Tech brands are on the cutting edge of everything new and innovative but, ironically, many have a fairly mediocre online presence, particularly in the B2B space. Online is everything in 2021, and brands that are growing the fastest are leveraging every tool they have in their toolbox to make a killer impression to buyers.
If the thought of getting there with your own brand seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. Creating a powerful online presence can take work, and it doesn’t happen overnight, but there are simple steps you can take to get started.
Here are five ways B2B tech brands can improve their online presence in 2021.
Many brands treat Amazon like an afterthought. What they should be doing is making it a top priority. Amazon is the biggest ecommerce platform in the country, and it’s the fastest-growing channel for thousands of brands. In just the first quarter of 2021, Amazon made $837 thousand per minute. Their business sector is slated to bring even more success to the brand—Amazon Business has seen its gross sales grow 2.9 times faster than the total sales for Amazon, according to Digital 360.
Amazon’s growth is exciting, but it’s not the only reason brands should pay attention. The reality is that what happens on Amazon doesn’t stay on Amazon. You may not be in that space, but eventually, your product will be, and without a presence there, you’ll watch unauthorized sellers harm your brand image and your pricing across every other channel.
If you’re not doing so already, start assessing what opportunities exist on the Amazon platform for your brand right now and understanding the dynamics Amazon creates with your other channels. Think about how important Amazon was for your business two years ago, then think about how important it is now and may be in the future. It should be a central figure in your business planning.
When brands sell on multiple channels, they often end up having inconsistent brand messaging, especially if they have a wide distribution of sellers who are partially crafting the consumer-facing side of their business on marketplaces. Consistency across channels is key to excelling in the omni-channel space.
Your brand should be immediately recognizable in a lineup. That means your image quality should be the same on your Amazon listings as it is on your B2B site. Your copy should be compliant across all channels, you should have a clear, unified message about your brand, and your customer service should be solid no matter which channel or seller it comes from. This helps your brand stay memorable and trustworthy for buyers.
Good ratings and reviews are one of the most important elements of a stellar online brand presence. Over 93% of your customers will look at your reviews before making a purchase, and if your reviews stink, your growth is going to flounder.
It’s important to note that your Amazon rating is fundamentally not about your product, but about how your product meets the customer expectation. That means you either have to change the product or change the expectation.
Assessing reviews and customer Q&As can help you determine a) the quality of your customer service experience and b) what customers are expecting from you. What is the overall feedback on your brand? What frequent complaints keep popping up? How do customers feel about the customer service experience and what language do they use to describe your product? The answers to these questions can be leveraged and repurposed to create an experience or product that meets customer expectations, and met expectations will help your ratings improve.
Without proper policy in place and without control, pricing on marketplaces can fluctuate like a rollercoaster. When it does that, it harms every one of your partners and ultimately your own growth.
Brands that don’t have control online (their distribution is too wide or they aren’t monitoring marketplaces) almost always end up in a predicament we call the Profitability Death Spiral. When a VAR or other seller decides to drop their price on Amazon to beat out the competition, all of your other sellers are forced to lower their prices to compete. This can go on and on until your good-faith sellers are hurting from lost margins and your overall brand is hurting, too.
To prevent price erosion from happening, you must regain control. This is done by being picky about which VARs you sell your product through and limiting distribution. Control is also maintained by enforcing MAP policies so that sellers know you’re serious about taking them to task when they mess up.
Another way to stabilize your pricing is to maintain price parity across all channels. Consumers should be able to go to your webpage and get the same price on an item there as they’d get on your Amazon store and vice versa.
One mistake brands make in ecommerce is to work with VARs that aren’t well-equipped to protect or manage the brand on marketplaces. These partners might be able to sell your product, but they don’t have the resources to improve your brand’s online presence, your advertising, or your customer service. Once pricing and distribution are under control, your ticket to success is to find a VAR that can fill in the gaps in your strategy and be dedicated to your brand.
Pattern can be that for your business. Pattern is an exclusive ecommerce seller who works side by side with brands to help them thrive. Our in-house Predict software can help you find and eliminate the distributors who are eroding your prices, provide you with the best keywords to improve your products’ organic ranking, and view up-to-date analytics about your brand. We make sure your image stacks and copy are slick and informative, and we provide shoppers with an exceptional customer service experience reflective of the brand experience you want to offer.
If you’re interested in learning more about an Amazon-experienced VAR or how Pattern can help your B2B tech brand establish a killer presence on the marketplace, request your demo today or email email@example.com for more information.
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Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.
If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.
At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.
Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.
DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.
Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.
Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.
So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.
Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.
So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.
As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.
The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).
As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter.
It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.
Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.