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Any eCommerce Strategy Must be Customer Centric

Our earlier blog on the business factors of any eCommerce strategy, also raised the importance of being customer centric in any decision. And, having customers at the centre of any strategic decision is fundamental.

Every customer has different buyers, each having their own buying needs and preferences that determine how to best engage with those individuals.

The focus of this blog is these buyers and influencers that will drive your eCommerce investment.

Addressing the Needs of Today’s Buyers

You might not be able to efficiently address all the buyers, all the time, but your business strategy should at least be able to identify and address your target ones.

Both People and Their Habits are Changing

In this BBC analysis, the retail industry has seen a four-fold percentage change to online buying over the past 10 years. Consumer (B2C) buyers are taking their buying preferences into the B2B arena. In addition:

  • Traditional buyers’ numbers are declining
  • New generations are bringing preferred e-buying habits
  • Other buyers are adapting their habits to the ever-changing needs of their own customers

In summary, businesses need to understand the changing dynamics of their buyers.

Customer Satisfaction Differs Between Buyers

The objective of the following table is to offer a thought provoking look into differing buyer motivations and how this might relate to those in our customers - and how, or if an eCommerce strategy might be appropriate.

This list of buyers is not exhaustive, nor is it applicable to every industry, or every customer.

The Buyer The behavior

What is Customer Satisfaction To Them

Regular Over-The-Counter buyer The banter, interaction, knowledge share, always bought this way Human interaction, seeking expert knowledge, physical browsing, visual self-help and quality check
e-Buyer Fast, online self-serving, does own research, younger, less F2F experience. Speed, efficiency, simplicity and a comfortable online environment. Uses e-references to determine quality. This buyer responds to the ‘Amazon’ phenomenon and react to a brand how they like, not how you prefer.
Casual Over-The-Counter buyer Uncertainty of needs, preference to e-buying Gains from staff expertise. Prefers the fast and easy online experience. Can’t get what is required online, F2F is time-wasting.
Casual e-Buyer Preference to counter buying, but can’t get what he needs over the counter Both telephone and over counter is not delivering what is needed. Satisfaction is greatest with an intuitive interaction. Slowly building up experience and comfort with eCommerce
Telephone – can apply to any of the above This is more efficient than over-counter. It might even be an eBuyer who needs more information. Happly with the direct contact, but efficiencies force the telephone method. Fast response and seller expertise is key.
Buys via third party site, or an agent Uncomfortable with what to purchase. Needs added help and expert guidance to decide, or a one-stop solution.
See-Saw Buyer Whatever is the easiest and cheapest solution This buyer is comfortable in all environments. Price, simplicity, ROI are the key drivers of satisfaction

It Boils Down to Three Main Buyers

The above table can really be categorised into three buyers; those whose preference is in:

  • Online. This is arguably typical millennial/generation Z behavior
  • Over-Counter. This is arguably typical* baby boomer behavior
  • See-Saw buyer. This is when there is no preference to how and where to buy

Whether you are a manufacturer, distributor, retailer, etc., whether your focus is B2C, B2B, or both, eCommerce potentially offers tremendous benefits, but note:

  • not all buyers need, or want, an eCommerce solution.
  • if the eBuying trend is in your market is sufficient, then eCommerce must be a business strategy.


(BisTrack) Mark Fear, Sales Manager, Epicor Corporation
(iScala) Felicity Seymour Morris, Solution Engineering Manager, Epicor Corporation

For Further Information:

To explore this topic further, download this White Paper.

To hear how an e-Commerce solution from Epicor can help your business, please click here.

If you would like to talk to an Epicor representative, please contact us here.

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