Getting Cozy with B2B: How Soak&Sleep Adapted to Grow B2B Sales By 200%
When B2C retailers begin to shift their focus to B2B eCommerce, there are a vast number of differences and unique challenges they need to overcome in order to appeal to the new market. Retailers must be prepared to cater to buyers who want to repeatedly purchase products in larger quantities and create long-lasting business relationships.
According to this Magento Live presentation, “By 2020, the US B2B eCommerce market is expected to be worth $1.1 trillion—twice the size of the US business-to-consumer (B2C) eCommerce market.” For this reason alone, eCommerce retailers can no longer afford to neglect the B2B marketplace. However, as Wagento proved with UK-based company Soak&Sleep, taking the right steps to “get cozy” with B2B can lead to massive increases in profits and online visibility.
Soak&Sleep has been recognized as the UK’s #1 online bed and bath brand for 2 years in a row, but this online-only retailer has rather humble beginnings. Charlie Hunt, the founder of the eCommerce store, wanted to give customers the best possible prices on pillows, duvets, and other bedroom accessories by manufacturing products and selling directly to customers. Hunt was able to offer common products up to 70% off other retailers’ prices by taking this B2C approach.
Another unique aspect of the small team at Soak&Sleep is that it aims to cater to a global market instead of focusing on its local region. As the retailer continued to grow, cross-border and international commerce became a major priority. With the tools and features provided by Magento 1, Soak&Sleep was able to meet the demands of consumers for a while, but they soon required a new solution to begin selling to interested B2B buyers.
Challenges of Adjusting to B2B
In recent years, Soak&Sleep recognized that their top 100 customers began shifting to include more and more B2B buyers. Demand for bulk products increased and selling to B2B customers around the world with the same efficiency and reliability as B2C customers started to pose a real challenge. The B2B market wanted the same advantages as they were accustomed to, along with the benefits that B2C buyers experience, such as great customer service and quick delivery.
When Soak&Sleep began to consider the B2B side of their transactions, they encountered a number of unforeseen challenges, including:
- Inventory management. When B2B customers would order dozens of the same product, it would deplete the inventory for the B2C side. Since Soak&Sleep manufactures its own products, it could take up to 6 months to replenish the inventory of certain items.
- User experience. “User experience was pretty poor in B2B functionalities,” admits Hunt. Prior to shifting to the B2B market, the website was specifically designed for B2C offerings.
- Member accounts. B2B members want to have a personal touch at the beginning of the relationship with the company they regularly order from. However, once that relationship is established, they want to have the ability to complete the transaction online, on their own.
- Customer service. B2C customers typically interact with customer service for post-purchase assistance, whereas B2B buyers usually want individual attention before they choose to buy from a retailer. Soak&Sleep actually split up their customer service teams to address these different customer needs.
In just 4 years, Soak&Sleep’s sales increased by over 3,000% in just the B2B side of their business. The company was able to target narrow, niche markets with the help of Magento 2’s B2B offerings, and they were able to get to market with minimal downtime. B2B customers were able to seamlessly order products and self-service their own accounts, and Soak&Sleep was soon able to ramp up production to meet demands.
Today, Magento 2 continues to help the online seller remain competitive, target specific customers, and create smooth user experiences. Both B2B and B2C customers are encouraged to create accounts after ordering for the first time so that Soak&Sleep can quickly recognize if a user has previously purchased from the site. Magento’s omnichannel functionalities allow the eCommerce retailer to target markets on numerous platforms and deliver consistent marketing campaigns, and the hundreds of extensions offered through the Magento Marketplace make integrating with other helpful business systems a breeze.
Transitioning to B2B can seem overwhelming at first, but Magento 2 can streamline your site’s performance to cater to all kinds of buyers. To get more information about the importance of B2B in the future, contact a Wagento developer to learn how your business can experience the same benefits of Soak&Sleep!
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