As of 2017, the global retail industry stood at $23,460 Billion, and is expected to reach a mammoth size of $31,880.8 Billion by 2023. Simple mathematics tells us that this is a 5.3 percent cumulative annual growth rate. For retail businesses, the opportunity has never been so ripe to capitalize on the technology and trends.
Though, keeping the nature of the retail landscape in mind, which is almost similar throughout the world, retail companies are desperately asking for more and more loyal customers. While B2C and B2B categories of the businesses took the world by storm in the last decade, things aren’t the same anymore.
Present trend analysis reveals that it is not just enough for retailers to acquire and retain loyal customers. Their channel partners, influencers, and B2B partners are equally crucial.
In fact, focusing on the B2B and channel partner loyalty can yield a much better ROI than what the ‘mad customer chase’ can ever do.
Couple the above concept into a single marketing strategy, and we get the less talked about B2I or Business-to-Influencer marketing!
B2I: Is that the New Marketing Buzzword?
B2I is definitely something that retail businesses are pondering about. Though, B2I here does not mean Business-to-individual marketing. Think of B2I as a single loyalty and marketing strategy for your B2B partners and retail channel influencers. Simply put, the more loyal they are, more will they promote your products! This can be achieved by having a reliable loyalty management system for your sales channel stakeholders.
But Why B2I?
This whole concept of leveraging channel partners to boost sales and maximize the ROI is based on ‘Promoter’ psychology. B2I marketing makes a lot of sense when you take a look at the stats and into these reasons;
·A loyal channel partner, just like a loyal customer, becomes the promoter for your brand. Promoters hold significantly higher value for retail businesses than the otherwise buyers (or detractors!). For example, in the healthcare domain, promoter physicians were found to be using the product twice as often as the detractors. In another example, in the asset management domain, promoters were found to have as high as 12 times the lifetime value than the average customer. Similarly, the agro-retail sector registered 11 percent better leads on an average than the detractors.
·Since the promoters have the ability to influence other prospects and convert them into either one-time or long-term customers, the marketing expenses by the retail companies can be cut-down significantly.
·The cost of acquisition of the new customers is at an all-time high. B2I, therefore, seems to be a unified strategy that can minimize the cost of acquisition of new customers, and maximize the ROI.
·Emotional and transactional loyalty benefits are two other reasons to incorporate B2I loyalty marketing in your company manifesto. Presently, companies are focusing on giving reward points, exclusive discounts, gifts, etc. as transactional loyalty. On the other side, ‘emotional’ loyalty is built by giving the value of ‘experience’ to the consumers. Since, your influencers and B2B channel partners are closely aware of the customer’s habits, needs, and expectations, by simply making them loyal, the end customer becomes a source of repetitive revenue for you!
Leveraging B2B Partners and Influencers with B2I
As a retailer, your job is to keep the B2B partners and influencers loyal since they will become your promoters. This must be the idea around which your B2I strategy should be built owing to the fact that 14 percent of the B2B customers notice the difference between the offerings by different suppliers. Once the strategy is finalized, you must leverage technology to leverage B2B partners and influencers.
Loyalty Tech is Where You Need to Invest!
Forget how digital marketing, organic search or paid advertisements work. To efficiently shift your sales conversion rates into the high gear, your retail company will require an automated loyalty management solution. With the help of such a system, a retail business can;
·Seamlessly engage and retain B2B partners with better incentives and rewards
·Seamlessly engage and retain B2I (Influencers) who have the ability to recommend and promote your product
·Directly engage customers to increase the sales
·Boost brand advocacy and impact
Other Benefits of the Loyalty Tech
·Besides efficiently increasing your sales, retaining better partners and customers, Loyalty and Reward System Automation will give you these benefits as a retailer;
·Easy partner retaining with CRM and Customized Loyalty offers
·End-to-end digital engagement and point-to-point control of the system
·Ability to create reward catalogs, gift card, e-vouchers, and overall experience value for the customers
·Advanced data analytics, insights, and real-time campaign monitoring
What it costs businesses if they cannot retain B2I partners and customers?
Companies often come down to calculation of the cost (or loss) when the ship has already sailed! Businesses lose as much as $1.6 Trillion annually when their channel partners and customers switch to other brands. Moreover, there are 60-70 percent chances of selling to an existing client compared to a miniscule 5 to 20 percent for a new one. Another compelling stat says that any company’s existing clients/customers/partners contribute up to 65 percent of the business as opposed to only 35 percent coming from the new customers.
Thus, capitalizing on the newly forged foundation of marketing, i.e. B2I, is not only promising in terms of returns and cost savings vis-a-via sales and customer acquisition, but is also a potential safeguard against the loss that comes with dropping B2B partners and existing customers.
Let us know in the comment box below about the innovative ways you would have used to leverage the B2I stakeholders for a given industry and business if Loyalty technology was absent!