Case Study: How to Bring B2C Growth and Opportunity to B2B E-Commerce

New research from McKinsey & Co. states that B2B companies consider digital engagement twice as important today as it was pre-COVID-19. B2B companies of all sizes have made a significant investment in e-commerce strategies to increase sales, customer reach and even compete with major brand names.

Case Study: How to Bring B2C Growth and Opportunity to B2B E-Commerce
Case Study: How to Bring B2C Growth and Opportunity to B2B E-Commerce

In this case study, we explore how Farmer Boy took control over its brand and website to stay competitive and boost revenues. Highlights include:

  • Why Farmer Boy focused on efficiency and agility
  • Ways to build relationships at scale and drive sales by offering a more connected customer experience
  • How to build with the future in mind

Table of contents

Take control of your brand and website to increase efficiency and stay agile
Build relationships at scale and drive sales by offering a more connected customer experience
Build with the future in mind by laying a solid foundation for growth
Build on tradition, prepare for the future

Despite the necessity of developing an eCommerce presence and the certainty of the ROI, few businesses relish making a significant investment in their eCommerce strategy. Yet, recent research finds B2B companies see digital interaction with customers twice as important today as pre-COVID-19.

The PA-based company, Farmer Boy, opted to lean into its vision of the future and its desire to compete with significantly larger companies by expanding online. This new case study uncovers how, since launching with BigCommerce, Farmer Boy has experienced growth in sales, average order value (AOV), customer reach, and much more. Case study highlights include:

  • How Farmer Boy learned how to take control over website changes to increase efficiency and stay agile
  • Ways to build relationships at scale and drive sales by offering a more connected customer experience
  • Lessons learned: How to build with the future in mind by laying a solid foundation for growth

such a connected consumer marketplace, it’s not uncommon for a backyard farm hobbyist to use an eCommerce website to sort through options for a small chicken coop and accessories.

But what if we swap the hobbyist for a large family farmer, and the backyard for multiple acres?

It may seem unlikely that the needs of both those customers could be met on a single eCommerce platform — but that’s exactly what Farmer Boy has accomplished.

Research from McKinsey & Company finds B2B companies see digital interaction with customers twice as important today as pre-COVID-19.

Working with eCommerce design agency Guidance, Farmer Boy redesigned and re-platformed it’s existing B2B and B2C eCommerce website on BigCommerce. As a result, Farmer Boy was able to:

  • Take control over website changes to increase efficiency and stay agile
  • Build relationships at scale and drive sales by offering a more connected customer experience
  • Build with the future in mind by laying a solid foundation for growth

“BigCommerce gives us control over creating the experience we want to give our B2B and B2C audiences, which is very important as we grow and start to compete with companies significantly larger than we are today,” said Brian Marquette, Digital Marketing Manager at Farmer Boy. “We can focus on both of these opportunities at the same time, with the same website, and we’re very quickly seeing the results of that investment in our website.”

Here’s how Farmer Boy is putting its best foot forward in the digital economy:

Take control of your brand and website to increase efficiency and stay agile

In the previous era of eCommerce, brands like Farmer Boy would often have to commit to rigid, limited eCommerce platforms that were difficult to maintain. Essential website and revenue-related decisions, such as making changes to the website, running timely promotions, and adding or updating products or images, was a drawn-out process that required multiple people and multiple steps to complete.

BigCommerce’s seamless, out-of-the-box functionality and platform flexibility allows Farmer Boy to take more control of its brand and website. Marketing and product teams can quickly brainstorm and push out new products and promotions as they see fit, without waiting for the middle-man to make the changes.

“Our previous platform was very rigid, and we couldn’t make many changes on our own,” said Marquette. “There were also significant limitations to the website on our end, ultimately making the owners feel it wasn’t the look they wanted to give customers. We were ready to take that next step for the growth of the company by creating a website that looks fresh and new.”

Build relationships at scale and drive sales by offering a more connected customer experience

All eyes are on customer experience for B2C, which often focuses on user experience and user interface elements of design, speed, and functionality. B2B eCommerce requires all these features at an order of magnitude, as Farmer Boy’s B2B customers often represent mixed buying groups with multiple stakeholders and differently negotiated price breaks assigned to each account.

“Being able to fully transact and produce an automated quote based on pricing negotiated between the merchant and retailer completely changed the way Farmer Boy transacts with customers.” – River Korn, Account Director at Guidance

“Chatting with customers has opened up to more inquiries and sales, and we’re having conversations we weren’t able to have before.” – Brian Marquette, Digital Marketing Manager at Farmer Boy

On its previous platform, Farmer Boy couldn’t facilitate this kind of complexity. The process required barriers between the B2B customer and the final purchase, such as a consultation with a sales professional and a 2-3 day turnaround for the estimation and quoting process. Farmer Boy digitized these processes and streamlined its customer experience by deploying three key improvements with BigCommerce:

  • Findability: B2B buyers can find and research the products they’re looking for through hierarchy, search and widget product recommendations instead of relying on a salesperson to suggest related items.
  • Accounts-based pricing: Seamless integrations allow B2B buyers to accurately estimate the cost of products based on their unique negotiated pricing while sharing pricing and availability with the B2C audience.
  • Chat: Farmer Boy has unprecedented access to B2C and B2B customers through on-site chat options, leading to helpful insights about customer behavior and increased sales opportunities. “It isn’t just the number of products in a catalog that can make re-platforming a challenge,” said River Korn, account director at Guidance. “The number of attributes and custom specifics associated with them, ranging from important product dimensions to the associated animal for the product, has a big impact on customer-experience factors.”

Korn continued: “Using BigCommerce and a product inventory management app like Salsify, we were able to create a single source of truth where product details live and could be included in search functionality throughout the site, dramatically increasing product findability and ensuring B2B customers could accurately estimate the time and cost of shipping their large orders — processes that used to require several days, several staff members and a fax machine.”

Build with the future in mind by laying a solid foundation for growth

Despite the necessity of developing an eCommerce presence and the certainty of the return on investment, few businesses relish making a significant investment in their eCommerce strategy. Farmer Boy opted to lean into its vision of the future and its desire to compete with significantly larger companies by expanding online, and since launching with BigCommerce the brand has reported growth in sales, average order value (AOV), customer reach, and more.

Replatforming to BigCommerce allowed Farmer Boy to take what were once rigid, complex processes and own the process themselves. Now B2B customers could self-serve for large portions of the sales process, easing the demand on the customer support team and freeing them up for more strategic work. And planning promotion and pulling off special deals for the B2C audience was a simple tweak, not a time-intensive request for a technology partner.

Competing with bigger and bigger retailers in the space, Farmer Boy is now equipped to scale its business from a firm foundation and pursue growth on its own terms.

“It’s a huge part of our goals to grow our parts and supplies business over the internet and expand our reach in the continental U.S.,” said Marquette. “Since releasing the new website, we’re reaching more customers than ever before and taking market share away from our competitors.

“BigCommerce allows Farmer Boy to position itself for incredible growth and possibilities. The website has established the baseline — now it’s just a matter of driving more traffic to the solid ecommerce experience they’ve built.” – River Korn, Account Director at Guidance

Build on tradition, prepare for the future

Both B2C and B2B buyers have spoken — eCommerce is no longer a nice-to-have feature of the technology vanguard. It’s an essential, powerful sales driver and customer-relationship builder for any business that wants to increase its sales and revenue. Unique to the B2B industry, however, are themes of exponential product and fulfillment complexity, and introducing a new generation of B2B buyers to an eCommerce experience. BigCommerce allows hybrid companies, such as Farmer Boy, to balance both the consumer-friendly B2C experience with the scale and gravitas of a volume-heavy B2B business — and do so quickly, easily, and effectively.

Source: BigCommerce