transforming B2B commerce with PIM

Whether you’ve been selling online for years or are just getting started, there is always room to optimize online conversions to drive more revenue.

harness digital commerce to thrive now

e-commerce adoption has skyrocketed for both B2C and B2B because of COVID-19

With more than three quarters of B2B buyers and sellers preferring digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions, the online shift is most likely permanent. What else has changed? Digital commerce is now the primary revenue channel for B2B buyers even for big ticket items.

Whether you’ve been selling online for years or are just getting started, there is always room to optimize online conversions to drive more revenue. With the lines between B2C and B2B marketing strategies continuing to blur, look to your B2C counterparts for inspiration to engage buyers. Need ideas? Check out the latest blog 3 B2C ideas to enhance your B2B commerce strategy.

In essence, to drive more revenue, it’s all about creating that stellar customer experience for buyers. Of course, depending on your tech stack, team competencies, and organizational readiness your tactics may vary. A good place to start is optimizing what you have. Check that your content is eye-catching enough to stop the infinite online scroll. Improve every engagement from being found via search engines to adding post-purchase communications. Embrace the limitless possibilities of digital commerce through the people, process, and technology that power it.

Where to start? Leverage a foundational e-commerce technology, with a product information management (PIM) solution to build on. Find out why starting a digital transformation with a PIM solution makes sense.

how to sell online in 2021

If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that agility can make the difference between surviving and thriving in business. Many organizations surprised themselves last year and were able to quickly pivot and adapt to new realities of shuttered brick and mortars and increased digital commerce. For others, it’s been a difficult journey that still has challenges.

B2B buyers have changed, even more so in recent years. With more digital-savvy millennials in leadership roles, it’s an opportune time to revamp traditional B2B approaches to sales and marketing. Traveling for in-person meetings or attending conferences to promote your latest product are likely to be a thing of the past. And if they return, they will look very different. COVID has fast-tracked the need to take a digital-first approach.

That means that your product information is now your best salesperson, and the key to opening the digital front door.

In the digital world, we don’t sell tires, we sell product information. Inriver is one of the mandatory tools to help the company to grow.

Rémi Lancry, Data & Innovation Senior Manager, Michelin

What does a digital-first approach look like? Think immersive technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), and 3D images. Results of our recent B2B study showed that 36% of respondents are using AR or VR to sell their products.

It may include expanding your market with new sales channels to reach buyers or product data syndication to new data pools. And with all things digital, it includes turning data and analytics into insights that are actionable to improve your online performance.

Want to see how B2B brands are using these to sell online in 2021?

Driving digital commerce in manufacturing

new report

Our latest research report reveals how global B2B manufacturers are enabling digital commerce to meet changing buyer demands and drive revenue online.

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How B2B brands sell online in 2021

on-demand webinar

In this webinar, we discuss some of the most promising ways B2B companies are innovating their online sales approach in 2021.

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Innovation spotlight: creating an immersive buying experience

What makes immersive technologies so impactful in digital commerce? Listen as Salesforce, Threekit, and inriver dig into how it increases engagement, boosts sales, and reduces marketing costs. (Source: PIMpoint Digital 2020)

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embrace rich content for better CX

High-touch sales have always been essential for B2B brands. With recent restrictions, it’s your product information that now needs to talk for you. To provide an engaging customer experience (CX) online, some brands are experimenting with immersive technology, including 3D digital photography, and even AR or VR to help buyers “feel” and better visualize the products.

Whether used for product demos or even in a repair scenario, showing customers the up close and personal view of your products is the next best thing to in-person experience. And according to the data from McKinsey, buyers prefer it.

Another opportunity to help deliver a better customer experience is via social commerce. There are no rules anymore in marketing, and social commerce is not only for B2Cs. Many B2B brands are tapping into the opportunities social commerce offers as a way to educate and engage buyers, and drive sales as well. Use these channels to showcase products in different ways, leveraging immersive technologies as mentioned above or via user-generated content. Test different channels, offers, images, product descriptions, and of course, measure everything.

Econsultancy’s Reinventing Ecommerce Report shows that eight out of ten executives feel that relevant content is what gets customers to come back. Today’s buyers want experiences with personalized, contextual content throughout the path to purchase.

To meet these expectations, providing complete, consistent, and compelling content across all your channels is a must. PIM solutions do just that. A PIM solution provides a centralized hub to consolidate, manage, and enhance all your product information.

Listen to Matt Gorniak, CEO at Threekit, along with Andrew Witherspoon from Salesforce and Johan Boström from inriver chat about immersive digital technologies and its impact to your customers.

omnichannel is a must to reach your buyers

Did you know that well over half of all customer conversions involving a multichannel journey? Selling in 2021 means ensuring your customers can find you no matter where they’re browsing. And with more businesses online, competition is fierce. Based on the results from our study 87% of manufacturers we surveyed are facing more competition than a year ago. To stand out from the crowd requires you to deliver compelling content with an engaging customer experience across all your touchpoints.

As a foundational part of an e-commerce technology stack, a PIM solution integrates with both internal systems such as an ERP or POS, and external systems in your channel partners or distributor network. As with any SaaS offering, a digital PIM enables integration via adapters or connectors to ensure a seamless buyer experience anywhere. And a SaaS solution ensures limitless capabilities without downtime to meet rapidly changing needs.

How do you get your content across all your channels at scale? Delivering tailored content across multiple channels is a time-consuming process, involving hundreds of complex files. Done manually there’s a high risk of inconsistency and it’s rife with human error. What’s the answer? Product data syndication. This functionality helps put you in control of how content is created, managed and distributed across the digital shelf. It speeds time to market and removes inefficiencies along the way.

The new baselines for B2B manufacturing

Listen to inriver’s Johan Boström, co-founder and CPO and guest speaker Joe Cicman, senior analyst at Forrester as they explore data from Forrester’s most recent research and inriver’s manufacturing B2B study.

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How to scale commerce quickly

Get this ebook to understand how to build confidence by connecting through content with your buyers.

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“I often talk about ‘one and done’ when it comes to PIM. It means that you add or make changes once, in a single place, and then it is published in all different channels. In the end, you have the same information everywhere, regardless of touchpoint. It’s like inriver is a very good airport. We put information in and then the system funnels it to the right place. For us at Alfa Laval, this wasn’t really achievable before”

Hans Troiza, Head of Online Sales, Alfa Laval

a single source of truth to accelerate omnichannel sales

The B2B buying journey has been radically disrupted by an avalanche of data and new digital channels. And, with fewer face-to-face meetings, your customers going online to find the information they need.

Gartner Research found that 80% of B2B buyers use digital information at every stage of the path to purchase. Is your product information ready? Find out what you need and how you can prepare for B2B manufacturing growth.

As WARC observes, content is the “new sales juice”, turning your product information into one of the most critical assets in e-commerce. Creating and managing all your product information and transforming it into engaging product stories for each of your touchpoints is a lot of work. Different teams are involved along the way to generate that friction-free path to purchase. A PIM solution not only automates this end-to-end process for you, but it centralizes all your product or SKU information. You have a single source of truth. Having your product dimensions, images, text, and even translations all in one place gives you consistent, accurate information and increases your efficiency. Getting the right content to the right channel just became a whole lot easier.

Whether it’s scaling your operations into a new market that requires translations, localizing content to map to different safety requirements, or launching new products, acting fast increases your selling days.

A SaaS-based PIM solution is one way to ensure that you’re always able to stay aligned with the dynamic market. Accessible from anywhere, you can painlessly scale and pivot at a click of a button.

Find out how inriver’s PIM solution helped Intermatic manage their product information across all of their channels.

Customer spotlight: Intermatic

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How to prepare for B2B manufacturing growth

Technology is one part of the solution.

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expanding into new markets and countries to bridge the revenue gap

One way to expand into new markets and grow your business in these COVID-19 times is to start with an online offering in that region or territory. And it’s not just direct customer sales that benefit. Being able to share a consistent digital picture with your channel partners improves their ability to sell your products as well.

With a PIM solution, you don’t need to worry about handling the translation requirements, or the various legislation, and safety requirements that often comes with growing your business across new markets. A PIM solution automates your business processes and provides a centralized hub to source, standardize and enrich product data.

Not only does a PIM automate translations, it can also reduce translation costs. Dometic, a cooling and heating manufacturer for mobile living equipment, found a cost savings from their PIM solution. With product information in 24 languages, including 35 different dialects, inriver allowed them to reduce their translation costs significantly. Easy to use, automated, and saves money is another reason to invest in a PIM solution.

Automating once manual tasks also helps with ever-changing compliance regulations. This was the case for Teknos, one of Europe’s leading suppliers of industrial coatings. Having a single source of truth made it easier for Teknos to meet different regulatory requirements when shipping products to different markets and geographies.

Teknos explains the “wow-effect”

Listen in as Teknos Marketing Director, Outi Eskelinen, explains how inriver enables a “wow-effect” in their product stories.

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sustainability strengthens customer engagement

Sustainability in manufacturing has become a priority in your customer’s agenda. Eco and sustainability information can be leveraged as a selling point in sales and to drive customer loyalty. Customers and prospects expect transparency in terms of product information, materials, sourcing, and manufacturing practices front and center. When sustainable or eco-practices are used, it becomes a differentiator for brands. This includes the entire supply chain from packaging to shipping and even to return policies. Buyers are paying attention and are making purchases that support their personal and business objectives.

Incorporating your corporate social responsibility practices into your product information sends a message to your customers, partners, and the world. It helps foster authentic relationships with like-minded buyers, taps into millennial decision makers, and is a positive step for the planet. Win win.

Find out how sharing sustainability and eco practices helps you capture the millennial market in our blog.

how engagement intelligence increases conversion rates

In this new digital-first world, product information has not only become a differentiator, it’s now a strategic asset. Accurate, compelling, and optimized product information is at the heart of a customer journey. It’s what drive engagement and in turn, sales across your digital shelf.

How do you know if your product information is hitting the mark across all your touchpoints? Data informs us. It comes down to understanding, at scale, how your products are converting. In practice this means auditing multiple, changing websites across the globe. Add in different time zones and different languages for millions of SKUs and the task becomes impossible unless it is automated.

A PIM solution that incorporates digital shelf analytics, delivers closed-loop feedback gives you the engagement intelligence you need to optimize sales. It lets you quickly resolve content or visibility related issues and syndicate it back out to your channels. The data becomes actionable.

Learn why digital commerce needs engagement intelligence.

getting product launches right to secure first-mover advantage

A new product launch can turbo boost your sales pipeline, both for up-sell, cross-sell, and new business. With new product launches generating 25% revenue and profit in successful companies, it might be surprising to learn that 50% fail on average. What’s behind that failure rate? Inriver research found that heightened competition, time to market and sourcing product information all contribute to new product failures. What can you do to avoid this happening to you?

Many B2B businesses use product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions to improve product design, development and manufacturing processes. When it comes to the commercialization and transactional state of the product lifecycle, this is where a PIM solution excels. With a PIM solution supporting new product launch functions, your team can truly leverage all available information to overcome common launch pitfalls.

The good news is today’s consumers demand options and are highly receptive to innovative products. Leveraging actionable engagement intelligence can help you jump-start new product launches. How? With incorrect product information being one of the leading drivers of lost revenue during a launch, having visibility across all your touchpoints that your products are searchable, and the preferred content (images, videos, text descriptions) are being used helps your buyers choose your product over a competitor.

If you want to minimize product launch failures by fostering collaboration and promoting data-driven decisions as part of your current go to market solution, it may be time to add a PIM solution to your technology stack.

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Talk to us about how inriver can help you solve your product information challenges.

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