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Maximizing E-Commerce ROI: The Importance of Customer Portals in LBM

The TOOLBX Customer Portal account overview (platform screenshot)

The concept of customer experience in the LBM industry today has evolved beyond traditional face-to-face service. It’s an all-encompassing journey that includes every interaction a customer has with your business, from an initial online search to the final delivery of products. Each interaction can shape a customer’s perception of your business.

One of the most significant recent advancements in enhancing customer experience is the growth of e-commerce. Although the intricate nature of material purchasing has caused LBM dealers to adopt e-commerce at a slower pace compared to other sectors, many overlook the comprehensive impact that an e-commerce platform can offer. Crucially, websites play a significant role in assisting sales, even if transactions don’t occur directly on them. They are also instrumental in product exploration, decision-making processes and self-service.

The emphasis on e-commerce is increasingly shifting beyond mere transactional convenience to becoming a pivotal factor in elevating customer experience and improving operational efficiency. A recent report from the Distribution Strategy Group on the state of e-commerce in 2023 highlights this trend: the primary goal for the majority of distributors implementing e-commerce is to enhance customer experience, with 47% identifying it as their top operational priority. This is closely followed by objectives aimed at boosting operational efficiency and productivity.

What makes for a good customer experience? There are generally four key attributes that determine a good customer experience:

  • Speed: Speed translates to fast customer support response times, quick product discovery on digital platforms, and a user-friendly website that facilitates efficient self-service for ordering and account management.
  • Transparency: Transparency means providing clear and accessible information on products, including live inventory availability and pricing.
  • Personalization: Personalization involves offering tailored recommendations based on the customer’s purchase or browsing activity, along with individual pricing.
  • Consistency: Consistency is about ensuring uniformity in pricing and availability across all sales channels, whether online or offline. It’s crucial that customers receive the same information and experience whether they’re shopping through a website, a sales rep, or in-store.

A Customer Portal redefines the e-commerce experience by focusing on holistic customer engagement by enabling customers to:

  • Instantly view their order, payment, and invoice history
  • Check their account balance
  • Download and pay invoices and statements
  • Enjoy multi-user access with distinct role permissions
  • Update their payment methods
  • Place orders online with tiered pricing
  • Message their sales rep for quick communication
The Projects page on the TOOLBX Customer Portal gives users a convenient overview of project balances with quick links to related information (platform screenshot)

These features of a Customer Portal effectively embody the four pillars of a great customer experience. They ensure speed and efficiency in transactions, provide transparency in product availability and pricing, offer personalized account management, and maintain consistency in the user experience across various interaction points.

Aside from the upgrade it provides to the customer experience, the increase in operational efficiency and productivity that an online customer portal creates is a significant benefit to investing in e-commerce for dealers:

  • More customers ordering online
  • Reduced manual processing by sales reps
  • Lower customer service costs due to increased self-service
  • Improved order accuracy
The Invoices page on the TOOLBX Customer Portal allows users to organize invoices by project and pay securely online (platform screenshot)

Within the LBM industry, TOOLBX’s customer portal exemplifies this level of interaction and personalization. Their platform represents a deep understanding of the modern customer’s needs and a commitment to delivering an experience that goes beyond the traditional. The synergy between backend efficiency and frontend user experience is what sets apart their solution from traditional providers.

For LBM dealers looking to enhance customer loyalty and stay competitive, embracing such innovative solutions is not just an option; it’s a necessity for success when investing in your digital customer experience.

Discover how you can upgrade your customer experience and operational efficiency. Book a 30 minute demo of the TOOLBX platform today at toolbx.com.