Many people I talk to continue to enjoy great success with their B-to-B Web sites, even in this terrible economy. Visitors, orders, sales and customer satisfaction are all up. In most cases, it's the "bright spot" of the business that counterbalances falling mail response rates and dramatically increasing operating costs.
The one question, however, that needs to be asked is: Are your Web sales growing fast enough? "Enough," of course, is a relative concept, but any business should make sure it's getting as much as it can from its Web channel. Ask yourself these questions to see how your company's Web site is performing:
1. What percentage of your total orders are being taken online? What percentage of those are driven by mail vs. truly generated online?
2. How many new customers are being acquired annually by the various new customer acquisition tools now being used online? How much of that is driven by offline activity vs. online activity?
3. What's the average order value trend of online-generated orders?
4. How many “pure” online customers do you have? Is that percentage growing?
5. What's the retention rate of your online customers vs. offline or multichannel customers?
6. What are you doing to benchmark and improve all these performance measurements?
In my day-to-day experience, I've noticed that there are three kinds of companies. First, there are those that know the issues, have found their solutions and are pulling way ahead of the pack. Then there are others that know what the issues are but are struggling to find their solutions. Finally, there are those companies that don't have a clue. They're usually the ones that judge their Web sites based on what they look like and not how they perform. That's akin to judging the success of your catalog based on its creative without regard to the list selection and circulation plan.
So, which group do you fit in? Are your Web sales — and new customer acquisition — growing fast enough?
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at email@example.com or (954) 383-5221 (direct line).
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221
Comments or questions are welcome.