace our team, but to allow their roles to change in a way that is positive for both our customers and for our employees. Geriatric Medical has always had a very strong online presence and revenue through our web and digital channels is over 90%. What drives us to keep pushing towards that 100% number is the self-service elements of our experience.

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We have to be focused on making the website a resource for all who may access it—our site is not just an ordering platform; it’s also a research portal, an inventory checker, a budget tracker and much more.
Justin Racine, Director of Marketing and E-Commerce
Geriatric Medical

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges?

Racine: Building experiences and ordering avenues that meet all of our customer’s expectations. We have a vast number of customer personas and demographics. A buyer who is younger has grown up with digital experiences and is more likely to have high expectations of our e-commerce website. Someone who is new to the online purchasing arena may be looking for a more simple experience. We have to be focused on making the website a resource for all who may access it—our site is not just an ordering platform; it’s also a research portal, an inventory checker, a budget tracker and much more.

Q: What are the biggest gains you’re realizing?

Racine: The number of unique products that customers are ordering through our e-commerce website is up 3.62% so far in 2018 vs. 2017. Our customers order 40 and 50 line items per order, so 3% for us is a nice testament to our progress in introducing products and ways for our customers to find them through our website. We run a steady abandoned cart rate of 0.52%, which we are extremely proud of. Having this statistic so low proves that we have built the experience and platform that truly speaks to our customer’s needs.

Q: What is the biggest thing B2B companies still need to realize about e-commerce?

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Racine: That there is no endpoint to ‘e-commerce’ development—it’s fluid; it’s a journey not a race. E-commerce at its root is a customer going to a website and placing an order, but it’s much more than just an ordering platform. It should be about growing with customers’ needs and expectations. It’s constantly evolving and as e-commerce practitioners we need to make sure that we have our finger on the pulse of our customers’ desires so that we can continue to build platforms and enhancements that truly delight and please customers.

Q: What is your most valuable piece of advice for B2B companies looking to add online sales or increase them?

Racine: B2B companies have so much untapped data that can be used to steer their best course in creating website features that will impact online sales or just get them started. Looking at things like cart abandonment rate, average order size, open email rates, products that are frequently purchased together, customer engagement and disengagement rates—all will help you determine what’s going on with your website and traffic. From here, companies can benchmark and build KPI goals to best determine what site features and or enhancements make the most sense to implement.

Q:  Can you recall from your own experience an example of how following this piece of advice can affect B2B e-commerce?  

Racine: We look quite a bit at website user engagement and disengagement, an algorithm we built to let our sales team know when a user is “likely” becoming disengaged, from an overall website standpoint and also from a specific product standpoint. The goal is to be able to identify changes in purchasing behavior early on. By reaching customers before disengagement becomes active and providing them with valuable pieces of information through various channels, we have been able to reel back in customers who may have been on their way out.

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Registration for B2B Next is open. The conference features:

  • 38 Sessions
  • 44 Speakers
  • 28 Exhibitors
  • 9 Networking Events

Learn more at B2BNext.net.