Tuesday, 23 January 2018
Online configurators are at the center of the customization trend because it offers the potential to increase revenue and gain competitive advantage.
The uniqueness and complexity of B2B ecommerce
The B2B market is unique because often the products are more technical and complex compared to B2C. Most products also include a long range of different price and configuration opportunities, meaning that the customers are presented with a variety of different options.
So the challenge for most B2B companies is how to guide the customers while simultaneously giving them the independence, which they desire? When you have two competing objectives, delivering the best customer experience gets tricky. The answer could be product configuration.
Empower your customers with online configuration
Online configurators are at the center of the customization trend because it offers the potential to increase revenue and gain competitive advantage. Configurators provide a user-friendly and speedy way for building unique and customized products, while gathering customer preferences for marketing campaign purposes and for standard product improvement.
For companies selling complex products and for their customers, there is an abundance of benefits to product configuration:
The Lindab case
The international corporation, Lindab, is a great example of company that successfully complies and utilizes the rising B2B customer demand for increased self-service and the ability to quote complex and unique products. The company develop, produce, market and distribute products and system solutions primarily of steel to simplify construction work and improvement of indoor environment.
The primary customers are craftsmen, who spend most of their time at the worksites with limited time for product ordering. Therefore, the Danish Lindab department decided to improve their online customer service by adding 24/7 access to customer self-service and product configuration.
“The product configurator allows our online customers to easily design and configure different parts and components and to get an instant quote. It is very dynamic and has given us some excellent feedback, because we’re empowering our customers with something that they cannot get anywhere else.” Says Erik Areskog, Manager of Integration & BI Services Group, Lindab
Lindab expect the improved online customer service to generate additional upsells, because it makes the ordering process more appealing and easy-to-use for the customers. In addition, it will reduce the future time spent on processing orders, especially compared to orders by phone, fax or email. From now on, the customer himself will do most of the work:
”We now expect to process the average webshop order in only three minutes, which is half the time spend on the previous setup. On top of that comes an additional 20 seconds administration per single order line, which equals a lot of valuable time spent on a yearly basis. The general savings are generated partly due to the customers being able to complete their own orders and because of the increased automation and ease-of-use from the integration between Dynamicweb and Dynamics AX.”
However, Erik Areskog emphasizes the need for a proper ERP integration to support the product configuration. Otherwise, you may end up compromising your own advantages:
“Our German webshop still lacks ERP integration. It generates so much manual and resource consuming work that all potential savings are lost. It is only beneficial to the customers.”
The Lindab case shows how easy it can be for your customers to buy complex products in no time. You are no longer constrained by the hours of a few product experts or the limited inventory on your shelves. Product configuration allows you to spend valuable resources elsewhere while you empower your customers to take full control of their own needs and wants at any time and any place.
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Continue reading up on this series here:
Part 1- B2B Expansion