eCommerce stores are becoming the new normal way of shopping for both B2C and B2B customers. So as with anything that is making its way into the mainstream, eCommerce websites are progressing at an alarming rate, coming up with new and innovative ways of making the buying experience even better.
Customer portals have been around for quite some time, but nowadays if you don’t have one then your eCommerce store might be falling behind. The customer portal will bring great ROI, not only making the buyer experience immeasurably better but saving your business time and money in the long run. Find out how having a customer portal on your eCommerce website can improve your business model and make it run like a well-oiled machine.
What Is a Customer Portal?
In simple terms, a customer portal is where B2B website users can view their sales orders and accounts. They can make receivable transactions, pay sales invoices, access shipping and tracking information, and download documents.
Why is this important?
Because if they can get this information with just the click of a button, then you will no longer have to have someone available who interacts with customers via phone, email, or SMS. The process can become automated far more easily, without the need for human touch points along the way.
Why Does Your eCommerce Site Need a Customer Portal?
You may have a basic idea of what a customer portal can do for your eCommerce store, but let’s take a look at how it can benefit you and the day-to-day running of your operations.
It Helps To Build Client Relationships and Customer Loyalty
With competition being bigger than it has ever been before, eCommerce stores need to find every way they can to personalize the buying experience. A customer portal is a place where buyers can go to see all of their personal information, including purchase history and order tracking details.
It’s this type of experience that encourages customer loyalty. Return buyers are likely to spend more than first-time buyers, therefore, building an audience of buyers who return frequently to make purchases should be the end goal of any eCommerce store.
Customer portals are a dedicated space to create personalized content for the buyer which nurtures the customer relationship and builds trust.
Reduces Manual Effort
Gone are the days when the manual processing of data was necessary for efficient business operations, in fact, manual processing actually slows your business down and wastes precious time that could be spent elsewhere.
With the use of a customer portal, customers have access to all the data they need in real-time, without anyone having to update that information manually. This gives time back to your team, allowing them to focus on the tasks that count rather than wasting time on mundane and repetitive tasks.
Your team can instead focus their efforts on building long-term relationships and coming up with strategies for the eCommerce store moving forward. The customer portal creates an operational efficiency that will give you the ability to strategically focus your team’s time on more important tasks.
Aids In The Scaling Of The eCommerce Site
When the need for manual data entry has been eliminated, your business can scale more quickly. Human error is another factor that will be taken out of the equation, which increases your profit margins in the long run.
For a business to scale quickly, business operations need to run smoothly and without hiccups on a continuous basis and one of the best ways to do this is by adding a customer portal to your eCommerce store.
Enriches The Customer Experience
Customer experience is one of the biggest contributing factors to whether or not a customer returns to your online store, so making the experience seamless is very important. A customer portal does just that, giving the customer 24/7 access to their information 365 days a year.
This is a stark contrast to the manual process where a customer must log a support ticket and wait for business hours for an employee to get back to them. Customers want to be able to self-service on your website, without needing to contact anyone to find out relevant information. This means that the buyer can stay up to date with their orders day or night.
Speeds Up The Sales Cycle
Customer portals speed up the sales cycle by offering both the buyer and the seller access to powerful data points that help with the reporting process. It allows you as the eCommerce store owner to access information about which products the buyer frequently purchases and how frequently they make a purchase. This allows you to make accurate recommendations that can accelerate the sales cycle.
Helps To Increase Sales Due To The Easy Process
B2B businesses used to have one of the longest sales processes in the sales industry. It required a lot of back and forth and negotiations before a deal went through. But those days are over, and these sales take place with no person-to-person contact whatsoever – that is when a customer portal is being used.
The easy process of purchasing an item online, paying your invoice through the customer portal, and using the customer portal to keep track of your order and delivery dates means that no time is wasted logging support tickets and speaking with reps on the phone.
This easy transaction encourages buyers to come back more often for the hassle-free experience that your eCommerce store provides.
Build Customer Trust
A customer portal builds trust because your buyers know that they have access to their order and tracking information at any time, and they can see it is continuously being updated. This builds trust as they learn to rely on the updates provided for them in the customer portal rather than having to reach out to a sales rep for updates.
Allows For a Holistic Self-service Customer Experience
Customers that are shopping online don’t want to have to make a phone call, log a support ticket or contact you via email. They want a completely holistic self-service experience and deal with all of their account details online.
This means that your customer portal should not only contain personal information and account details but have a support section too. Here you can have an FAQ section where customers can easily troubleshoot any issues they may be experiencing.
The best way to know what should be contained within your customer portal is to make a list of the things that customers are logging support tickets for. That way, you’ll find out what your buyer’s most pressing needs are to create a self-service solution that won’t warrant any human interaction (unless that’s specifically what they want).
How To Create a Customer Portal
If you want to grow your business, provide the best customer experience for your buyers, and give time back to your team, then having a customer portal is the way to go. Our customer portal has some valuable features:
- Our customer portal allows you to get paid faster online with ERP integration that utilizes a variety of secure payment gateways.
- It gives both you and your customers a consolidated real-time view of orders and updates across all channels.
- It’s built in the cloud which allows users to access their information from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Allows full document access so that you and buyers can access, download, and print important documents.
- All features are included out-of-the-box at the same price so you can save valuable time and money on licensing.
If you would like to try our customer portal and save yourself the hassle of creating one from scratch, book a demo to give it a try.
Final Thoughts on Why a Customer Portal is Essential for eCommerce Websites
At the end of the day, having a customer portal is what separates the eCommerce stores that succeed from the ones that don’t. As the number of competitors in the B2B eCommerce space increases, your business needs to make adjustments and changes to keep up to date with the times and the ever-changing consumer expectations.
Integrate a customer portal into your business process to improve the buying experience on your eCommerce website and give your team time back to build long-term client relationships that count.