- Amazon creates value-added services for B2B customers.
- Your customer focus isn't extreme enough.
- Add digital services to what you already offer to create a competitive advantage.
I've worked with sizeable B2B customers who want their distributors to make purchasing easier with digital solutions. Executive leaders wanted centralized purchasing with analytics. While purchasing practitioners wanted to simplify buying and reduce cost.
B2B suppliers were slow to adopt these customer requests. Often failing to add actual value while limiting access to select customers. Amazon saw the opportunity and filled the gap. This is why Amazon Business is growing faster than Amazon itself.
So while distribution leaders and salespeople argued about pricing transparency, Amazon made rapid gains. Focusing on customer experience and value-added services. It's likely your customers have passed you by to purchase from them.
Amazon makes its platform a service. Here is an example of free business tools in Amazon Business' platform:
- Wholesale savings for bulk right out of the gate
- Optimized purchasing operations from ordering to delivery
- Quickly and securely onboard buyers. Manage user permissions and give your team access. No complicated setups.
- Robust purchasing analytics by product, category, and purchaser.
- Easy "buy now, pay later" arrangement.
- Drive compliance within the safety and business-critical categories
- Easily integrate into other procurement solutions
- Access to millions of products
Customers were asking for these features years ago. But B2B suppliers didn't accommodate in most cases.
Extreme customer focus
Do you ensure your team provides excellent customer experiences in their interactions?
You do because you instinctively know good customer experiences lead to revenue growth. And terrible customer experiences make customers do a disappearing act. That revenue growth isn't always measurable but a vital part of that growth.
"Obsessing over customer experience is the only long-term defensible competitive advantage." - Jeff Bezos
Taking the same attitude towards your digital solutions with extreme customer focus is how you compete in 2021 and beyond. It doesn't mean you abandon all that's made your company successful thus far. But instead, build upon that success.
Adopting the innovative, customer-centric approaches of tech companies while maintaining your other value-added services will give you a competitive advantage. Amazon's business model is in scale. This leaves vast opportunities within B2B to provide "white glove" services Amazon can't or won't offer.
Suppose you can harness your deep market, product and technical knowledge in your digital offerings. In that case, you'll find customers are so appreciative they'll send their monies your way. You'll differentiate yourself from Amazon and your competitors.
You don't have to replicate Amazon's platform, just determine what is most valuable to your customers and built it. Then build more. Never stop building. Knowing your investments will net long-term profits.
You already have the business know-how to build customer loyalty. Heavily invest before there is ever a return. Fuse that approach with your sales team's customer-first focus in digital to keep Jeff's hands off your best customers.