B2B eCommerce: Here’s What Every B2B Company Needs to Know

B2B customers need seamless user experiences and top-notch branding just like B2C customers.

B2B eCommerce, when compared to the B2C industry, is projected to be two times bigger than B2C in 2020. In fact, it’s anticipated to be the area of largest eCommerce growth from 2020 to 2025.

That means BIG things for B2B marketing are on the horizon. Merit claims that 73 percent of B2B buyers today are Millennials, who prefer buying online—this is a large part of why B2B eCommerce growth has occurred at such lightning speed.

According to the latest publication from Meticulous Research, the global e-commerce market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.1 percent from 2018 to 2025, reaching $24,265.12 billion by 2025.

This can be attributed to factors including:

  • Rising mobile and internet penetration
  • Technological advances such as big data and cloud-based e-commerce platforms
  • Advanced shipping and payment options
  • Rise in disposable incomes.

The Push for Amazon Businessmazon Business is the B2B marketplace on Amazon, providing business customers with the pricing, selection, and convenience of Amazon, with features and benefits designed for businesses of all sizes.

Best Registered Agent Services Of 2021

It’s designed to make purchasing easy and cost-effective by combining Amazon’s familiar one-stop shopping with quantity discounts, price comparisons, approval workflows, and multi-user accounts.

Its competitive annual membership program means that, similar to Prime members, Amazon Business members get perks including free two-day shipping. It also includes business-tailored features, such as multi-user business accounts, approval workflow, payment solutions, tax exemptions, dedicated customer support, and more.

How B2B Brands Build Relationships with Clients and UsersAs retailers become more selective in choosing the brands they want to carry, B2B sites must give brands the platform to not only sell the products they offer but promote the image they’ve built.

So how can you engage the majority of consumers—whether B2B or B2C—with a straightforward marketing strategy? Here are five steps to take which, if implemented over time and with consistency, can help you reach success.

1. Create A Blog About Your Niche

Your eCommerce store is for other business people. They want information that will help them make rational decisions. When you create a blog for your niche, you’re supporting your community while also gaining valuable SEO.

2. High-Quality Backlinks: Reach Out To Develop B2B Connections And Content

Backlinks, or links from other pages leading back to your website, help build your web page’s authority within your domain. They’re also an excellent B2B marketing strategy for eCommerce pages.

3. Establish an E-Commerce SEO Strategy For Your B2B eCommerce Store: Optimize Your URLs

This is a key part of telling both humans and search engines what to expect to find on the page. Good URLs are related to the page they represent, and are essential for good user metrics.

4. Improve Site Speed: B2B Clients Get Impatient Too

People hate to wait for an eCommerce page to load. Whether you’ve got a B2C or B2B page, you need to do everything you can to deliver a speedy experience—otherwise, you’ll be losing business by the second.

5. Set Goals For Your B2B Ecommerce Site And Track With Analytics

On average, B2B clients do more research than B2B consumers because they are making business decisions. Understand what your clients need and offer them the services that will make finding business opportunities easier for them.

Learn to Support Brands in B2B EcommerceEven in B2B, your brand matters! You’ve got to act like a B2C while operating as a B2B in order to generate demand, build better relationships, and ultimately drive sales. Here are four key branding factors to consider that B2B often forget.

Constant Consumer Communication

Manufacture demand by communicating all the time, not just in high season for your industry or high buying times in the calendar year. This includes utilizing all social media channels and keeping them updated with fresh content.

User Experience

Oftentimes, B2B sites don’t consider their user experience a high priority, which can affect how often retailers frequent and use their portal. Just as consumers prefer websites with engaging content, graphics, and character, online ordering portals can and should offer more than just utilitarian lists of SKUs.

Optimize for Mobile

Millennials are picking up the B2B eCommerce market and want it on the go. B2C sites recognize this and are constantly optimizing their websites across desktop, tablet, and mobile. This should be no different for B2B sites.

Brand Story

Provide the same ability for buyers to learn about brands. Enabling brands to share their stories is a crucial part of the wholesale process, both for selling to new buyers and strengthening relationships with existing buyers.

Top B2B Platforms, Technologies, and FunctionalitiesSelecting a shopping platform is the foundation of any eCommerce business operation. Most of the leading platforms are not industry-specific, and all of them competently provide core shopping cart, payment, shipping, and store management features.

For B2B, choosing the right eCommerce platform is not a decision to be taken lightly.

Some big names are always popping up like Magento, Shopify, Enterprise, and BigCommerce. When looking at the array of options, it is important to ask yourself if they have the following:

  • Mobile Compatibility—More and more B2B decision-makers are using their mobile devices to search for solutions. Not being mobile-friendly can prove costly today.
  • Compliance—The platform should be able to accommodate GDPR, ADA, and other mandatory user privacy and accessibility guidelines that are in effect today.
  • B2B eCommerce Functionality—Your B2B eCommerce platform should ideally have b2b eCommerce functionality features directed at B2B buyers like bulk ordering and pricing, account management, and multiple shipping/payment capabilities.
  • Optimal User Experience—The user should have a customizable marketplace template to choose from to create an intuitive and user-friendly experience.
  • 24/7 Availability—Unlike the traditional method where clients need to wait for your response, eCommerce platforms are always open for business.
  • Marketing functionality—With more and more online searches being made via web and mobile, SEO-optimized eCommerce platforms boost your visibility.
  • Automation and Machine Learning—Humans are error-prone. Automated platforms offer a consistent solution.
  • Customer Communications—Not only does the client get an instant response, but he can also select their desired product/s with just a few clicks.

The predominance of B2B eCommerce means that B2B businesses must improve and simplify their shopping journey, channeling the B2C ordering experience. However, the B2B shopping experience is a lot more complicated than that of a B2C customer.

Because of the nature of the transaction, B2B buyers usually need to go through various steps, including sales representative interaction, negotiations, and approvals before they can make a successful purchase.

That’s why it’s crucial for B2B eCommerce businesses to provide a more seamless transaction, building in advanced functionality to their sites for quote management, price negotiation, easy ordering, and inventory management.

Consider hiring the right experts to manage your platforms as B2Bs have enough to consider with running their businesses. Custom programming, development, and functionality require consistent and careful planning, strategy, and great execution.

There are even companies that create custom functionality projects for any eCommerce platform such as Volusion, Bigcommerce, Shopify, 3DCart, Americommerce, Magento, Netsuite, Ecwid, Bigcartel, Zencart, Virtuemart, Prestashop, CoreCommerce, WooCommerce, WordPress, OSCommerce, Infusionsoft, Podio and X-Cart.

If you’ve been told that a certain functionality is not possible, it’s worth getting a second opinion. Even for mobile, your eCommerce store needs to in top shape to convert the sale. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be ready for the next wave of B2B eCommerce growth opportunities.

Shama Hyder is the founder & CEO of Zen Media, an award-winning marketing & PR agency for tech-driven b2b firms.

Source: B2B eCommerce: Here’s What Every B2B Company Needs to Know

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How Social Media Has Changed How We Consume News

It’s the age of “fake news” and gone are the days of waiting for the morning news for breaking stories or reading gossip magazines for the latest celebrity dirt. We now have all the information we need at the touch of an app and most people now get their news information online, specifically from social media.

Social media has become the main source of news online with more than 2.4 billion internet users, nearly 64.5 percent receive breaking news from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram instead of traditional media.

In a recent survey, 50 percent of Internet users surveyed said that they hear about the latest news via social media before ever hearing about it on a news station. Many internet users will see the breaking stories on their feed and go to the news sites to learn more. The survey found 57 percent increase in traffic to news sites referred from social media.

However, there has been a decrease in how much of an article that people read. Most people will just scroll through their newsfeed and stumble upon relevant news content but just read the headlines or a short video clip of the piece. An average visitor will only read an article for 15 seconds or less and the average video watch time online is 10 seconds.

However, social platforms have a control over what news and information we see. Our social media friends have become the “managing editors” deciding what we see. An article needs to be “liked” and shared multiple times before many people see it in their feed. Therefore social media and your social friends have control over what news pieces you see and what you do not.

There are also many “fake news” websites that compete for attention with sensational headlines and ridiculous storylines that tend to get shared more often due to the lack of readers fact checking or reading more than the headline. That means that authentic content is hard to come by now. In fact, fake news is actually more likely to spread than the truth.

Also, timely and sensational news does better like Buzzfeed who has 17.2 million subscribers. Content needs to be shareable and likable so often times it is overly exaggerated for social. Brands can pay more to appear in news feeds and get noticed. While syndication is nothing new, it is more prevalent in social media with so much information allowed to be given at once and 24/7.News happens fast now.

Today’s story will be tomorrow’s forgotten story. It is easy to miss things now because of how quick stories can get turned around and shared. While having so much information at our fingertips is great, it is worth always checking sources and not taking headlines as truth. With social media as our new news managers, it is up to us to be the new fact checkers for media.

Source: How Social Media Has Changed How We Consume News

Critics by MailChimp

When looking at what constitutes “fake news” and how it gets shared on social media, there are two kinds of false information to be aware of—misinformation and disinformation. Researchers at Indiana University found these two types of information often go viral because “information overload and users’ finite attention span limit the capacity of social media to discriminate information on the basis of quality.”

Because social media is a public platform, anyone—including news outlets—can post anything without being accountable for fact-checking. It’s left to users to distinguish misinformation vs. disinformation in their feeds.

What differentiates misinformation from disinformation is the intent of the person or outlet sharing it. In the previously cited study from Indiana University, misinformation is classified as “false or misleading content including hoaxes, conspiracy theories, fabricated reports, click-bait headlines, and even satire.” Misinformation is not deliberately intended to deceive. Instead, it aims to shape or change public opinion on a given topic.

Disinformation can be spread using many of the same tactics as misinformation—hoaxes, click-bait, fabricated reports. Disinformation is created to deceive. Chadwick and Vaccari’s study found that 24.8% of their respondents shared a news story they either thought was made up when they saw it or knew was exaggerated.

There are a variety of reasons that individuals’ social media accounts or even business accounts might spread disinformation. It could be to increase their social media marketing effectiveness, boost their online traffic, build more followers for their page or business, incite an emotional response, or create a distraction.

Disinformation can be dangerous on social media because, as previously mentioned, the sheer amount of information there and the length of readers’ attention spans can allow it to go unchecked.

Combating fake news on social media comes down to understanding the goals of fellow posters and of the platform itself. Social media platforms make money by selling user datato ad companies, which is why you’ll often see ads tailored to your interests or search history.

This is important to know for context. As an individual, being aware that the news you see on your feed is filtered based on previously collected data can help you be more conscious of your own inherent bias. If you represent a business using social media as a marketing platform, it’s important to keep your posts consistent with your brand, and share things on your timeline that build customer relationships, line up with your values, or showcase original content.

Fake news on social media may be unavoidable. But you can help stop the spread by thinking critically. Maintain a healthy level of curiosity for what you read on your feed, understand how social media platforms curate what you see, and use investigative practices often. Social media is a powerful tool, for both businesses and individuals, when approached with appropriate intent and consideration.

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Cultivating a Home Yoga Practice

Do your yoga students hunger to build a home practice but struggle to stick with one? Sustaining a regular home yoga practice can be challenging even for the most loyal yoga enthusiasts. But practicing independently—as a complement to learning from a skilled teacher—offers a variety of advantages that make it well worth the effort. Find out why a home practice can benefit your students, how you can encourage them to create the space for it, and what will help them get on the mat every day.

Benefits of a Home Practice

Self-discovery. Learning from a skilled teacher is essential for any yoga student, but classes can be full and are sometimes fast-paced. A self-initiated, self-led home practice is an opportunity to enhance body awareness and sensitivity, shedding light on misalignments that might go unnoticed in the studio.

Of course, a good instructor looks out for imbalances and limitations in practitioners, but students who work at their own pace often learn to recognize a physical limitation (such as a tight hip) or an inefficient movement pattern for themselves. One student might realize she puts too much weight on her wrists or slightly bends her right elbow in downward-facing dog. Another might discover that opening his shoulders is far easier for him than opening his hips.

These moments of awareness are important because they inform future yoga practice and enhance students’ knowledge of their bodies and themselves. By applying what they learn through self-discovery, practitioners can challenge their physical edge or correct a muscular weakness. Regular attendance at a studio will yield these same benefits, but they are enhanced during home practice.

A tailored approach. Independent practitioners decide which poses they’ll do and what they want emphasize. Let’s say a student with flexible hamstrings and tight quadriceps attends a weekly yoga class that often focuses on stretching the hamstrings. During her home practice, she can even out her program (and her body) by incorporating more poses that open the quadriceps.

Skill refinement. Home practice provides a terrific opportunity for students to reinforce setup or alignment cues they’ve learned in class. With diligent work, they will refine those skills and begin to store the information in their long-term memory.

Motivation Matters

When class participants ask you about starting a home practice, it is important to understand why that matters to them and what might be holding them back. Ask open-ended questions, such as, “What appeals to you about starting a home practice?” and “What gets in the way of rolling out your mat once you’re home?” When you have this information, you can talk through the situation and help your clients achieve the outcome they want.

Remember that for any person to adhere to any behavior, there needs to be a strong motivational factor for doing that behavior. If cultivating a home practice is something your clients think they should do, but not something they truly care about, they will not be motivated to start, and you may need to address that.

Explore this further by asking questions like “Where did your desire to start a home yoga practice begin?” and “How does starting a home practice relate to who you want to be?” This will help your clients talk about why they want to engage in the behavior versus why they should commit to it.

If motivation is not the issue, and the problem lies in the home environment, then practical solutions can help students overcome common barriers.

Home Practice Solutions

Set the space. A common barrier to home practice is the array of distractions that vie for clients’ attention. These might be objects in the environment (like TV, computers or dirty dishes) or even family members. To win the commitment struggle, it will be important for your clients to “set the space” where they plan to practice.

This could mean moving furniture to the side of a room, creating a permanent yoga space in their home, or using visual or auditory cues to make their environment more conducive to yoga. For example, clients could leverage music to set the mood, even creating a yoga playlist to provide a relaxing environment.

Encourage clients to remove any distracting objects from their line of vision: a laundry basket filled with clothes to be washed, or pieces of mail on the counter, for instance. Recommend setting the space in the morning before work, so clients are ready to go once they get home. And urge them to ask family members to respect the space so that practice can unfold without verbal or behavioral interruptions.

Create a schedule. Your clients will need to figure out a routine that will work for them, whether that means practicing when they first get home, when they get up in the morning or during a lunch break at work. Encourage them to use phone reminders or social support to keep them on schedule.

Avoiding conflict with mealtimes is best, but if clients have to postpone a meal, recommend they eat snacks throughout the day to eliminate large gaps between meals. They should negotiate with family members or housemates, asking them to play music more softly or take kids to another room until the session is over.

Modify or even discard time requirements. Another barrier is thinking the activity needs to last a certain length of time. Some clients might assume they must practice for 90 minutes (as they often do in their yoga class) for the session to matter. For many people, the idea of practicing for that long either before or after work can be daunting, so they may never start.

Help your clients set a realistic and manageable duration goal so that they can succeed. That said, remind them to watch what they’re telling themselves about the length of time they practice. For some, falling short of their goal might mean failure, which could sabotage their long-term adherence. If you notice this tendency in clients, recommend they shift their mindset and recognize value in any amount of practice. Even 10 minutes of yoga can produce an array of benefits.

Let go of expectations. The next barrier to adhering to a regular home yoga practice is pre-existing expectations about what the practice should look like: How many poses should it include? How challenging should they be? These should can get in the way, so help your clients let go of expectations and allow themselves to be present to what feels right in the moment.

Remind them that practicing only a handful of poses can be helpful and that they don’t need to do an advanced sequence for the practice to make a difference. A home yoga practice might be restorative poses one day and a more vigorous flow practice the next, and that’s okay. The practice can be different every time, since a regular yoga practice will ebb and flow based on energy levels, muscular tension, interpersonal stress, and nutritional and sleep habits.

Seek out helpful resources when choosing poses. Last but not least, your clients may find choosing poses difficult when they practice at home. Encourage them to start by practicing their favorite ones first and then add in different or more challenging options over time. Yoga books, online videos or yoga websites might prompt ideas. Suggest that clients keep these helpful resources near their mat while they practice so they can refer to them if they feel unsure about what to do next.

Home Yoga Matters

Regardless of the barriers your clients face, there are ways to help them achieve the benefits they want from a regular home yoga practice. Find out as much as you can about their motivation and help them dismantle environmental barriers. Working together, you can find the solution that will allow their home practice to thrive.

HELPFUL TIPS AND PROPS FOR HOME YOGA PRACTICE

These pointers may seem basic to you, but they can help students get a home practice up and running:

  • Always practice on a mat. It will help you avoid slipping, especially while holding downward-facing dog or warrior poses.
  • Place your yoga mat on a hard, even surface. Practicing on carpet is not recommended, as it affects weight distribution in the hands during weight-bearing poses, and this can lead to wrist pain. Practicing on carpet can also affect balance in standing poses.
  • Have a minimum of two thicker yoga blocks (either cork or foam) to support yourself in seated or standing poses.
  • Aim to have at least one yoga strap. If a strap is not available, use a resistance band instead.
  • If possible, use a woven yoga blanket for support when needed (e.g., to cushion the knee in lunges). A thicker home blanket that’s easily folded provides a good alternative.

By:

Source: Cultivating a Home Yoga Practice – IDEA Health & Fitness Association

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Has Digital Killed Traditional Advertising and Media

Digital technology has changed our world. It has altered how we access news, entertainment and information, our work patterns, and our communication channels. How we buy and sell.

So, as digital advertising and media continue to grow, have their traditional forms become redundant?…Let’s talk…

Simon Cheng, Marketing Director, Menulog

“No, I don’t think digital has killed traditional advertising. They are not mutually exclusive concepts. Digital complements traditional, as each plays their own role. Traditional will always be important for mass reach objectives and brand building. While, digital is great for performance and driving incremental brand growth through more targeted reach.

“At Menulog, we are a technology business however we invest a lot in traditional channels – TV, outdoor and radio – because they are still some of the most effective avenues for capturing the attention of mass audiences. Equally, we also invest heavily in performance media, using search and social to convert demand. After all, there’s no point investing in creating demand if you are not then capturing it or driving engagement.

“As the world of media continues to become more fragmented, advertising and communication channels need to reflect how consumers want to consume content. Marketers shouldn’t over complicate things. It’s the right message, right place, right time. The channels that fit naturally against your objectives, are those to go with.

Andrew Cornale, Co-Founder and Technical Director, UnDigital

“Digital marketing is certainly more readily accessible than traditional advertising and I would argue that it has overtaken traditional marketing in many senses, but has digital killed traditional advertising? No.

“Traditional advertising still has its place. We see successful campaigns using traditional advertising all the time. However, I’d argue that its high price point and specialised skill set makes it less accessible to the everyday business. For many businesses, digital advertising is more affordable, scalable and targeted. Plus, it’s easier to map ROI against a digital campaign where sales can be mapped directly to it.

“To me, digital marketing is a smarter strategy because decisions are backed by data with less guesswork and, generally speaking, there are just more opportunities to find customers online. If one day, we do see the death of traditional advertising, I’d say digital marketing certainly had a hand in it, but it’s not necessarily holding the murder weapon.”

Yasinta Widjojo, Senior Marketing Manager, Pin Payments

“There’s no doubt that marketing and advertising have changed dramatically in the last 10 years, alongside the advancements of technology and the internet.

“While traditional advertising relied on methods such as TV ads, billboards and print journalism, digital advertising has superseded these methods with algorithms that enable marketers to find and sell to their key audiences. Technology has opened the door to endless possibilities, when it comes to advertising, but with changes come challenges.

“Consumers are battling against a barrage of online noise, through their email inboxes, social media accounts and websites. No platform is left unturned, making creating genuine authenticity with your customers much harder.

“Interestingly enough, the feeling of digital numbness that has come alongside the pandemic, has led some customers back to traditional advertising. The pandemic has seen a rise in guerrilla advertising that harnesses both the digital and physical world, using billboards, posters or graffiti that can be scanned by a smartphone.

“As society adjusts to using their smartphones for COVID-19 check-ins or QR codes, modern marketing which amalgamates both old and new advertising methods, is being embraced. Traditional advertising isn’t dead, it’s had a system upgrade with the help of digital.”

Adam Boote, Director of Digital and Growth, Localsearch

“Changing consumer behaviours in a tech-savvy society have significantly impacted the way advertising is created and consumed. Millennials and Gen Zs are far more influenced by digital media – 49% of TikTok users purchase a product or service after seeing it on the app, and 60% of Millennials admit their purchasing decisions are influenced by what they see on Facebook.

“We’re now seeing a big wave of consumers, including small businesses, turn to digital after weighing up not only print, but broadcast advertising. Although free-to-air TV viewership is increasing with more people at home, its key objective is generating brand awareness – so you may or may not receive immediate action from viewers. Online, you can target audiences with far greater demographic accuracy, targeting the people most relevant to you and guiding them through to where you want them to go.

“For SMBs who don’t have thousands to spend on TV ads, nailing your SEO and digital presence is far more cost-effective.

“However you decide to integrate digital with traditional, when consumers do remember your business and need your product or service, you want them to be able to go online and find you. Fast and easy.”

Cary Lockwood, chief executive officer, Loyalty Now

“Traditional media and advertising still have parts to play in the cultural zeitgeist, but the real question is: are they as effective in engaging audiences as their digital counterparts?

“Traditional advertising operates by conveying a broad message to a broad audience. However, in today’s hyperlocalised economy, consumers want their individual voices heard by merchants who offer solutions tailored to their unique interests and behaviours.

“This growing customer expectation, coupled with a need for business transparency, is one of the reasons experts anticipate some digital advertising methods to become obsolete soon. This is particularly evident in the current phase-out of third-party cookies ahead of 2022.

“Instead of investing in broader advertising avenues, businesses must embrace targeted partnerships with platforms that boast highly engaged audiences, and that also let merchants leverage hyperpersonalisation to better engage their consumers. This will lead to more committed return customers whose buying power outweighs surface-level interactions with disengaged buyers.”

Simon McDonald, Regional Vice President Optimizely

“Digital platforms have revolutionised advertising. Traditional mediums lock advertising into one-way communication, whereas digital platforms provide two-way interactive capabilities. Businesses can now customise advertising to personalise any brand experience and utilise real-time metrics to monitor their campaign’s success.

“Digital advertising is constantly evolving, and so is consumer behaviour. Organisations need to embed a culture of test and learn across all of their digital strategies, allowing businesses to quickly respond and evolve with the industry and consumer trends. While traditional advertising is still around, it is always best as part of a larger digital multichannel marketing campaign that can evolve and respond to consumer behaviour.”

Nicole Schulz, Brand Reputation Practice Lead, Sefiani Communications Group

“In a time of increasing misinformation and disinformation online, traditional media has played a vital role in delivering timely, factual and credible information to Australians. The Digital News Report 2021 found that in Australia, trust in news has risen to 43%. As Australians turned to public broadcasters for critical news over the past 18 months, trust in traditional news brands has remained high. In contrast, 64% of Australians are concerned about false and misleading information online. Roy Morgan research found that TV is regarded as the most trusted source of news, nominated by nearly 7 million Australians.

“However, the same research also found that the internet is now Australia’s main source of news. There is no doubt that Australian audiences at large are continuing to shift away from traditional towards digital platforms for news but the credibility and trust attached to traditional new publishers remains paramount. To thrive in the future, traditional media will need to continue to evolve its multi-channel offering to suit and serve diverse and segmented audiences.”

Clare Loewenthal

 

By: Clare Loewenthal

Source: Let’s Talk: Has digital killed traditional advertising and media? – Dynamic Business

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