Many CBD companies operate both as B2B and B2C. Sometimes they also grow the product. This makes business operations more complex.
In essence, you are running multiple companies. Each one needs its own unique presentation.
Each business segment needs its own web presence, promotion, and marketing. But supply chains interlink. Coordinate divisions for a smooth buying experience.
While some businesses try to mix the variations on a single website, it can get confusing to the shopper and get “clunky.”
Each buyer type is looking for a buyer-centric experience. What these buyer types need and expect is very different.
Businesses looking for raw materials to create their own products have a very different mindset from retail outlets. Stores are looking to offer finished goods directly to consumers.
Each requires its own set of information and own style of marketing because the target audience is different.
Both manufacturers and retailers are looking at the value/purpose of your product. They need scientific specifications and business data.
A manufacturer needs critical details to assess how an ingredient will work in its formula. Availability, price stability, and sourcing are often of paramount interest.
There is no emotion in a B2B purchase. It’s about the statistics.
For B2B manufacturers, the decision may be in the hands of a purchasing officer. It might also require approval from several different members of the team.
Your online presence needs to give buyers access to the technical and scientific data of your raw materials. It needs to communicate your logistics.
Put yourself in their shoes…what do you need to know to incorporate your form of CBD, hemp or cannabis into an oral, inhaled or topical product?
A manufacturer wants a smooth ingredient-focused buying experience. Facts and figures.
A retailer has a very different focus. They need to analyze how any given product will fit into their business brand and sell to the consumer.
Resellers want the features and benefits of the product. They need brand-accurate marketing support. They also need business data. Profit margins, sourcing, testing, and logistics.
If a retailer is part of a chain, corporate handles the process. Selling to a chain or group of chains is enticing because of the volume. But each will have specific requirements that test the performance ability of the wholesaler.
If the reseller is a private business, the initial investment can be a stumbling block. This group may not be able to handle large quantities initially. They may want to test a new product to determine customer interest.
Be their information resource
Your website needs to be a wealth of information for them. Everything they will need to know to not only purchase but to sell the products you offer.
Some wholesalers use their B2C website with a special login section for their resellers or distributors. That way the retailer has everything the consumer needs or wants to know.
The private portal also gives retailers business data and marketing. They depend on your validated emotional side – problem-solving stories and testimonials.
Selling direct to consumers can bypass the hurdles of gaining shelf space in a retail outlet. Having e-commerce plus a physical retail outlet is something an online-only like Amazon can’t provide. It can be a competitive edge without a corporate giant directing you.
Focusing on customers starts with the concept then builds up and out from there. Customer-oriented businesses must consider the needs of the employees. They interact with the product and the customers. Don’t let technology fail them.
A truly customer-centric experience includes everyone in every aspect of the business. All systems integrate to reduce friction points. It’s an ongoing process.
Consumers are looking for more than a product. They are looking for a company they feel safe with and can trust. Online security, guarantee, transparency, product information, customer service.
Customers today might look on your website and decide you’re the one. Then like Walmart or Target, order online and drop by your outlet to pick up their purchase. The tactical experience, and human interaction intermixed with ease of ordering.
Despite what we may read about more people shopping online and looking for automation they want connections. They want more, not less, interaction with real people.
Amazing customer experience is essential and a key determiner in loyalty. Today’s consumer expects the person they talk to is knowledgeable, helpful and concerned.
Get product into the hands of your employees. It helps them buy-in and sell your CBD. There is no substitute for personal experience in the alternative health niche.
Leaving money on the table?
Most businesses need faster response times. Staffing customer service for a “local” eight-hour day leaves money on the table. It can also lose buyers.
In the CBD world, many businesses have no customer service phone number. It comes across that they don’t want you to contact them.
The only way to get help is by email. I routinely test this to check response time. Sometimes it is the next day, but more often it is several days. The slowest response was over a month.
Customers won’t wait…they go elsewhere. If you were in pain, or couldn’t sleep, how long would you wait?
FAQ pages often don’t answer all the questions. If they were more encompassing, they could help customers find answers without waiting
Integrate and involve
Chatbots and AI are becoming more easily integrated all the time. And they are getting smarter. Many handle more mundane chores. This leaves your customer service team to handle questions, beyond AI capability.
Some businesses are using the power of social media. They allow customers to post questions. Answer one person’s question on social helps others at the same time.
User group forums can also be helpful. Keep them accurate by staff or advisor monitoring. Empower your staff to share product knowledge with customers on social.
Use consumer buying triggers
While manufacturers and retailers rely on statistics and data to make their business decisions, consumers think differently.
Consumers buy in response to an emotional trigger and then validate their decision with facts.
Every commercial on television or the radio is based on an emotional trigger. The sale may only have a few hours or days left. Or, limited quantities available.
The customer may be experiencing pain, sleeplessness or anxiety and need a solution. Your products are their solution and they want/need it now.
Use trigger words with caution
With beauty products or alternative supplements, strict government guidelines must be followed. Health claims must be scientifically proven.
Ingredients scientifically proven to have an action are active ingredients. Labeling and manufacturing requirements differ.
Products like sunscreens, cold medications, allergy pills, etc. include actives. Manufacturing must be in an FDA approved lab and labeling guidelines followed.
In the world of skincare products, manufacturers have had to retreat from using terms that have been common for decades. Many won’t even risk calling breakouts “acne” as acne is a medical condition.
In recent years the list of terms to avoid has become extensive. Companies that use them for supplements or beauty products risk getting a cease and desist letter from the FDA or worse.
B2B and B2C teams
Marketing for a multi-revenue business requires delegation and integration. It takes total buy-in from the top down.
Having built and managed a multi-revenue wellness business myself, I know the challenges and obstacles. It’s never one and done. Technology keeps evolving. Buyers patterns shift.
Each revenue stream wants its share of the funding. Each needs website development, marketing investment, technology integration.
The good news is content is king. You can have it tweaked and reused in multiple ways. The same is true with testimonials, success stories, and white pages.
To capitalize on what you are offering is an ongoing task. It requires staff that understand the big picture and buys into it.
Customer-centric from the inside-out and top-down for each individual revenue stream. Get the right people to help you make it happen.