Over the years, I’ve built a short list of companies that I turn to when embarking on a fresh project. They’ve come through again and again, so I’m happy to recommend them to you.
BigCommerce isn’t just a B2C platform. They are making major strides in the custom, B2B market. Full disclosure: They are an MDM sponsor. But I’ve used BigCommerce for several years (before I was at MDM) and have found the way they combine Software as a Service and customization to be second to none.
In one instance, the customer was frustrated after IT failed to create what they needed after six months. Using BigCommerce, I built a microsite for a customer in a week. You can get to market extremely quick.
BigCommerce relies on both a template system and application programming interfaces (APIs) to keep their stores running and provide flexibility for their B2B customers. Early on, the APIs were not as stable as I would’ve liked, but in the last year they have made serious improvements. You can now confidently access 95% of the BigCommerce features through an API. This allows you to build custom apps and rely on BigCommerce to run the core functionality of your store.
Their “Price List” feature release last year solved major problems for B2B companies that need to have customer-specific pricing. It allows you to easily set prices at the customer level (called customer group in BC). You can actually set this up without a developer — a big win for smaller operations or pilot programs.
I leveraged the order API to build a custom checkout, as we weren’t collecting credit card information. All customers were on account. This allowed us to easily build a frictionless checkout that met our customer’s specific needs.
Ways you can leverage BigCommerce as a distributor include:
- Test ecommerce with your customers without much up-front investment
- Build custom applications for your customers and sales team and leverage BigCommerce for checkout and PCI compliance
- Build custom checkout experiences for your bigger customers
- Leverage BigCommerce’s order API to automatically push ecommerce transactions into your ERP
CallRail is a call tracking program that is flexible enough to use for several different applications. With the ability to tie offline conversions to a specific online campaign is invaluable to marketers. Especially when dealing with the complexities of B2B wholesale distribution.
I was first introduced to CallRail about eight years ago. At the time, when I called, I worked directly with Andy Powell, one of the cofounders who happened to live in my hometown. They’ve grown tremendously since then but still offer a great service.
I used CallRail to convince a business owner that they were spending way too much on traditional marketing. Turned out, they were spending $1,600 per new customer acquisition. And for that business, that was a loss the first year.
We were disciplined to use call tracking numbers for all of our traditional campaigns. We eventually were able to shift that budget to digital and lower the cost per acquisition to less than $100 per acquisition.
Ways you can leverage CallRail as a distributor:
- Track all calls from your offline marketing materials
- Track calls generated from email, PPC and organic traffic. You can get a pool of numbers and track all the way down to the keyword or ad clicked. It’s very easy to install on your site.
By the way, you can port all of the numbers you want to keep long term to your carrier.
Feedonomics is a full-service feed management software. They take product feeds, clean them up, optimize them and send them to Google, Facebook and anywhere else you want them.
What I love about Feedonomics is the way Brian Roizen and his team are willing to go the extra mile to get your data ready to go. In one case, IT was unable to get our data out of the ERP and over to Feedonomics. The data was on our website, so they scraped it from there and built the feed for us.
What makes Feedonomics different from other feed managers is their willingness to tackle customer problems. Their platform is really a solid ETL (extract, transform, load).
They also do a great job optimizing data for Google’s shopping feeds. I’ve seen definite improvements when they got involved.
Ways you can leverage Feedonomics as a distributor:
- Push your shopping feeds to them and let them optimize for Google and Facebook
- Turn bad data into something usable for your feeds
- Leverage as a connection point for internal and external systems when you don’t have the resources to build custom integrations
Unbounce is a landing page builder for marketers that removes the need for IT to build really great promotional pages. They leverage conversion centered design techniques in their templates. I find the Unbounce templates to be more professional than many of their competitor’s pages.
The real reason I love Unbounce is that I love to test everything! Better converting pages mean that you get more bang for your buck. You can easily duplicate a page and create a variation. Split the traffic across the two pages, and let Unbounce take care of the rest. Eventually, Unbounce will let you know which one is the winner. After several tests, you could end up with powerful landing pages that drive revenue for your company.
Ways you can leverage Unbounce as a distributor:
- Build lead generation campaigns for your sales people. Funnel folks from your own site or other advertising platforms. Figure out what works before committing to making major changes to your main site.
- Build your email list with a highly engaging landing page. Instead of just having a form in your footer with “get weekly emails” push them to a page and provide more value to inspire the signup.
Unbounce has integrations into most major email providers and other software. One of my favorite integrations with Unbounce is Speak2Leads. It converts web form submissions into phone calls by connecting your sales team and the customer. If they don’t answer, no worries, you can set it to try again six more times. Both sales and marketing love these guys.
There are a ton of innovative, digital companies out there. I’d love to hear about some of your favorites. Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.