Unable to find a print shop that could fill his company’s need for signage, BannerBuzz founder Nishant Shah built an online signage business that won customers ranging from Dunkin’ Donuts to Boeing Co. The above image illustrates a range of the company’s banner sizes.

From its inception in 2010, BannerBuzz, a provider of custom banner printing, displays, and graphics, planned to make ecommerce the centerpiece of its B2B sales strategy. The plan has paid off handsomely for the company, as more than 95% of its sales revenue come from its website. In addition, sales grew 50% year over year in 2017 and 2018.

Nishant Shah, CEO, BannerBuzz

Critical to BannerBuzz’s ecommerce success is that the company views its website as more than just a way for businesses to place orders online. Instead, BannerBuzz uses its site to deliver personalized customer service throughout the ordering process, offering such features as 24-hour access to graphic designers that work with clients to bring their ideas to life.

“About 25% of our customers don’t know what they want in terms of design, so we offer design expertise and other options to develop the signage and logos they want for their store, event or booth,” says Nishant Shah, CEO and founder of BannerBuzz. “While we see ecommerce as a way to make ordering more efficient, we also want to be able to meet our customers’ design needs.”

In addition to working with designers, customers can access templates onto which they upload graphics and tools to create their own design, which can be reviewed by a designer.

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Moving beyond traditional sales reps

The myriad design tools BannerBuzz offers have eliminated the need for traditional sales representatives. Instead, the company has a staff of service agents manning its call center who specialize in specific areas of B2B sales support around the clock, seven days a week. For example, some agents handle only issues related to orders, others only design issues, and others just product questions. The company also has agents dedicated to servicing large clients, which Shah says tend to have a different set of needs than its smaller customers. BannerBuzz offers customer support via live chat as well.

“We can have a large client call up and ask if we can handle an order for 100 banners to be ready next day,” Shah says. “When that happens, we can direct them to the right person to handle their needs.”

Shah conceived of BannerBuzz about a decade ago while owner of a car wash. At the time, Shah regularly ordered banners and other signage for his business, but found the ordering process to be inefficient. One inefficiency was being limited to doing business with a print shop during their hours of operation, which was not always convenient with his schedule as a small business owner. As a result, Shah saw an opportunity to bring the ordering efficiency, convenience and flexibility of ecommerce to printing signage.

Signing up Boeing and Dunkin’

BannerBuzz’s approach to B2B ecommerce has helped it land several major clients including Dunkin’ Donuts, Boeing Co., and PetSmart Inc. Part of BannerBuzz’s work with Dunkin’ Donuts involves creating signage for franchisees. The company has also created signs for Boeing product launches.

When working with large clients that operate with franchises, such as Dunkin’ Donuts, BannerBuzz will create an online store where franchise owners can order materials for promotional, marketing or seasonal needs.

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“We also have signage shops that will send us their orders to be printed,” Shah says. “Ecommerce gives us a wider reach than we would have otherwise.”

More repeat orders

In addition to providing hi-touch customer service, BannerBuzz recently built its own web platform. Previously, the company ran on Magento ecommerce software. “We do a lot of back-end automation in-house so we have a team of developers and designers in-house capable of building what we need,” Shah says.

Another payoff from BannerBuzz’s ecommerce strategy is increased orders from repeat customers. Repeat customers BannerBuzz acquired in 2018 placed three more orders beyond their initial orders. In comparison, repeat customers acquired in 2015 placed two more orders. “Order value typically grows with each subsequent order,” Shah says.

Overall, BannerBuzz averages 1,000 orders per day. The company also expects its year-over-year sales to increase 50% in 2019, he says, without being more specific.

Looking ahead, Shah envisions BannerBuzz’s continuing to refine the customer experience on its website. The company is looking to expand its product offerings to include promotional items clients can use for marketing purposes at trade shows and making the customer experience more delightful, he says.

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