The vast majority of people who visit your website will come and go without a trace. That’s why it’s so important to get their name and email address so that, with their permission, you can continue to engage with them and move them toward becoming a customer.
Consumer ecommerce sites like Marshalls have estimated that, since most site visitors don’t buy anything, the lifetime value of a person that they get an email address from on the first visit is about four times greater than those that they don’t. This is so important that they’re willing to interrupt the visitor’s shopping experience with various offers of deal alerts or being entered to win a $100 gift card to get their email address.
Interestingly, while B2B companies have many offers intended to capture people’s contact information and permission, I’ve yet to see a B2B ecommerce site use this exact tactic to get a person’s contact information on their first visit. I don’t know if they’ve tried it and it’s failed, or they don’t think it’s appropriate for their company’s culture, or what.
Once you have the person’s contact information and permission you can email them, invite them to events, send them useful information tailored to their persona and buying stage, sell to them on your ecommerce site, and – possibly – eventually convert them into a customer.
Without that information, they’re just a shadow passing in the digital night.