Recently Domino’s Pizza announced that customers will be able to tweet Emoji to order a pizza. Emoji are those little symbols that teens and millennials text, tweet and load up in their Instagram comments.
Lots of people missed the real point about this announcement. It is not about Emoji. It is about serving existing customers. Not only do you need to be an existing customer for the Emoji tweet to work, but you need to have a standard order saved with your account. This means that this is more than a system designed to meet their customers online. It was designed to serve only their best customers. The ones that order regularly enough to have a standard order.
If you look at the best customers of your B2B company, do you have some that have standard orders? Do these orders have a regular frequency? How do they confirm them? These days it is probably an email. Can you remove some friction and make these orders even easier to place?
When I worked for a small manufacturer in the 1990s we required that all orders came in via fax. We needed a paper copy of each order and we were discouraging telephone orders. The fax copy served this purpose and it had a signature. This did not change when email came into the picture. For a while we still required the hardcopy fax. We did eventually move to email ordering and it made life much easier for everyone. Not only did we have a paper copy, but we had a digital copy too. But more importantly, it was a lot easier for our customers.
Do you know what percentage of your customers have smart phones? Do you know how many would be willing to place orders if you removed the friction? According to an IDG global mobile survey, 92% of senior executives own a smart phone and 77% report using it to research a product or service for their business. Most use a laptop or desktop to make their purchase, with 45% citing security concerns of the mobile web and 43% noting the lack of a mobile-friendly website.
And if you take this one step further and think about a Twitter order. Do you know how many of your regular customers are on Twitter? Let’s ignore the marketing problem of that question and examine the steps of the process:
- Your customer enters a standard order that can be shipped or invoiced based on a tweet.
- Your customer authorizes certain Twitter accounts to place these orders.
- You and your customer agree on the text of the tweets. These don’t have to be Emoji. They can be text. Since Twitter is a public network, your customer will want to mask their order a little bit. And note that this process only works if it is already known that your customer buys from you.
- You establish a confirmation response, whether through Twitter or another means. You can establish a separate Twitter account to automatically respond when the order is processed.
This becomes like an automated subscription service, but with a manual trigger that happens to be public. Maybe you are selling 500,000 bolts to a manufacturer every month. Due to a slight production slowdown, they need their next shipment in 33 days instead of 30 days. This can help them easily manage that delay of just a few days.
A benefit of a program like this is some social proof. Having companies order from you in public becomes another form of a socially-promoted customer testimonial.
This is not just for products. Service companies can consider a system like this where existing customers regularly renew monthly service agreements based on their needs.
Share why an approach like this would work or would not work for your B2B company either in the comments below or on Twitter.