In the B2C space, the popularity of subscription-based ecommerce has taken off. Businesses like Dollar Shave Club, Chewy, and Blue Apron are achieving immense success because of their ability to create enjoyable buying experiences that turn potential one-time buyers into long-term, repeat customers.
Consumers are drawn to these sorts of subscriptions because of the convenience and cost savings they get by receiving recurring deliveries of the products they regularly buy. The B2C subscription experience also offers the high level of personalization that today’s customers expect.
For example, Stitch Fix delivers clothing and accessories hand-picked by customers’ personal shoppers, whereas Naturebox customizes their snack packages based on their customers’ known preferences. Not only are customers signing up for consistent deliveries of the products they need, they’re also signing up for personalized experiences.
The driving thought behind the popularity of these “subscription boxes” is yet another trademark of the age of the customer: Let me buy exactly what I want without having to think too much or work too hard. And the subscription companies achieving the most success are letting their buyers do exactly that while retaining more customers and promoting advocacy for their brands.
As we say so often, B2C trends often influence B2B trends. So when will we start seeing these subscription-based ecommerce experiences delivered to B2B customers, and what does everyone have to gain?
The Benefits of a Subscription-Based Sales Model
According to a panel of ecommerce experts, delivering a subscription-based approach can help companies significantly lower customer retention costs, achieve higher revenue and profit margins, and leverage more consistent order predictability. So, why have B2B companies been relatively slow to implement a subscription ordering approach through ecommerce? In reality, it’s not so simple.
B2B ecommerce isn’t the same as B2C. Customers aren’t ordering shaving razors, prepackaged meals or pet toys. They’re ordering corporate health care plans, jet engines, or custom fleet vehicles that contain thousands of parts and with seemingly-endless configuration scenarios.
With the typical B2B purchase being so complex, it’s proven challenging for companies to create a seamless, enjoyable ecommerce shopping experience, let alone one that can be repeated in a subscription model.
As evidenced in this Forrester thought leadership study commissioned by FPX, B2B firms must find a way to solve the inherent complexity of the B2B sales ecosystem in order to enable a better ecommerce experience for their customers. But how?
CPQ Helps Companies Make it Happen
Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solutions solve the complexity problem for B2B companies and enable them to offer their full portfolio of highly-complex, highly configurable products and services online. By simplifying the buying experience for their ecommerce buyers, companies can then leverage CPQ’s capabilities to adopt a subscription-based sales model and deliver the levels of personalization, convenience, and value that their customers are asking for.
With CPQ powering their ecommerce offering, companies can leverage predictive analytics intelligence to personalize individual orders with product or solution recommendations informed by customer data or transaction history.
Also, thanks to CPQ’s dynamic document authoring capabilities, companies’ contract renewal processes could be completely automated, taking what was once a manual, back-and-forth process and turning it into an optimized, e-signature-and-go process.
In the future, whether B2B buyers are subscribing to monthly orders of industrial equipment or automated renewals of service agreements, we predict that one thing will be certain: CPQ plus ecommerce will be the solution enabling them to do so.
FPX: CPQ for B2B ecommerce
At FPX, our mission is simple: We develop CPQ solutions that help businesses deliver experiences that increase engagement and build loyalty. With more than three decades of building CPQ solutions for enterprise customers, we know that the needs and values of buyers change over time. That’s why we deliver cutting-edge innovations that streamline and optimize all aspects of B2B buying and selling.