3 Ways Zest Is Best for Brand-centric Ecommerce Stores

April 22, 2024
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Corporate gifting is a massive opportunity for ecommerce companies.

It’s a treasure trove of growth the past few years, and there’s no slowdown in sight. And for brands that have tried every tool in their kit to stand out in the crowded DTC marketplace, it could be just the opportunity their bottom line has been begging for.  

The catch? Unlike the vast world of DTC tools that make running an online shop relatively breezy, B2B has been left mostly abandoned. Brands that have tapped into this lucrative channel have cobbled together their own ad hoc systems including some mix of forms on the website, spreadsheets, emails, and lots of manual labor. 

The practically ancient process has throttled how big the channel can grow for most brands. And if they turn to third-party corporate gifting platforms to leverage tech and get in front of this growing audience, they end up relinquishing margin, insight, control, and (most importantly) the customer experience with their brand.

It’s a tiresome lose-lose situation, and Zest is here to do something about it. There’s no reason DTC brands should have to sacrifice so much when trying to get ahead in the B2B gifting game. Corporate gifting is a deep pool of potential, and Zest is making it easier to dive into than ever.   

Zest is the only brand-first corporate gifting platform. This means ecommerce companies can now leverage sweet, sweet technology and run a fully branded corporate gifting storefront directly on their own website — not a marketplace or third-party vendor — complete with an intuitive shopping experience that feels as easy as DTC shopping. 

But what features truly make this modern corporate gifting experience aligned with brands? Why is it important for B2B to look and feel like a site’s DTC journey? Why the heck has it taken this long for innovation to hit this space?? See how Zest is the best for brand-focused ecommerce stores looking to scale their corporate gifting.  

Why It’s Important for Brand Experiences to Shine in B2B Gifting

Your brand is the cornerstone of your company. 

It encompasses all the touchpoints, feelings, and experiences shoppers have with your company. From a standout logo slapped on packaging, search bars, social media accounts, and more, to the intangible vibes between storefront and shopper, brand is a big deal in ecommerce. 

Marketing teams everywhere drop serious dough on branding along with tons of time testing, optimizing, tweaking, and translating it to every part of the customer experience. Today, more than 80% of companies try to compete on customer experience, and the reasons why are pretty clear:

The evidence for a top-tier CX is mounting by the day, which leaves more brands looking for ways to strike the best balance and top the competition. World-class brands work core tenets such as “positive,” “empathetic,” and “consistent” into every moving part of the customer journey to drive highly sought benefits like increased customer LTV, loyalty, and revenue.

But all of this left us wondering.

After putting so much time and energy into crafting a money-making, loyalty-earning, vibe-boosting DTC customer experience, why do so many companies settle for putting their brand on the backburner for B2B?

Odds are good that business-to-business, or corporate, customers are also DTC consumers outside their 9-to-5, so why shouldn’t the same brand-forward, fully optimized shopping experience they’re used to follow them from DTC experience to B2B journey with your store?

These customers are CEOs, founders, sales teams, HR professionals, and beyond who are craving a more thoughtful gift and ready to make a high-dollar purchase. Yet, many brands are forced to send these shoppers through an off-brand, time-consuming, friction-filled game of back-and-forth just to place a single order.

Zest imagines a world where corporate gifting is streamlined and enjoyable for the customer and the ecommerce company. A world where buying one or 100s of gifts is just as branded, optimized, and hassle-free as buying a pair of shoes for yourself. A world where ecommerce sites can uncap their corporate gifting potential and really start scaling. 

It’s time for brands to rip open this opportunity, and it starts by giving brands the best tools available built with them in mind.

Custom Domains Dedicated to Corporate Gifting

Your brand experience starts in the search bar. A domain name that features your brand name may seem like a subtle feature, but it’s one that reaps big benefits like trust and recognition.  

By default, every brand with a Zest-powered corporate storefront is launched with a domain name that puts the brand name before any mention of Zest. If a brand wants to take this a step further, they can share a few bits of information with the Zest team in order to set up a fully custom domain.

Brand-forward domain names instill trust in corporate clients.

Think of this storefront as a highly intentional shopping experience for your corporate customers. It’s a place to send your B2B traffic that is free from friction and distracting noise (but is full of your brand). And when the shopper sees the full flow with the brand name they know and trust up top, there’s less hesitation in making big corporate gift purchases.

Uniquely Branded Corporate Customer Accounts

Transparency and consistency are top attributes of a solid CX. In other words, customers want to come to your ecommerce store, know what they’re getting when they visit, and rest assured they can get that same experience every single time they visit in the future. 

(It’s one of the reasons Starbucks and McDonald’s are fast-food staples — customers know exactly what they’re getting every time they stop by.)

When brands rely on ad hoc corporate gifting processes, transparency and consistency are some of the first things to give way. For instance, gift processing times may fluctuate dramatically from Q2 to Q4, clients might be paired with different team members with each transaction, and availability of products isn’t super clear and could shift from conversation to conversation over the course of weeks.

A fully branded corporate account creates a source of truth for shoppers and tends your brand experience.

Alternatively, when a corporate client goes to a third-party gift vendor, they might be treated to more transparency and consistency with the ordering process, but it comes at the cost of a brand’s finely tuned customer experience.

Zest’s corporate gifting flow inherently combats any inconsistency in the ordering processing, but it also provides corporate clients with their own gifting accounts. Customer accounts are branded so they’re an extension of the entire experience, but they also provide these high-value customers a reliable place to track gifts, check receipts, and order more gifts from a brand. 

Ecommerce stores can also continue their brand vibes through finer details, like the name and description of these trust-building customer portals:

Name Your Gifting Portal 

What you call your gifting portal will appear on the customer signup/login page. The default name will appear as “Create your [corporate gifting] account,” but you can change this to however you refer to your gifting experience.

Add a Portal Description

Write a short and sweet description about your gifting storefront. This will appear as the short link preview description when the link to your storefront is shared. (Pssst, tis is also great for SEO goals and ranking for gifting.)

Transactional Emails Are Valuable Brand Touchpoints

The post-purchase experience has taken on significant weight the past few years. Historically an afterthought, it’s now seen as a phase of the customer experience that can make or break trust, loyalty, and brand recognition.

Zest understands the importance of all your touchpoints from your website to your post-purchase emails, which is why brandability is even baked into transactional emails sent to gifters.

Brand-forward transactional emails build trust with high-value corporate customers.

Instead of your gifters getting a surprise email from an @Zest address after they make a (probably) massive purchase, corporate customers receive all their transactional emails from a trusted brand's email sender like gifts@MYBRAND.com. 

Each email is another touchpoint in this new brand-first gifting experience that builds connection and keeps your store top of mind from gift purchase through delivery.

Zest’s Brand-first Platform Is the Fastest Path Toward Unlocking Your B2B Gifting

Yoink your ecommerce shop’s corporate gifting process out of the Stone Age and transform it into the fully branded (and fully delightful) experience it can be. Zest has finally modernized the archaic customs tied to corporate gifting of yore and made it possible to automate and scale this channel as part of your overall ecommerce strategy.

Corporate gifting is growing, and with Zest’s brand-first approach to innovating the space, you can grab this opportunity and realize this channel’s full potential — all without worrying about third-party marketplaces smothering your brand or ad hoc in-house processes bogging you down. 

With Zest in your tech stack, your brand will become a go-to for corporate gifters looking for a transparent, easy, and slick gifting experience.

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Liz Lorge
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