Win back inactive accounts with a self-service ordering portal that’s easy to use and manage on the back end.
In the first 2 months after launching their B2B eCommerce portal, 25 dormant accounts started placing orders again.
Customers are buying more products than ever, due to increased product discoverability.
Half of all Buff, Inc. customer orders are now being placed through their self-service channel.
Buff Headwear’s sales operation consists of a full-service channel—with sales reps selling at trade shows and customer visits—and customer-driven ordering. Selling a tactile product with technical benefits that are best explained in person, the full-service sales channel is very important to their business. But, when orders were submitted manually by customers and sales reps, it was becoming unwieldy. Some buyers would fax in orders that had been scribbled down on napkins, and sales reps would send in orders over email without including any item numbers, which required more back-and-forth communication.
According to Customer Service Supervisor Molly Izenstark, “Lots of things were piling up, and it was getting to be too much to manage.” The Buff, Inc. team knew these manual processes were not scalable, and decided to put technology in place to streamline order submission by both reps and buyers.
First, Buff, Inc. knew that creating alignment between their full-service and self-service channel was key to a successful B2B eCommerce implementation. As such, they commission their sales reps on all orders from their respective accounts, whether or not they are placed online. This served to establish the sales team as ambassadors, rather than adversaries, of their self-serve channel. Next, Buff Headwear’s marketing team was directly involved in the launch, and had success implementing an email campaign launching the portal, customized dealer login page, and ongoing email marketing campaigns. Coordination between departments was critical to ensuring a successful launch of their B2B ordering portal.
Buff’s customers were clearly ready for B2B eCommerce. Within just a few short months of their launch, they have seen impressive results, with over 50% of orders now being placed through their self-serve channel. Buff, Inc. was also pleasantly surprised to see that on Day One of their portal launch, orders began coming in from previously inactive accounts. Sales reps are excited about this customer reactivation, as noted by one rep’s experience: “Oh, wow, I just got a notification that my account placed an order. I’ve been bugging them for months, and they just did it so easily.” After only 2 months, Buff, Inc. has reactivated 25 previously dark accounts, and they expect this number to grow.
Buyers are also placing orders for items they’ve never ordered before, due to the enhanced product discoverability made possible by their Handshake Direct online portal. This increased visibility has helped Buff, Inc. clear out old inventory that has been off buyer’s radars. Finally, Buff, Inc. has used a smart approach to drive more at-once orders at trade shows—a tactic that has added revenue and helped to familiarize buyers with their new self-service portal.