One simple way to promote self-service ecommerce and also keep sales reps involved is through customized online product lists, speakers said during the B2B track at IRCE @ RetailX.

“Wish lists” are common on ecommerce sites as a way to incite interest and purchase anticipation among buyers—and provide a ready source of ideas when someone’s ready to make a purchase.

The lists are ubiquitous on retail sites, but they can work wonders on B2B sites as well, where they can benefit both customers and sales reps, Justin Racine, director of marketing and ecommerce at distributor Geriatric Medical and Surgical Supply Inc., and Karie Daudt, senior commerce consultant at agency Perficient Digital, said during the B2B track at the IRCE @ RetailX conference last week.

Racine said that specialized lists that Geriatric Medical has developed have been a major generator of revenue, helping to ease the buying process for customers while also helping to put sales reps in a position to bring more value to customers when they need assistance. “They’ve been a No. 1 driving-revenue source by far,” he said.

Keeping customers in compliance

Racine gave as an example the “formulary” lists Geriatric Medical has developed on its ecommerce site, GeriatricMedical.com, for its client nursing homes. Formulary lists are designed to keep the distributor’s clients in compliance the list of medicines and other medical products approved by a client’s on-site professional medical team, typically as set by a director of nursing.

The online formulary lists are designed so that, if a client places an order for products not on the approved list, a Geriatric Medical sales rep will receive an alert, then contact the client to advise of the order discrepancy. That results in an accurate order that keeps the client in compliance with its list of approved products, and provides the sales rep an opportunity to build its relationship with the customer and possibly recommend other products it may need to purchase, Racine said.

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It helps the sales reps to shift away from being just order “takers” to act as order “creators” based on their ability to respond to customers’ needs, he added.

“The reality is you need to put the customer at the center,” because the customer drives the sales journey, Daudt said.

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