The UK has the largest e-commerce market in Europe. In fact, almost 60 million people make their purchases online, leaving a tiny minority as solely non-digital buyers.
For anyone selling VoIP solutions, it has become imperative to have exposure, and this starts with your very own self-service platform.
Think of this as your digital salesperson, helping you scale, keep costs down, but ultimately, ensure sales are churning through, and without the same level of human intervention
What is a self-service e-commerce platform?
Digital self-service in VoIP or UCaaS solutions typically refers to offering online support to customers without the need for human assistance, leveraging tools such as FAQs, chatbots, support portals, and forums.
By enabling digital self-service, organizations can provide customers with increased speed and convenience when resolving issues. Research indicates that many customers prefer to solve their own problems rather than engage with customer service agents.
The same can be true for B2B buyers, which is why we also believe that future digital self-service solutions in our industry will incorporate a more traditionally B2C e-commerce aspect, allowing businesses to purchase VoIP licences and numbers online, then having those solutions deployed and provisioned without human intervention.
Recent research by McKinsey indicates that 70% of B2B customers prefer doing business remotely using digital channels, while 97% of buyers are now willing to carry out digital, self-service purchases exceeding £40,000.
Traditionally, businesses have been forced to use a paid e-commerce solution hosted by an e-commerce provider like Shopify, or they can host their own site. Either way this requires either specialist resource or an additional cost.
However, for channel businesses selling VoIP solutions – TelcoSwitch customers will soon be able to build fully white-label ecommerce sites, with easy-to-use configuration, rather than requiring advanced coding expertise.
What are the advantages of self-service?
We have hinted at core benefits, so let us dive even deeper, and explain why self-service has become so important in VoIP sales.
Time is money, so speeding up the sales process is best for you, and the customer.
Consider how some people know what they want, they simply need to acquire this, and others who do not want to spend hours learning about products from people, but rather dictate how and when they consume information.
In both cases, your self-service platform will streamline their experience, with pages dedicated to simply making a purchase, and others which broaden people’s knowledge of the subject matter.
B2B buyers can quickly find the licence type that meets their needs, make the purchase online, and have implementation delivered digitally through mobile or desktop applications, you can even offer a free proof of concept trial to help buyers consider options.
For enterprise businesses or those with bespoke requirements, this end-to-end level of self-service is not viable or preferable for channel providers. In those instances, a consultative approach – adding value to the customer – works most effectively and helps with customer stickiness.
However, the PSTN switch-off will see vast swathes of SOHO or micro businesses soon to be in the VoIP market. Face-to-face delivery of a service that may be £4.99-£9.99 per month for these customers is unlikely to ever be profitable.
Being able to build inbound campaigns to attract these customers and convert them online with a far lower cost of acquisition means that sales representatives can spend more time focused on larger, higher value deals.
Where people can only work for so long and travel so far, your self-service platform is a permanent source of selling all-year round, and without logistical restraints.
Not only this, but there is no real limit to the volume of transactions that can be conducted at one time, again, something not possible from humans, who can only deal with customers with whom they have actively engaged.
The platform can also grow with your brand, with changes easily made to reflect current trends or deal with emerging demands from customers.
This could be integrating fresh communication channels or adding new products which make use of recent technologies.
How to create the perfect self-service platform
We have considered the benefits of digital self-service for ecommerce, and the justification for why VoIP resellers should consider building their own online sales presence, so now we will discuss some considerations for how to make your site stand out.
Know your customer
Get to grips with the end-user, as this will be different in relation to your chosen industry.
Selling to IT companies? They know the lingo, so just give them what they want. It’s OK to use industry terms and phrases.
Are you more concerned with a specific industry such as freight and logistics? Maybe here the key is focusing on specific requirements of that industry, using less technical jargon, and making clear recommendations to point them in the right direction.
Customer profiles inform everything, from marketing messages through to functionality, so get inside their head, think what they think, and use this to fuel every decision.
Let your brand shine
Branding represents what you stand for.
It is a powerful way to connect with people, so long as this reflects their values, and ultimately, represents the solution to a common problem.
Position your products accordingly, so that end-users can instantly see how this will always be the place for unified communications systems, business productivity, or whatever primary desire they share.
Give Google what it wants
You cannot sell products without meaningful online presence.
Google still calls the shots, which means following its best practices will ensure you’re left, right and centre when customers come calling.
For self-service platforms, it’s well worth learning about core web vitals, as these demand websites be fast, responsive, and without unnecessary content.