How do you solve daily procurement with your webstore? – Going beyond customer service

in B2B E-commerce.

By Tyler Tworek, Second Phase Client Success Manager


The modern convenience of our online shopping experience is so powerful that it has shaped the way we live our lives both online and off. The distributors I work with everyday pride themselves on customer service. And most will agree that quality customer service is the number one differentiator between your company and a competitor given otherwise equal product offerings. But how do we extend the top-notch customer service that wins customer loyalty in our physical stores to the e-commerce space?

When a customer comes into their local hardware store, for example, they willingly pay a few cents more per item than they might at a large department store because of the experience their local store provides.  Whether it’s a one-off bolt they need help finding, or a home improvement project that they need some recommendations for, people buy from vendors that they know and trust. So the question becomes: how do we become trusted advisors to our customers in the e-commerce space, when we might not be able to earn our e-customer’s trust with a quality face to face recommendation? How do we translate a friendly, in-person display of encyclopedic product knowledge in our industry to the digital world?

These are the questions we live for at Second Phase and are constantly asking ourselves to help our clients better distinguish themselves from their competitors. Our most recent answer to this question comes in the form of a webstore feature we call “QuickBuy Groups”. The aim is to give our clients the tools they need to do some of the work for their customers in the same way that they would help a customer in a physical store. There’s no reason why you can’t help a customer at home getting ready for a project in the same way that you would in the store. In fact, it’s even easier (and more cost effective) to offer this type of experience on a web store.

In our physical stores, we might package certain parts together for a given project so a customer can pick up everything they need to paint a room for example with one purchase. Brush, roller, stir stick, pan, and tape all together in one package. These types of product grouping aren’t something you can achieve through intelligent faceted search, or drill down categories, without messing with your drill downs in a way that wouldn’t make sense for customers trying to find specific items rather than a group of products.

In the same way that I don’t enjoy searching through 10 different aisles in a large, understaffed hardware store; your customers don’t want to click into 10 different product categories to find everything they need for a single project. Our QuickBuy groups feature gives our clients the opportunity to offer project-based bill of materials style product groupings to their customers in one convenient place. For Elecrical distributors, this has meant offering product grouping based on conduit size while B2B distributors in other industries are leveraging the same feature set to sell configurable products and kits.


Whatever the use case might be, it’s become evident that if you aren’t going the extra mile to give your customers an easy shopping experience, someone else will. The thoughtful creation of BOM lists with input and feedback from your customers is an effective way to show your commitment to a best-in-class B2B customer experience. Go above and beyond traditional customer service and you’ll forge relationships that last and will ultimately translate into recurring revenue you can count on.