Even before businesses were disrupted worldwide, many B2B organizations were already lagging in their digitization. With the average lifespan of a website lasting 3-5 years, most were still running web stores that their business had long outgrown or evolved beyond. But digital disruption in 2020 made the need for sophisticated e-commerce more critical than ever. Many now find themselves two steps behind the pack: hoping to navigate disruption and level up their e-commerce.
Learn the 4 tips to take to future-proof your business — while still battling the impact of disruption:
- Determine if, when, and how you’ve outgrown or out evolved your e-commerce.
- Assess the impact of disruption on your business or industry.
- Consider the short game: What’s missing to evolve your web store?
- Consider the long game: Your tech stack, scalability, required upgrades over time.
Melissa: Hi there, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. Today, we’ve got Sana here. And we’ll be talking about achieving digital transformation amid disruption and some tips to navigate this. My name is Melissa. I’m a marketing specialist here at Encore. And today we have Giovanni here. I’ll just let him take it away.
Giovanni: Thanks, Melissa. Appreciate the intro and kind of the partnership with Encore so far, and, yeah, thank you all for joining. I would say, you know, Melissa said it well, today, what we’ll try to go into is just some critical insights on the impact of disruption in 2020. On businesses today, obviously, you know, every business was affected differently. But I think what we established was that, you know, digital transformation was a key force. And I think it’s established itself as the, you know, number one priority for companies.
So, I think, with that in mind, my goal today is to just get you up to speed on what the industry trends say for companies in terms of, you know, digital transformations on the lenses of e-commerce and kind of what you should be looking for as you navigate through it. So we’ll try to give you these four concrete tips on, you know, navigating this market both if you’re already doing e-commerce and considering kind of your next step as well as if you’re not doing anything there and trying to, again, start that process.
Yeah, my name is… Just to give a brief introduction, my name is Giovanni. I’ve been a channel sales manager here at Sana for over five years. I was actually born in Italy and moved to the U.S. So that’s a bit of background on me. And my focus in terms of Sana and our commercial team is on SMB and mid-market. So that’s where I work with companies every day just addressing kind of their needs and also potentially see how we can have them grow in terms of their, you know, paths to potentially grow into more mid-market and enterprise. That’s obviously my goal.
But, yeah, in terms of just getting started a little bit more on the agenda, I think I wanna split into three parts actually. One is to talk about e-commerce before the disruption, so some challenges that have always been there in terms of starting with e-commerce and going down that path and just giving you some ways on how to identify whether, you know, it’s the right moment for you to actually consider either switching to an e-commerce platform or taking that first step into a new e-commerce project and platform.
The second phase, I wanted to just talk about how, you know, disruption has changed the e-commerce game, what constants, you know, we can still rely on, and how, you know, Sana Commerce addresses the challenges that, you know, mainstream applications face and how you can actually navigate those disruptions and kind of plan for your future.
In terms of the third piece, I also want to spend some time to at least go through a very high level of the Sana solution, our platform, and how it, you know, leverages both e-commerce sales for both direct-to-consumer, B2B as well as customer portals, so looking into the different facets that go into a potential e-commerce web store and the information that you want to display and provide to your customers.
So just in terms of the e-commerce challenges that we’ve always known, so I don’t think, you know, COVID has affected this, but probably maybe it just, you know, sped up that process. But what we’ve seen is that, you know, obviously, traditional buying habits have changed. And we’ve obviously seen these changes across the direct-to-consumer market. We see this in, you know, our day-to-day lives. But I would say that the main change is obviously that B2B buying and selling has now officially transitioned to the digital world. And we now really see B2B sellers embracing digital transformation, you know, in pursuit of both that efficiency and sales effectiveness that they’re used to in their expectation when, you know, in B2C shopping.
So, I would say, just to add a little bit on these numbers, according to a survey of more than 200 B2B companies, more than 50% still had yet to launch the traditional e-commerce sites. So, you know, we’re still seeing a lot of adoption happening in the market and a lot of customers making that step. But then, you know, we see 3 out of 4 companies or 75% of those companies have already stated the plans to have one within the next year. So, a lot will change, and a lot is already changing in the market.
So, as you see here, you know, B2B e-commerce is expecting to increase, you know, 10% year over year. And just, you know, the plans of companies are really showing this trend in terms of having at least a digital presence available as, you know, things change in the world. And the world’s moving more and more towards…kind of away from the brick and mortar space into digital commerce.
So as we again talk about, you know, say, those companies that have finally realized that this now is the time to start with e-commerce, there’s obviously challenges we’d go into that. And, again, these were already there, you know, before COVID, and a lot of it is usually on struggling to deliver, you know, the same experience online as made them successful offline. So I think a lot of my conversations with customers, we’re making that first step, definitely involved… You know, we have our process now. That process works. Obviously, we want to automate a lot of it and, you know, continue to deliver the same value but at the same time scale it in a way that we’re just opening up to more revenues. But, obviously, as you do that, there’s, you know, errors and frustrations and disruptions from a lot of different sides. And, typically, they have to do with how, you know, your IT architecture and how your stack is set up for success as you go around that e-commerce plan.
So the risk is obviously that, you know, we’re damaging long-standing relationships with customers, which we don’t want. So we want to, you know, from day one to set up ourselves for success in order to leverage those relationships and make sure that we’re actually addressing what customers really want as they, you know, change the way that we operate and work with us from more of an offline and handling touchpoint by working those personal relationships with sales reps or customer service into a true, you know, e-commerce setup. And, obviously, you know, we want to make sure that we avoid having, you know, e-commerce compromising our success but actually drive and lead through it.
So, just going back to what we were talking about in terms of those causes and usually what are the challenges when going into e-commerce and addressing this online-offline experience gap, it usually comes down to these three main buckets, compromise convenience, reliability, and evolution. You know, the first point is make sure and avoid that our customers don’t have the right level of self-service or that their, you know, information is not personalized enough, or it’s incomplete, or there’s missing information. So we wanna make sure that the convenience that they had when, you know, picking up the phone and getting to that, you know, price or inventory is the same as they would get in getting to that level of information when they’re browsing and accessing the portal.
The second was reliability. So make sure that, again, with that in mind, the information that they’re seeing across the different buying channels is the same and it’s consistent and that there’s no order delivery errors or inaccurate information that are usually caused from siloed systems or, in general, systems that don’t really talk to each other. And that ties in to compromise evolution. So having siloed systems will, you know, make it slow to adapt to customer needs and market changes or just slowing, in general, when making a switch to either, you know, one of those IP platforms and set-ups and just will lead to an inability to constantly add value to customers and improve on that customer experience as they keep, you know, buying and ordering on the site.
So I’d say, with that in mind, the second tip that, you know, I wanted to talk about today was how to realize and know whether, you know, you’ve either outgrown your web store or just need to evolve in terms of the next step in terms of e-commerce and digital transformation. The first one is lifespan or maturity. I would say when talking to customers that are approaching us about potentially a new web store, we usually see that the average lifespan of their previous endeavor in e-commerce is around three to five years. And so the question is, you know, has anything changed with your market, customers, or business since then? The answer is typically going to be yes, there’s a lot that has changed since, and there’s obviously adjustments that need to be made.
Obviously, the key is having and working with a solution that’s able to, you know, work and adapt with those needs and, you know, able to either deliver or make the changes that you want to continue delivering that added value to customers. But then it also comes to a point where maybe the solution that was built five years ago was a legacy solution, then, you know, you’re looking to move away from that. And that’s when, you know, you’ve realized that probably that web store has been outgrown and there’s a need to evolve.
The second piece is more on the type of market that you’re addressing. And this is actually something that we’ve seen as being very common in 2020, of customers that were typically more, you know, serving a B2B audience. And, you know, usually, this will rely on more manufacturers and wholesalers but then now will realize the need to go and sell direct-to-consumer, so opening up a completely new channel for sales. And this obviously, you know, involves switching the priorities and also addressing a completely new customer segment with obviously different types of information, different types of content that we’re delivering to them, but also a different type of experience. So this is when, you know, customers will reach out to us and ask either, you know, if we can deliver that B2C side along with their B2B side. We’ll actually do both at the same time, sort of what we’d call a hybrid fashion.
The third piece is their results, so actually taking a step back and looking at, you know, has your web store actually improved the way that you’re currently doing business and, you know, what your KPIs for measuring, you know, those successes are. In one case, it’s usually around kind of the stagnation of customer adoption. And that typically is a sign, obviously, that, you know, your web store will need some changes or adjustments. And also, you know, what we typically ask is, you know, have you surveyed your customer? And what is the reason for that lack of adoption? Do they still love it? Do they still find the information that they’re looking for?
And, for example, if we’re looking at one of the KPIs, which is, you know, offline versus online sales, what is the reason for, you know, your customers still using that offline channel, still calling those sales rep or sending those manual emails instead of accessing the site? Getting to the bottom of those answers and realizing while they are, you know, on the web store they can’t find, you know, specific level of information will help you realize, you know, what needs to change on your web store, what information, you know, you need to add. And that’s typically also how you realize, you know, what your solution will end up looking like as you think about potentially evolving and moving to a new web store.
So now, going back to, you know, the disruption or, you know, everything that happened last year with COVID, so, you know, what are some things to change and what hasn’t changed? And I think, obviously, as we talked at the beginning, adoption to e-commerce channels was something that was already happening. You know, it was something that we, you know, were talking about as a e-commerce and B2B e-commerce company. But, obviously, we’ve obviously seen a huge leap in adoption in terms of e-commerce penetration. Again, in those 3 months of 2020, that would have probably equaled, you know, 10 years of growth if there wasn’t that disruption. So that the world is moving towards this, it’s just…you know, whatever happened last year just accelerated it to a certain extent.
And I would say, in general, a lot of what we saw is that a lot of companies that were ready for that change and had invested in e-commerce and their digital presence obviously thrived, especially at the beginning of the pandemic when a lot of other companies were still struggling. And, again, they were able to deliver some value that a lot of other companies were unable to. So, for example, just having, you know, real-time stock availability accessible for the customers in times where global supply chains were disrupted and, you know, a lot of companies, you know, didn’t know whether they would be able to guarantee those stock to customers, I think that was a huge change.
The second piece is just as, you know, brick-and-mortars and retail locations flows, how were we still able to deliver that experience to customers? And, again, we obviously heard a lot of this, you know, in the news and in our day-to-day lives as we’ve seen the food and beverage and our, you know, daily purchases that this was obviously happening in B2B in the B2B world as well. So, obviously, businesses with an online channel were just positioned better, and they were able to, you know, embrace a revenue stream that wasn’t dependent on foot traffic. But, you know, how they were able to do it was just, you know, getting ahead of that change. And so I think the messaging here is just stressing the urgency because something like this, obviously, could happen again, and being able to address it, obviously, is better once those routes are already set into place.
And now, you know, obviously, wanted to switch a little bit on what we saw earlier in terms of those three blocks and look at how, you know, Sana addresses those and how we can actually unlock that, you know, e-commerce and ERP-integrated e-commerce experience as we go to it. And I think in the first piece, the total customer convenience, the way that we want to make it for our customers just to have, you know, a modern and easy-to-navigate website that’s intuitive and that it allows in fully omnichannel customer experience where they’re able to, you know, work across different channels. Again, it may be B2B or direct-to-consumer, but also past financially growing and working around different marketplaces but just delivering just a more convenient purchase than picking up the phone or sending that email.
And the second piece and actually the way that we achieve that convenience is by making it as reliable as possible in terms of finding that information, that accurate real-time data, or that specific pricing logic, you know, stocking availability. And the way that we do it is, again, tying it to the ERP data and making it so that the data that we use for e-commerce is the same data that’s, you know, internally in the ERP, and that’s all in real time. So guaranteeing, you know, a fully reliable, you know, one-stack solution where the data that someone will see when a customer rep accesses the ERP is the same one as the data that customer sees when they log into the site or when they access their own portal and see their own pricing.
And the third piece, which, as we talked a little bit about earlier, gets typically a little bit, you know, under considering is the evolution piece. Having a fully ERP-integrated solution that can grow and scale with your ERP is obviously key. One key example, especially when talking about the ERP stack, that probably the audience here knows more as, obviously, for companies that are on more legacy-type solutions, such as NAV, and GP, the ability to know that, you know, a solution like Sana already has, you know, ERP-integrated touchpoints in both NAV and GP but also in Dynamics 365 Business Central.
So, if you are considering and already planning ahead to, you know, in three to five years upgrading to that D365, you know, BC or F&O stack, know that, you know, Sana is scalable enough to be able to enable that digital transformation either way and able to still maintain that web store as you continue to grow, potentially adding new brands or business units and just adding that on top of your current offering and just guaranteeing, in general, you know, responsively designed web stores that keep growing as soon as you also just want to enhance the capabilities, either through email marketing or just marketing automation flows that will allow you to just keep scaling and get more customers along the way.
And, you know, kind of summarizing that in terms of either embracing, you know, those constants for success, even amid disruption, so things that I would say will never change and will keep working in terms of starting and working around e-commerce is obviously to meet consumers’, the sky demands. The key piece is obviously just trying to survey them and understand, you know, how much time they’re currently experiencing in either placing an order or finding the information that they need. If you realize that, you know, they’re spending a lot of time and they could potentially, you know, find that information quicker to competitors, that’s a great sign to understand, well, we need to start catering for that particular customer segment and just improving the way that we actually service them.
And on the flip side, realizing how your internal processes work in terms of, you know, how much time you’re currently spending in terms of taking in orders without an online presence or, you know, you may have an e-commerce web store but that’s not, you know, used and adopted enough. So that still means that your team is forced to, you know, do a lot of these things manually.
And, you know, going through the list, again, I think offering strong user experiences and a great value as customers browse through the site is obviously key and just, you know, I would say staying true to the values and mission of the brand and keeping that consistent across the different channels that you’re selling to. But also I think the fifth one is also key in terms of just master, you know, business agility and being able to constantly add value as also what the customers’ needs change and also what you’re providing them does.
So I think that’s mainly the accelerating war. But I would say, in short, B2B businesses are largely still facing, you know, a lot of the same issues. As usually, they’re simply just doing it in a more digitally-driven world and realizing that the organization is struggling to maneuver around the complexity. You know, and the true way to become actually future-proof is through a digital transformation across the e-commerce channel, I think, is key to embracing, again, these changes.
The last piece is, you know, how can we learn from what happened in 2020? And what are maybe some successes that were actually enabled by these disruptions and some of those changes, and how did our customers navigate that disruption?
So, I think, in this survey, I think we identified seven key goals that our customers were able to tackle with Sana Commerce as their e-commerce partner. And, again, I think we talked a little bit about earlier, but e-commerce is typically not seen just as a strategy or a product or a solution itself. But it usually encompasses a lot of different departments within the company. And it’s just a key to or a tool to help you evolve in terms of, you know, achieving the digital transformation and scaling to the platform that you want to be.
So I would say some of these pieces actually show how our customers leverage. Sana truly integrated e-commerce solution to achieve what they wanted. Obviously, a key is just improved customer relationships. Our goal and our mission is to, you know, foster long-lasting relationships rather than, you know, just simply enabling transactions. We wanna make sure that our tool is, you know, both a tool that is used to sell products but also to manage relationships, both between, you know, sales rep and customer success from your team to, you know, different stakeholders within the customer team.
And I would say, you know, a new key piece is just being able to just introduce new product lines and test how those are received with customers. We had, you know, one customer who was dealing and selling only B2B in the oil and gas industry, and they quickly pivoted to sell hand sanitizer, obviously, in the March and April, when there was a huge global shortage of those items. So, obviously, quickly changing and adding that to business models is obviously key, and this could happen also in the future.
As we go back to the sell direct-to-consumer and expand the business model, this is something that I personally experienced a lot in talking to companies last year, and I would say it’s probably a constant trend that will continue to happen as we move along in the future. And, obviously, the last piece, and this, I think we’ve experienced it, but our customers are definitely starting to get to it, is embracing global expansion and, you know, realizing that you may start with a web store that is addressed and attracting to the North American market. Maybe you’re already starting to see how this could affect potentially different customers in the U.S. and Canada. But then others are already starting to notice and starting to think about, you know, potentially opening it up to the EU, UK, you know, the Middle East, Australia.
So there’s definitely ways there where we can help and, again, the power of our ERP-integrated solution that you can also leverage kind of those changing frameworks in terms of an ERP point. One key point that usually comes up is, you know, being able to work and show inventory across different warehouses and being able to leverage that from any location based on where you are. So these are, you know, kind of the small things that we do to bring and obviously help in embracing this global expansion as we keep moving forward.
As I mentioned, you know, I promised to spend some time at least on going through a solution overview of Sana. So let me change the application. So, hopefully, you should be able to see my screen with my solution overview. And this is just a small background. Our demo website, we chose Outdoora. It’s a company that sells plans, bikes, and gardening equipment. The goal here is to show, you know, both an open catalog e-commerce solution, as well as see what happens when we move into more of the B2B space and kind of a logged-in environment. But I wanted to just highlight a few things from, again, the site, which are key. And then we can already highlight what differentiates Sana’s approach and our integrated e-commerce approach to more of the traditional mainstream approach.
So let’s say one piece here that you’ll see is you’ll see a catalog show up at the top of the page. That’s a common, you know, piece that accommodates a lot of Sana Commerce web stores. That the main goal here is that we’re tying the information that we’re publishing to customers about, you know, our team, our company, our solution to the catalog. So we can use Sana both as an enabler for that marketing content or that, you know, corporate-level information you wanna display to customers but also immediately tie that to a product catalog where customers can, you know, look up products and see your product offering.
So, that’s the first thing that you see here is, again, as I start, you know, typing here in the product search, I can see that there’s a dynamic search to my catalog back in the ERP. The types of products that, you know, you want to show here is actually determined by you, and it’s actually done within the ERP stack. So, in terms of the level that Sana handles and works with the information, the key and core information such as, you know, product information, skewed level data, pricing inventory, that’s all directly coming from the ERP. So we’re not handling that separately. So at the end of the day, that means that you’re working with one database rather than two and no need to replicate and duplicate a lot of that information as you go along.
Again, just wanted to give you an example. As I click through on one of the product categories, you’ll see that we can leverage and showcase a lot of different product subgroups. And, again, these can be set up just by looking at the product hierarchy in the ERP. So that’s something that we can do, as well as, you know, showcasing some additional products and product subgroups as we, you know, drill through the website.
One thing that is also noticeable here is that you can see these, you know, search and navigation filters. These are actually the attributes that are coming straight from the ERP. So we’re not, again, duplicating that information. You know, the color, the depth, the species, these actually are attributes that were set up in the products, and we’re just leveraging to enable our customers to find the products that they’re looking for.
One additional note that I wanted to say is that the front-end architecture that Sana is built on is React. It’s kind of the latest and greatest in terms of front-end technology, same as used by the LinkedIns and Gmails of the world. And this allows us to pre-cache and preload a lot of the information which makes the site, you know, as dynamic and flexible as possible and super quick and reactive to the expectations of a customer’s experience as they browse through their journey. So there’s no, you know, waiting for products to load, there’s no reaching the end of a catalog page and clicking, you know, between 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. So they’re still in the same page. And this is obviously huge for e-commerce, you know, conversion, getting them to actually come in and place products on the cart. But also just adoption, in general, because there’s no risk that, you know, a customer can spend, you know, hours just getting through to the site that they’re looking for.
As we drill through the individual product detail page, what you’ll see is some elements between information that we’re taking from the ERP and some information that we are adding and enriching on Sana. So also showing how Sana can be a great, you know, product information enrichment tool and a great CMS to essentially enable the type of experience that you wanna guarantee both for a direct-to-consumer audience as well as more of a B2B type audience. But as we show, again, a product information page, we see that, you know, the product name and the item number, these are coming directly from the ERP, same as the pricing.
As we notice here, we’re still, you know, not logged in. So we have the ability to either, you know, showcase a list item price for the general public. We can see there, you know, exposing some level of volume discounts. So if I were to add, you know, five products to the cart, I would see that there’s a particular level of discounts associated. And this is all dynamic calculated, leveraging both, you know, and pricing logic that was maybe applied in the ERP or directly in Sana.
But then as I go back to the product page, I can see, again, price, stock availability. I can see, you know, in stock or out of stock immediately, and I can potentially, you know, work with variants if I have them set up in the ERP. Typically, if we’re working with an ERP such as, you know, NAV or Business Central or React, we would be able to leverage these in terms of, you know, working with, you know, five or six different skews. But I think one main skew is in them leveraging the variance part for that. Sana, again, because of our ERP-integrated level, we can also reach the units of measure, so things like pieces, boxes, packs, we’re able to uncover. And as you can see here, if I move it to a box, I’ll see that that also impacts dynamically the availability as well as the price, so everything’s dynamic.
As I drill down in the product detail page, I’m sure you’ve noticed the video banner that shows up. This is actually something that we have set up inside the Sana CMS and what we call the admin panel. So as we talk about, you know, products and the information that we display, we have certain information that’s fixed and that’s usually going to be relevant for all customers. But then for each individual product detail page, you are free, you know, and flexible to add any type of content that you think, you know, would make that buying experience better for the customer.
So in this case, we’ve added, you know, a product banner, and it’s exposing a video link from YouTube. But potentially here we could add, you know, a banner that exposes a certain promotion, so actually leading them to order more products, maybe doing some cross-sell and upsell, and, for example, here, we can also see that mix and match going on. So if you’re buying the leaf orchid, we’re also recommending you to get the lilies and the tulips and that different type of work.
So cross-sell and upsell is actually also driven from the ERP. We’re leveraging either the related items or a tab in whatever ERP you’re using or recommended. So we can use those, you know, ERP tables to power how we do cross-sell and upsell. But also another use case that’s typically very common is, potentially, if a given product is not available, we can either, you know, showcase a lead time for that product or even say, you know, if that product isn’t available, you should check our recommended products that you might be able to order instead if you don’t want to wait for that given lead time.
And as we drill down to the rest of the product detail page, we see things like descriptions, specifications. So, again, these are the attributes that are coming straight from the ERP, potential attachments, so either, a brochure, a warranty overview, or a particular drawing on how that product is set up, as well as reviews. So this is also something that you can leverage, as, you know, e-commerce adoption data shows that it’s always better when there’s reviews and where a particular other person has left and said that they’ve ordered and used it. So those are usually great for conversion.
So this was just a high-level overview on kind of how the information is set up and the type of tools that you may be able to add. I wanted to quickly switch and show you what happens when I’m actually, you know, logged in into the site, so show you a little bit, of differences. So if I come in, and log in, let’s say as a customer that in this case is, you know, browsing from a different country, we can essentially select the type of data that they see. So, for example, if this customer is now logged in from Europe, what they’ll see is now pricing in euros versus dollars but also potentially also real-time availability in stock. So we’re able to segment and personalize the type of information that we wanna showcase to our customers based on who they are, where they’re from, and the type of information that they added in the ERP, which unlocks, again, this type of customer-specific level data.
So, again, it’s customer-specific pricing or a particular discount associated with that customer for a particular product group but also unlocking a lot of the information for that customer that he can then, you know, come in, check his account, and track, you know, all of the information related to him that’s in the ERP. So the customer can track, you know, all their pending orders, the ones that, you know, still have to be shipped, as well as potentially the ones that have been shipped and just, you know, check the status, you know, when the potential ETA, what are the payment terms, etc.
So these are all relevant information that typically customers will reach out to your customer service team or sales reps team for. This typically involves spending a lot of time hand-holding on manual-type transactions that, you know, sometimes customers don’t realize but typically that takes…you know, that starts to add up. If you have, you know, 100 of these requests every day, and each of them takes between, you know, 5 and 10 minutes, that’s already, you know, almost, you know, 7,500 minutes that you’re spending every day across your team on handling these requests that they could potentially handle on their own as they browse through this catalog.
And, obviously, customers are also looking for this type of information. As we talk again about things like quotes or invoices, this is typically a huge selling point for a customer to say, you know, you can also move your entire accounts receivables and accounts payables process through this portal. Send, you know, a customer a link for an invoice, it will lead them to this. They can, you know, see the posted invoice detail information. They can download that given invoice, and they could save it for the purposes without, again, sending you an email and asking you for that information. But then I can also come in and pay that directly. So, you know, if you wanna leverage, you know, credit card payment, we can also have them both pay, obviously, you know, products through traditional e-commerce, also pay invoices.
So as I think we were talking earlier, usually, e-commerce is seen as this very transactional tool, mainly for product selling. But it’s obviously, you know, a lot more. And what we’re doing with Sana is enabling not only those, you know, base-level type transactions for products but also all that goes around it, which, again, is the things like orders, quotes, invoices and potentially giving them, especially from a B2B side, the ability to come in and say, “You know, I had this order set up last month.”
There’s a lot of, you know, repeat order that happens in the B2B space. So we can leverage and give the customers the possibility to come in and reorder these same products and add them directly to the cart. So they will add to the cart. I’m able to potentially make some change in terms of quantity, might be able to, you know, now order 10 instead of 1. And as I have this information, I can, you know, go in and request a quote, if that’s kind of the business process that you’re leveraging and using right now, or proceed directly to checkout.
So this is kind of the last piece of, you know, the journey that I wanted to show you. But having the customer be able to completely self-serve and walk through a complete order process when they’re, you know, going through Sana is obviously a key piece. As you know, they’re able to, again, leverage information that’s coming from the ERP. For example, you know, a common request is, well, we have different shipping or billing addresses associated, you know, to our account in the ERP. We can leverage those. Similarly, as to, you know, leveraging different shipping or delivery methods, Sana integrates out of the box and, you know, FedEx, UPS, and USPS. So we can leverage those systems and those rates.
Same way we can be pretty flexible in terms of the type of payment that they look to have. We can have them pay an account and leverage, you know, not 30, 60 terms, and have them, you know, pay months later. Or, you know, if that preference is to have them pay right away with the credit card, we have a credit card PSP provider that we’ve now productized, leveraging Adyen. So that’s now been productized into Sana pay, or we can leverage, you know, 20-plus credit card merchants that we can leverage for credit card payment. So the goal, again, is maximizing the type of information that we’re showing to customers but also delivering the journey that allows them to place orders and find the right information that’s as easy as possible, even, you know, showcasing where, you know, we’ve added the discounts and, you know, showing where that logic comes from. And, typically, again, that would be in the ERP.
Lastly, some additional pieces, we can have them select the reference number, some comments in terms of how to handle the shipment, as well as the requested delivery date. So just, again, ensuring that this information is properly stored, and as I, you know, as a customer proceed to payment… And, again, I needed to select an address. As we proceed and finalize this order, what you’ll see now is that this order has now been created in the ERP, and this is actually… It’s been written back to the ERP. And this has already been written back into Sana, showing the information around that sales order with the sales order number that’s coming from the ERP as well as, you know, status, shipping methods. So this information is now both accessible for either the sales rep or a customer service then that needs to process it internally. Both from your internal side as well as on the external side, the customer can then come in, download this order and send it and…or forward it to their accounts payable team if this was paid on terms, for example.
So there’s a lot that we can do to, again, enhance that experience. As we talk more, again, B2B type transactions and B2B type relationships, just to touch on a couple of other notes, one is, you know, we can enable return orders. So I know there are some companies that do returns, others that don’t. But the ones that do realize that they’re spending usually a lot of time handling returns because this is typically all done manually. Someone, you know, needs to call in or send in a form. What we can do in Sana is have them, you know, create that return request right in Sana, either tie it to a potential quote or invoice or potentially to a product saying, “You know, I ordered the Falco 2. It was actually you know, damaged or, you know, didn’t fit the description.”
I can potentially file an attachment and showing how that product actually looks like if it’s damaged, and I can just complete the request. And this will create a return request inside the ERP directly. So I can also put some potential reasons for returning. And these can be, again, set up in the ERP and synced and integrated into Sana. But there’s just, you know, one way that we can save a lot of time for our customers just by enabling these more customer-service-type requests rather than through e-commerce.
The last piece is around, you know, credit and credit notes. What we can do is, for example, for customers that maybe are above their credit limit and have a lot of outstanding invoices, as they log in, we can potentially, you know, shop a banner saying, “Please go and take care of your open invoices before being able to place a new order.” And this is something that we potentially showed the multi-language the ability to kind of work around the different languages here. But as, again, they’re potentially above their credit limit, we can even stop them from placing an order and have a notification appear in the shopping cart.
So this level of personalization can go even deeper. And I wanted to give you a quick example of how that looked as I now change the experience and log in as another buyer. And I want you to… You know, before doing that, I wanted you to picture potentially the levers to which you might be currently segmenting your customers, either based on some types of tiers, some customers have, you know, gold, silver, bronze, like customers related to the level of relationship that they have or the type of discounting that they have. But, typically, you might also have it related to maybe product groups that you sell. So, again, maybe in the case of Outdoora and tying it to this example, we might have, you know, customers that are only interested in plants and others that maybe are more prone to buying the bike.
So I want to give you a small example of how it would look like if I was, you know, a bike dealer and was accessing Sana. This is the type of experience that we can show them. So as they log in, we can completely change dynamically the type of experience that they see as they log in. And as you can see, we’ve stripped out entirely the rest of the catalog of Outdoora that’s not relevant to Stefan, because, again, he’s a bike dealer, and he’s only interested in the bikes catalog, you know, the e-bikes and the outdoor and urban bikes. And, again, this could happen the same way for someone who’s just interested in plants and is not really interested in buying the bikes.
So this level of both customer and catalog segmentation is done through Sana by both leveraging the ERP segmentation, so leveraging things like customer segments and customer assortments but also in Sana and potentially even displaying different catalogs and having these banners and segmented based on who’s actually logging in the customer. So I wanted to give you this example as I think it could be leveraged in a lot of different ways by different customers. So I thought this would be at least interesting to showcase in this setting.
As we talk about the different experiences that we have in Sana, I mentioned there were three. So one is the more, you know, B2C experience, which, you know, no one being logged in. The other one is the B2B. The third one that I just wanted to quickly touch on as sometimes this might be, you know, a huge proposition, something that customers are really interested in, is potentially giving sales reps access to Sana and having them…enabling them to place orders right within Sana by representing a customer, let’s say.
So, if I logged in as a sales rep, I can then come in hit Represent Customer, choose the type of customer that I want to either, you know, place an order for or kind of check pricing or status. So as I go in, if I go back to my previous customer, Frank, I can see that, for example, you know, he has, you know, four products in the cart. So if let’s say they also call me and say they’re having issues processing or finishing that order, I can give them a hand and do that for them. But I can also then come in, you know, if they ask what’s my price for the Shimano bikes or, you know, how many of it in stocks. I can also do that by logging in on their behalf and potentially even place that order for them.
So a particular element that’s typically used is maybe by tying this to quotes, so potentially, you know, adding products to the cart but then not going through a full sales order but potentially just, you know, creating a quote for this and having them later, you know, coming in their account, check their quotes, and potentially see, you know, the quotes that were generated by my sales rep and potentially either, you know, download that order, download that quote or convert it to an order, or give that go-ahead to do that quote to order conversion.
So there’s a few new elements that we can leverage. And I think the key point here in allowing sales reps to, again, place orders on customer’s behalf and represent customers in that buying journey is typically the use case of moving salespeople and sales reps away from the ERP, which is, you know, usually something that, you know, sales and commercial teams dread. So, once you give them a new…you know, another experience to do that, you know, it moves away from the ERP and moves them to a front-end portal that’s, you know, again, not only customer-facing but that could potentially be leveraged by the internal team as well.
I have a couple of minutes left. I also wanted to save some time for questions. But maybe I wanted to just show you a couple of use cases here and there to show you the breadth of the content elements that Sana has. One that I think it’s been really powerful and customers really appreciate as we started productizing and including the product is what we call a Lookbook. So being able to either dynamically offer, you know, a nice image, maybe think of, like, a company that sells furniture, they want to showcase, you know, a kitchen or a bathroom and then spotlight the individual products. This is a great way to do that and make it dynamic and allow them to add products to the cart directly.
The other piece, which is a little bit more B2B and more geared for manufacturing customers with a lot of spare parts component to it, is enabling this exploited spare parts chart where you can, you know, showcase either a drawing or a particular piece of equipment that you’re then selling the spare parts for and say, “You know, you can just click here on the given part, and we’ll tell you which product or a kit or, you know, part you’ll need to order in order to replace that.”
So this puts…again, it gives the customer much more information than they would if they just saw, you know, this list of parts and they weren’t sure whether…you know, and they didn’t have the spare parts associated with it. We just wanna, again, improve that buying journey and that experience for them by enabling, you know, greater information and more accessible level of information for someone who was going in and buying those parts.
And, again, we’ve done some pretty cool web stores for customers, especially in the last year. I can spot, like, this IPG, which actually just recently went live. And, you know, they sell, you know, large laser machinery and equipment, but they wanted to leverage Sana for their spare parts. And what you can see here is that they have some products that they are open to selling to the general public. It’s these, like, lightweight, handheld devices. You can configure them, you know, 5 meters or 10 meters. I can add them to the cart. But then they have a completely other section for more legacy and enterprise-level customers who have bought their own, you know, laser equipment from IPG. And to access that information, actually, you have to be logged in.
So they’re also leveraging for equipment and parts, kind of that hybrid model of Sana, to be able to showcase maybe a level, you know, a portion of the catalog to the general public but then hiding another one to maybe more established customers. And what they’ve done here is, again, they’ve added a component to it where they can see…you know, after logging in, you can see your own equipment and then order the spare parts associated to that. So that obviously makes that buying journey and customer experience a lot better.
The last piece that I wanted to show that we’ve included in our latest product, and it’s actually a pretty recent change that we’ve added and embedded, and this, by the way, is the Sana admin panel, what I was talking about in terms of how you manage the information and configuration of the site. But we’ve also included a full suite around insights and reporting that’s been very well received in terms of just giving the information that you need to succeed as, again, either you’re moving to e-commerce or measuring the success of it.
So in this case, I can, for example, filter immediately by orders that were offline versus orders that were online. And I can technically see where they stack, you know, how they’re matched, which type of products or customers are, you know, being ordered more online versus offline. And I can also make that comparison either, you know, per region, per industry, product group. So I can really learn the insights of how is my e-commerce website adopted, how can we improve on it, and how can we potentially give access to our customers to this information.
One, actually, thing that I usually like to show is, for example, I can showcase how products are typically ordered by a sales rep or account manager. So I can technically see that, you know, Barbara’s customers are ordering online a lot more than Matthew’s. So there’s maybe some learnings that we can leverage and use to see, you know, what Matthew could potentially do to allow his customers to order more online. And maybe the insight that we got is because, and, again, maybe here it’s to navigate around, you know, things like product, is to see a given product, maybe, you know, the outdoor furniture is missing a key piece of information that customers need. So that’s the reason why they call in and they typically do this order offline.
But I just wanted to show and, you know, go through a little bit of this because, again, it touches not only key, you know, web metrics but also components that tie in to both Google Analytics and clickstream analytics, so percentage of customers that have adopted the store, but also how do we optimize the experience for those customers. You know, how many page views does it take for a skew to get ordered? Or how many sessions to an order do we have? And, again, we’re using and leveraging information, not only from, again, a web-based point of view but, again, also an ERP standpoint. So we can… Because of our integration to ERP, we can see, you know, how and if, you know, certain products were ordered offline versus online and also leverage that information to our customers. So it doesn’t need to come from the online channel. But we can actually combine those two data points and make a conclusion around it to see how we can, you know, improve and keep growing the e-commerce presence.
So I felt like that was good to show. The last maybe element that I wanted to show is, again, going back to what I was speaking earlier about the customer service element and leveraging just Sana for a potentially online portal. This is something that we’re seeing customers starting to do more and more, just leveraging Sana for kind of that online portal experience and that 24/7 self-service. This is our customer, ParTech, and they’ve actually decided to, again, split those two parts.
They have an e-commerce component to their site where someone can come in, check the products, and potentially place an order. But then they have a completely separate, you know, the self-service portal that they leverage for things like order statuses, open offers, you know, invoices, and the opportunity to request and order new items. So they’ve, you know, set it up as kind of a separate instance and that you can either… If you’re already an account, you can log in, but also you can leverage this information for new customers.
And, again, I just wanted to kind of give the audience here kind of the different breath, because, again, there’s obviously different types of companies, different types of products. But these, you know, give you some ideas of how our customers have leveraged Sana over time. And maybe going back to my final piece here, and let me go back to our overview, just in terms of, you know, summarizing kind of four tips as, again, we’ve walked through both kind of what we’re seeing in the industry in terms of navigating the disruption and going into e-commerce and what our customers have done.
I would say, number one, again, understand the causes of, you know, online-offline experience gap and how to mitigate them, I think, you know, just getting ahead of it and understanding some of the, you know, challenges in going offline and how you can address them from the get-go typically by having as less of a siloed approach as possible and more of kind of only one single set approach.
The second piece is just when and understanding how you’ve outgrown your web store and need to evolve or, again, if you’re not even doing e-commerce at all, understanding that, especially on the B2B side, there’s still, again, a large chunk that still hasn’t gone down that path. It’s, again, one in two companies still haven’t. But then there’s also the understanding that a lot of companies are considering and realizing the need to go down that route, and that’s gonna continue, right? And that’s both in terms of new e-commerce projects, but also as, you know, the e-commerce market becomes more and more mature in terms of the B2B space and its adoption, you can obviously see how quickly it is to outgrow this web store and continue to have it scale and evolve, which, also leads to the question of whether, again, a legacy type of approach is typically not as beneficial as maybe a fully SaaS model where you keep getting value out of your solution, automatic upgrades, and so on and so forth.
The third one is just understanding and stressing the urgency around digitization and agility around your company and, again, making the pitch internally to find a common path for e-commerce that encompasses different departments. It’s an IT project, but it’s also a marketing project, it’s also a customer service project and a sales project. So coming together and realizing the urgency in terms of a, you know, corporate, unified, you know, transformation strategy rather than just a siloed IT only, marketing only, and customer service only, and vice versa.
And just I think the overall message is just embrace the constants of success, even amid disruption. I think now that we’ve kind of gone to calmer waters in terms of, you know, the global overview and especially in terms of e-commerce and disruption, I think that was a great time to kind of reset, retool, understand how we can better improve your digital presence and your services prior to the customers. And I also…again, I just wanted to stress the importance of serving your customers, realizing how they like to do business and, for example, try to avoid risks such as, you know, a competitor going down the e-commerce route and making it a lot easier for your customers, so kind of a more reactive need to adapt rather than more proactive.
So, hopefully, this was helpful. I, again, wanted to thank you for joining. I think we have, you know, five minutes left. So if there’s any questions, please either send them in the chat, or I don’t know if you can speak them out loud. If not, you have my information here on the slide. Feel free to call me. That’s my number. And feel free to send me an email if you have any additional interests, any questions to your particular use case and how potentially Sana could be a fit. And I think what I’ve tried also to show and talk about today is how we have met the needs of a variety of different customers with very different needs. So there’s probably going to be a scenario we have already heard of or that we’ve seen, so feel free to reach out if that’s the case. So, yeah, again, thanks for joining, and I don’t know, Melissa, if you see any questions on the board or have any thoughts and final thoughts as we…
Melissa: Yeah, thanks so much, Giovanni. So I don’t see any questions coming in here. But absolutely please reach out to us or to Giovanni if you have any questions. Just wanna let everyone know we did record this today. We’ll be sending that out to everyone. And thanks, everyone, for joining us. I think we can say good afternoon now.
Giovanni: Thank you, Melissa, and appreciate, you know, your help and support in the partnership and look forward to kind of next steps and the conversations with anyone who has attended or will see this session in the future.
Melissa: Great. Thank you.
Giovanni: Thank you.
Webinar - 3 New Features in 2023 Release Wave 2 for Dynamics 365 Business Central
In this webinar we will discuss 3 new features planned to release in D365 Business Central 2023 Release Wave 2. Learn about the new functionalities and how you can plan and prepare to integrate them.
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Webinar - D365 BC Release Wave 2
9:00 am – 9:25 am PST