As B2B consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands face a shift in the e-commerce business environment, they must secure cost advantage in order to offer customers a unique and personalized experience. Because today’s customer experience is no longer limited to a shopping cart but instead to the entire set of a platform’s capabilities, they must be offered multi-channel, personalized interaction.
Common challenges faced by the CPG e-commerce industry
A persistent e-commerce challenge that B2B CPG brands face is the ordering process. While large industrial retailers have the financial muscle to implement automation in ordering, smaller customers often can’t afford the high costs of automation, which is crucial to transaction proficiency and a smooth customer experience.
Another challenge is that most customer interaction still happens over phone, mail, online chat, etc. This means customer executives are deeply involved in the transaction process – they must register complaints and guide customers, which makes self-service impossible.
Salesforce effectively solves these issues, making self-service and a smooth customer experience possible. Here is why Salesforce is the right B2B e-commerce platform for CPG brands.
Salesforce B2B Commerce – a proven e-commerce solution
Offering effective B2B engagement and transaction efficiency is crucial for the CPG industry to succeed in an ever-evolving e-commerce landscape. Salesforce offers 360-degree customer experience management – from product introduction to ticketing to handling customer complaints. It does this through its commerce cloud for B2B players (CloudCraze – built 100% native on Salesforce).
Legacy platforms for B2B interactions are not scalable or future-proof. By deploying Salesforce, retailers can enable self-service, have agents directly enter orders themselves, and enable effective net price calculation at checkout, eliminating the need for intervention by the customer care department.
The platform also allows retailers to demonstrate not only products that the customer is ordering but also recommendations and promotions. This helps increase revenue by cross-selling and upselling.
Powerful features combined in a single platform
The Salesforce-backed online platform features an e-catalog, allowing for easy searches based on either direct product searches or those based on categories. Customers can then view important information such as pictures of the product, SKU, packaging, description, and ingredients. They can filter products based on characteristics, effectively narrowing their search down to the right product(s).
At the checkout section, customers can request a delivery date, provide additional shipping instructions, and view the net price calculation. Customers can also easily reorder products by accessing their history.
Easy-to-use with useful functionality for B2B companies, Salesforce is a robust solution that can completely integrate with an AP through a middleware. Besides ordering, agents can use Salesforce’s partner community to control access for suppliers, customers, and distributors to the platform. Fully secure, Salesforce only allows authenticated users.
With e-ordering through Salesforce’s B2B Commerce Cloud, retailers can improve transaction efficiency and offer 24/7 service. With self-service, interactions such as questions on an invoice, feedback, new product introduction, samples, and complaint-handling become structured. By allowing self-service, CPG B2B can become more efficient and customer-focused. It also offers great convenience to customers since customer executives are available for interaction only during a limited part of the day.
Salesforce can also be fully localized for B2B interactions in foreign countries – it supports 30+ languages and currencies.
Since it’s a single database, anyone accessing the application is looking at the same record at the same time. This means users can collaborate on orders, work through all levels of the organization, and leverage Salesforce workflow for exception handling, collaboration, approval levels. etc. This is a special advantage since running a separate commerce silo would require users to build and own the stack and continuously iterate on it. To put it simply, with Salesforce, CPG brands can structure their go-to-market processes efficiently.
Efficient application architecture
Salesforce’s 360-degree customer experience management architecture includes:
- Salesforce automation
- Prospecting and business development
- Customer and equipment on-boarding
- Marketing automation
- Contact center
- Analytics and past performance management
- Equipment orders and service requests
- Partner and customer self-service portal
- E-commerce: Direct to outlet, distribution, D2C, D2E
Equipment orders, partner and customer self-service portals, and various e-commerce functionalities are delivered by Salesforce while the rest is provided either by the platform partner’s solutions or other third-party ISPs.
Instead of a bunch of disparate architectures that are knit together and sold under one license, Salesforce offers a single architecture that brings together innovation from multiple partners. In this way, it simplifies the lives of B2B CPG brands as they save integration and customization costs, being able to focus more on innovation and delivering value to customers. As a result, they experience increased order sizes, improved revenue and margin, higher customer satisfaction, and significantly lower costs.
CPG brands typically have large customers, most of whom still order manually or need a field agent or distributor to visit them. When such customers drive a significant portion of revenue, moving them to a cloud platform that serves them efficiently, effectively, and in a personalized way becomes all the more important.
Ultimately, a unified e-commerce platform is not limited to a website, a storefront, or a shopping cart. It’s about managing the entire customer and channel experience to deliver value for channel partners and customers.
Start with a Salesforce pilot for your B2B e-commerce business today.