When we hear the term “ominchannel commerce,” we often think of B2C companies selling consumer products. For those not familiar with the term, ominchannel refers to providing a seamless shopping experience regardless of the purchasing channel. For example, think about a clothing company that sells through its website, a dedicated mobile app, a print catalogue, a call center, and a brick and mortar presence. The company wants to ensure that the customer has the same experience no matter where he or she completes the purchase.
While ominchannel commerce has been a long-growing trend among B2C firms for over a decade, the B2B industry is just starting to catch up. Granted, B2B purchases often entail many more factors, including more complex purchasing processes, bundling, negotiation, etc. But just because something is complicated, doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile to do.
In fact, this is something that some B2B digital executives have been pursuing for several years. According to Forrester Research, about 2/3rds of B2B buyers prefer a self-service model, where they can make purchases without having to go through a sales rep. That doesn’t mean the sales rep is entirely unnecessary; after all, you still need to forge new relationships and go after the big fish. Instead, what this suggests is that B2B buyers want the same seamless shopping experience they get in the B2C world; i.e. they want to be able to make purchases how and when they want, regardless of channel.
And what’s the one thing that holds all these different channels together? What’s the one technology that makes the B2B customer purchasing experience uniform, whether the buyer is using the website or calling their rep? If you said it’s a flexible ecommerce platform with lots of bells and whistles, well, that’s not quite it.
In truth, it’s the ability to provide instant credit. Let us explain.
When it comes down to it, B2B buyers just want to effect a transaction. They might have some informational needs leading up to that, and those can be addressed through whichever channels they want, whether that’s looking up things on the website, calling their sales rep, or whatever. But when they go to actually make the purchase, they may not want to be forced into using a specific channel. They may not want to call their sales rep, or they may want to be able to just go online to complete the transaction.
We often think of instant credit being an online only technology, but in fact, it can be used through any channel the customer wants. Call centers and sales reps can be given access to the instant credit system, asking customers the questions needed for approval. B2B merchants could even include the necessary questions on a paper order form if needed, which can then be sent by fax (yikes!) and processed by the seller. (Just to clarify: This method goes against the entire concept of instant credit, but it is an option sellers can offer.)
At the end of the day, when a customer wants to make a purchase, it should be done with as little friction as possible no matter how they choose to effect the transaction. And that’s what Credit Key can offer.
If you’d like to learn more about how Credit Key can help you unlock omnichannel commerce, contact us. We’re happy to share with you all the possibilities that an instant credit program can unlock.