Is Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) right for your B2B company?

Fear galvanizes change, and there’s nothing scarier than suddenly losing access to your customers. That’s why many B2B businesses are now adding D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) to their marketing strategy, serving customers directly online.
With a D2C business model, manufacturers get an opportunity to introduce omnichannel selling channels, enhance the buyer’s digital user experience, offer tailor-made products to the end customers, track online consumer behavior, and collect direct feedback.
The lines between B2B and B2C are blurring more and more by the day. The buyer expectations have been heavily influenced by B2C experiences, raising the bar for B2B companies. According to a McKinsey study in 2021, 90% of B2B buyers would turn to a competitor if a supplier’s digital channel couldn’t keep up with their needs. B2B customers now expect to be able to go online to find your complete range of products and the most detailed, valid information. The same study found that 81% of consumers expect more self-service options, while 40% of businesses think they have enough. Companies that focus on improving self-service by adding interactive experiences like visual product configuration will capture more leads and more market share.

As you evaluate your company’s approach to incorporating a D2C strategy into your overall marketing, realize that according to McKinsey, 80 percent of B2B companies are investing in their online channels to be as good or better than their offline ones. Our Smithy platform was developed to improve and streamline digital channels by bringing manufacturers catalogs to life with immersive visual product configuration. These self-service experiences create virtual brand experiences, drive more lead generation and grow revenues. Smithy also improves existing sales channels by enhancing face to face selling opportunities for reps, dealers, and distributors.

Photo by Yan Krukov

Leverage your investment in CAD files to build interest, sales and revenue.

B2B and B2C product companies have untapped revenue in their existing CAD files. are leveraging these files to generate interest for their products and develop leads by allowing access to them by buyers on their websites.

By visualizing and sharing your CAD files, potential customers can include your components earlier in their design cycles.

Having a visual product configurator on your website is proven to keep customers on your site longer and is key to return visits. And by giving buyers the power to customize your product through adding accessories or other options and seeing them in real time, the average cost per order increases. Customers also feel more informed with the addition of dynamic pricing. As customers customize products, they see the price reflect these changes in real time, building trust while giving more control to the buyer. You can see dynamic pricing by interacting with this configurator experience.

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The top benefits of Product Customization for online buyers.

Competitive advantage over companies that don’t offer customization.

According to SmarterHQ, 80% of frequent shoppers only purchase from brands that offer customized experiences. So what better way to set yourself apart from the competition than to offer a visual product customization experience?

Better customer experience.

According to Gartner, a great customer experience highly increases the customers’ intent to purchase. By giving customers the opportunity to visually customize your products in real-time, and see the pricing change as they add or remove options, truly empowers them to control their buyers journey.

It builds customer loyalty and retention.

When brands hand greater control over to their customers, it builds affinity for these brands according to a recent Accenture study. Site data also shows that when customers take advantage of product customization experiences, they spend more time on the site and are much more likely to make return visits. Another aspect driving brand affinity, is the ability to share visuals of their product creations through social media. Buy including it on their platforms, and getting feedback from their friends and family, the intent to buy increases and the brand gets additional exposure.

Speed up the sales cycle.

The overall result of a product configurator experience is the acceleration of the buying process from awareness, to consideration to purchase. With the customer in charge of the customization, the order accuracy improves dramatically, lowering returns and increasing customer satisfaction. To learn more about how Smithy can accelerate your sales cycle or request a platform demo.

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Make your customer a product designer.

Allowing your customers to customize products in real time gives them power.

A customizable experience, like a product configurator, invites customers to research in a new immersive way. Instead of salespeople spending loads of time with them, going over every detail and seeing every angel, they can do it themselves. It empowers them to be in charge of their own sales journey and sets your company apart from competitors that don’t offer this experience. Implementing a 2D or 3D product configurator enables your customer to experiment and visualize various features and components. They get to interact with the product, giving them a brand experience which increases confidence and trust. This give customers a hands on visual experience instead of reading infographics or ordering a catalog, transforming them from a passive visitor to an active product designer.

To learn more about our product configurator platform, click here.

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Top 3 things to keep in mind for better ecommerce experiences

1. Load speed wins

Waiting for a web page to load may not seem an obvious contributor to a poor experience, but slow loading pages physically restrain consumers from moving on to the next steps in the buying process. In fact, a 2022 study by Portent found the difference in conversion rates between blazing fast sites and slow sites is dramatic. A site that loads in 1 second has a conversion rate 5x higher than a site that loads in 10 seconds. The same study found that 40% of visitors will abandon a site after a 4 second delay, and for consumers using mobile devices, 76% said that slow load times was the biggest reason they abandoned ecommerce sites. So when adding immersive experiences, like videos or visual product configurators, choose your platforms wisely and go with one built for speed. Smithy is built for speed. Find out more here.

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Full-service vs. DIY

Are you contemplating adding a visual product configurator experience to your website or other digital channels?

There are 3 approaches to consider: bespoke, off-the-shelf, and full-service platform (which falls in between bespoke and off-the-shelf).

Bespoke means building the platform from scratch. This is the closest guarantee that what will be built will meet your exact needs. However, this will take a great deal of time, effort, and expense. We can still go this route for you, but we do not find many instances where this is the best long-term solution to go with.

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