3 Keys To A Thriving Digital Channel After COVID

No doubt about it, COVID-19 has changed manufacturers’ sales models forever. Phone, fax, and email are out. Digital self-service is the way forward.

But does the shift work? Are customers rewarding organizations that adopt digital self-service?

Absolutely.

As Digitalcommerce360 reports, McKinsey & Co. recently found that 92% of B2B executives believe their post-pandemic sales models are more effective than their pre-pandemic models.

Here are 3 keys to finding success with a new digital channel.

1. Start with existing customers

Before you go looking to grow market share by attracting new customers, you should envision a digital channel that works for existing customers.

Why?

Because dealers, distributors, and other channel partners already have well-defined relationships with your organization. They may even have contractual obligations for minimum quantities to purchase from you.

This means your existing channel partners are a great starting place for transitioning to digital business. The challenge is twofold.

  • To give them the personalized data they need in a customer portal, which is only possible through deep SAP integration. (Hint: The Corevist Platform includes this comprehensive integration out of the box.)
  • To focus first on becoming “easier to do business with” by retiring phone, fax, and email interaction with these customers.

Here’s what that looks like.

2. Focus on becoming “easier to do business with”

If you’re going to start with existing customers, it makes sense to structure your digital channel around their needs. To give your project this focus, it’s helpful to ask these questions:

What makes us “hard to do business with?”

How can a digital channel remove that friction?

For many manufacturers, the pre-pandemic sales model was difficult and frustrating for customers. With every customer service interaction requiring human attention, customers had to wait to get basic information like order status, shipment tracking numbers, and invoice history.

If you want to become “easier to do business with,” this is a great place to start. Shift customer service to a self-service portal, and you’ll remove friction from your customer’s day.

Here’s where conventional B2B eCommerce platforms don’t have great answers for manufacturers. These platforms come bundled with a product catalog—and they come without SAP ERP integration. Yet customers don’t need a product catalog if they’re just coming to the portal to track an order. And they won’t be able to track that order without SAP integration.

Of course, some organizations need to start with that self-service portal—then expand to full-featured B2B eCommerce. (Hint: The Corevist Platform is built to facilitate this journey.)

Whether you’re launching a customer portal, B2B eCommerce, or a combination of the two, one thing is essential: Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

3. Reject big projects and demand fast time to value

Digital transformation projects tend to throw in everything and the kitchen sink.

But the bigger these projects are, the harder they fall.

We’ve seen it too many times. Manufacturers come to us with big B2B eCommerce ventures that never got off the ground. The culprit is always complexity—usually, the complexity of SAP integration. Getting a standalone platform to play nice with SAP isn’t a walk in the park. For many organizations, the challenge ends up being insurmountable.

This is why manufacturers should choose solutions that offer incremental paths to value. In the first rollout, a quick win with limited scope is better than a gigantic project that ultimately fails.

When it comes to digital channels, that often means starting with post-order care—like order tracking, shipment tracking, and invoice tracking. Once you’ve established this value in your customer portal, you’re in a great place to add online ordering capabilities, digital payments, and product catalogs.

That’s what the Corevist Platform is all about. You can start with the functionality you need today, get a quick win in 30 days, and keep moving forward as you transition your customer relationships to self-service.

The New Corevist Commerce | Full SAP Integration Included | Corevist, Inc.

Want to see deep SAP integration in your B2B portal?

Check out the Corevist Commerce demo video.

B2B portal platform with real-time SAP data and a sleek, mobile-friendly UI.

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About Author

George Anderson

George serves as Digital Marketing Manager. A blogger and journalist with a passion for B2B ecommerce, he has written for the Magento blog, Digitalcommerce360, Supply & Demand Chain Executive, ERPgenie, and others.