Here’s a wild fact: by 2030, the market size of B2B e-commerce is expected to triple to $18 trillion.
That’s a lot of dollars.
But that growth isn’t going to be evenly distributed. Some e-commerce companies are going to soar, while others are going to sink.
The companies that succeed are the ones who meet their customers where they need to be met, and provide their customers with features and personalization that they desire.
Today, 73% of customers use multiple channels before making their purchase, 66% of consumers expect brands to understand their unique needs, and 52% expect offers to always be personalized.
Omnichannel, the business strategy of creating a seamless buyer experience as the customer moves from channel to channel, is the prime way to meet this customer demand and to get your slice of that explosive B2B e-commerce growth.
But – executing your omnichannel strategy is easier said than done. A bad omnichannel strategy, one that leaves your customers confused or frustrated, can end up doing more harm than good.
To execute a great omnichannel strategy, you need to know what to avoid.
That’s why we’re here.
We’ve put together a simple guide: 5 reasons why omnichannel strategies fail.
By the end of this guide, you’ll know what common omnichannel missteps you need to avoid in order to create a seamless customer experience across all your channels.
Let’s get going.
Your omnichannel strategy is failing: here’s why
We’ve compiled five of the most common reasons why your omnichannel strategy might be failing. Take a look below to discover why your omnichannel strategy is failing to connect with your consumers.
1: You can’t sync your data across channels
Multichannel refers to a company using multiple, independent channels to reach their customers, while omnichannel refers to a holistic, unified customer experience across all channels.
In omnichannel, the channels “talk to each other.” In multichannel, they do not.
Syncing that data across channels is what makes omnichannel soar. When you cannot sync data, you wind up with customer frustrations and buyer headaches.
Here’s an example:
Your customer, Lily, has placed an order via email for 400 purple plastic purses. She doesn’t want to pay the invoice via check; she’d rather just pay it online with a credit card. However, when she logs into her customer portal, her invoice isn’t there. In fact, none of her email orders are on her customer portal – she only has access to the orders she made online.
Lily is frustrated. Next time, she may buy her 400 purple plastic purses from someone else.
With an omnichannel experience, this data is synced across channels. When Lily logs into her customer portal, she sees all of her orders and invoices – from all the channels she uses.
2: Your customer service is lacking
When it comes to omnichannel, customer service is a hurdle you need to clear with eyes open.
88% of consumers say they’ve stopped doing business with a company because of a poor customer experience.
Customers want to have seamless customer service communications across channels. Yet, 61% are not able to easily switch from one channel to another while interacting with customer service.
This leads to repetitive messaging, as frustrated customers bring new customer service agents up to speed. Eventually, buyers can get so frustrated that they’ll switch companies.
Poor customer service leads to:
- repetitive emssaging
- frustrated customers
The challenge for a growing company becomes integrating all these different customer service channels into one unified system.
The danger is in siloeing your customer service reps.
It may be tempting to have dedicated reps for each channel, but this leads to siloed and compartmentalized data, which is the opposite of what we want: a unified customer experience.
To solve this, consider using a unified omnichannel customer service solution that houses all of your customer service messages in one place. This saves you time and improves your performance on every single channel.
These efforts pay dividends.
Companies that use omnichannel customer engagement strategies see a retention rate of 89%, whereas companies that do not use these strategies retain 33% their customers.
It’s critical that companies build out the right support infrastructure to be able to engage with customers and solve their problems quickly and efficiently.
3: Your prices are not consistent
Buyers are savvy.
74% of B2B shoppers conduct an online search on multiple platforms for at least half their purchases. If they find a product they like, they’ll check a few stores to find the best price.
Who among us hasn’t done this? I’ve even reverse-image searched pieces of furniture (companies change product names from channel to channel) to find the best price.
Who wants to spend $600 on a table when you can get the same table for $400 somewhere else?
As a B2B seller, you need to sync your prices so that they remain competitive and consistent across channels. Customers become frustrated if they find a sudden price drop on one channel, after having bought the product on another.
Similarly, if customers discover that your channels frequently have un-synced prices, they may question the quality of your products or migrate to a channel with the lowest prices.
While some omnichannel strategies will purposefully lower prices on certain channels (such as in-house e-commerce), and raise prices on other channels (like marketplaces to make up for 3rd party fees), most of the time these price inconsistencies are not deliberate and are not productive.
An easy solution to price inconsistency is to integrate your channels (e-commerce, marketplace, email, etc) with your ERP. By making your ERP the brains of your business, you create one centralized database that controls the pricing across all your channels.
4: Your channels are in conflict
Customers are interacting with brands across a whole array of channels:
Each of these channels is an opportunity to not only make a sale, but also to build customer loyalty. As we’ve already discussed, the hallmark of omnichannel is in providing a seamless customer experience as a customer moves from channel to channel.
To do this, you know you need to sync your data, you know you have to align your customer service. But you also need to examine the structure of the channels themselves.
Sure, you may have a channel manager for each channel you deploy, but do you have an omnichannel manager who is uniting these channels?
Without an omnichannel manager, it’s easy for your channel managers to silo their channels off from each other. Each channel may end up with its own goals, and these goals may be in conflict with each other.
To avoid this, you need to have a manager or a team dedicated to unifying these channels. If that’s not feasible, then these channels need to work together to create cross-channel goals to keep your omnichannel experience running smoothly.
5: You’re not integrating your e-commerce with your ERP
A lot of the problems we mentioned boil down to one thing — the wrong software. A PwC survey found that the greatest challenges for omnichannel retailers were inefficient legacy systems (21%) and tools that are difficult to integrate (20%).
If vendors want to increase efficiency and customer satisfaction while reducing costs, then they need to make their ERP their single source of truth – and they need their e-commerce to integrate directly with their ERP.
With integrated e-commerce, your e-commerce portal pulls pricing, invoices, inventory, and order updates directly from your ERP in real-time – providing transparency and accuracy to your B2B buyers.
With decentralized and unintegrated software, each process takes longer, teams have to work harder to fetch data and close out customer tickets, and customer satisfaction suffers as a result.
At the heart of all of these omnichannel strategy failures is one element: lack of unity.
Whether it is data inaccuracy, pricing inconsistency, customer service woes, or channel conflict – all of these failures arise from the same problem – a decentralized and unintegrated experience.
Solving each omnichannel strategy failing requires centralizing and integrating your data. Companies that don’t sync data across channels and don’t integrate their channels with their ERP create disorganized and frustrating experiences for their customers. Frustrated customers are more likely to churn, meaning revenue loss.
Omnichannel is a powerful tool. Implemented properly, it creates a seamless buying experience that builds customer loyalty.
Implemented poorly, it can drive customers away. To make sure your omnichannel experience drives loyalty, focus on centralizing and integrating your channels and processes into a single source of truth.
Ready to learn how to solve the biggest omnichannel challenges facing your B2B business? Read our guide to get the scoop on creating an omnichannel strategy that will build success.