eCommerce Strategic Development Manager - Global at Electrocomponents / RS Components
17 March 2008 10:34am
HI - Having recently been part of a B2B relaunch I'd recommend a warm up campaign to ease your customers into it. Where B2B sites have not changed significantly for a number of years and/or where customers use it as a main channel to transact or maintain their relationship with you it becomes integral to their way of working - almost the same as an internal IT system. If you were changing an internal IT system that your employees used you would give them warning and training, no matter how good the new system was you would not just go live overnight without any preparation. Put simply even if your current website is poor and fails on every level of usability your customers are used to it, change will put them into 'shock'.
A good warm up campign onsite and via email to let customer know something is happening and roughly when will put them in a better frame of mind to accept a new website, followed up with a onsite campaign to describe the main changes and benefits. This also helps them be a little more tolerant /understanding if you experience any issues on go live such as performance issues.
Some companies may have concerns about letting competitors know about an upcoming relaunch, but a) they are probably already aware, and b) what realsistically can they do just a few weeks before you launch. The risk is low and your campign does not have to go into specific details as to what is changing - but can be full of positive messages and emphasise points that changes are based on customer feedback/testing etc.
17 March 2008 11:08am
Just relaised I've entered this as a new post rather than a reply - meant to be attached to 'Relaunch of website: how doing it formal and big? - not just a randon rant/preach from me :-)
20 March 2008 19:18pm
I think most of what you refer to goes without saying, the art of communications is all about keeping customers / visitors / prospects informed on a non invasive need to know basis.
Might I suggest that when making dramatic changes, it if often best to position them as changes made by customer request, and really involve them and use their feedback from the outset, that way regular customers / visitors etc are aware, bought in and supportive of the change.
This is has been very common among internet banks, when making fundamental changes to their customer online accounts. We've worked on this for HSBC business, Bank of Scotland and Halifax.
Hope it helps
P.s No reason why this shouldn't be applied to consumer sites as well.
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