Today’s distributors have some of the most upward potential around due to their ability to completely transform their business into a modern one that meets and exceeds buyers’ expectations for how purchasing cycles should work, at work.
Episerver Most Valuable Professional (EMVP) Lori McDonald recently wrote an article on must-have ecommerce features for distributors. McDonald, President and CEO of Brilliance Business Solutions, shared with us how those requirements are met with Episerver.
Lori, you wrote that faceted search helps buyers cut through tens of thousands of SKUs to get what they need quicker. How do you recommend distributors use Episerver to provide this key function?
McDonald: Episerver Find is a SaaS cloud-based Enterprise Search solution that supports faceted search with fast retrieval of results and features such as boosting products in search results based on weighting algorithms and spelling suggestions. What I also like about Find is that it enables distributors to index PDFs and other websites, allowing you to have search results that display not only your products available for purchase but also content resources that may be valuable to your buyers.
You also mentioned the need for more dynamic pricing. Tell us a little about that and how you use Episerver to provide that functionality?
McDonald: Business purchases are more complex than an average retail order. Pricing may be baked into a contract or “grandfathered” in over time. As such, distributors need a system that makes it easy to manually or even automatically set pricing parameters for all types of customer segments. All these use cases are supported by Episerver and more. Episerver provides an API to update pricing from your ERP, even enabling you to set a start and end time for the pricing, so you can update pricing that will take effect in the future.
Why are account-level controls so complicated and how does Episerver help?
McDonald: Supporting multiple users per account is one of the requirements that can be the trickiest to address with many software platforms on the market, and yet it also is a frequent request from B2B distributors. Episerver provides a framework that supports this user model, and we built an accelerator called Catalyst for Episerver that enables us to deliver this functionality quickly and cost effectively.
There’s a great need for distributors to use content to complement their commerce experience. As you know and wrote, buyers want to research products and companies themselves to make a confident decision without ever picking up the phone. What does Episerver offer in this regard?
McDonald: There are very few software platforms that do commerce and content well. This is one of Episerver’s greatest strengths. Don’t take my word for it. Episerver is a Leader in Gartner’s Web Content Management Magic Quadrant for the fourth year in a row, and they also appear in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce. What inclusion in both reports tell me is that they are driving the conversation around commerce only being successful with content and content needing a vehicle to sell through commerce. They’re becoming one in the same and Episerver is a big reason why.
When it comes to personalizing the distributor e-commerce experience, what does Episerver offer?
McDonald: Episerver offers a suite of personalization tools to support growing revenue and adding value for your customers. This includes the ability to show related products on a product page, or personalize featured products on the homepage, as well as showing additional products to consider when products are added into their shopping cart, all based on their behavior on your site, as well as their purchase history with you. You can also personalize the search results that are shown to users and the products that are shown in marketing emails based on their behavior and machine learning driving the recommendations engine. Industry analysts have recognized Episerver’s investment in this space and Gartner named Episerver a Visionary in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Personalization Engines.
What other advice do you have for e-commerce distributors when it comes to choosing Episerver for their digital transformation efforts?
McDonald: Episerver has chosen to invest in technology that supports companies in building effective digital experiences for their customers – in any channel and on any device. That is what you will need to realize your digital transformation as you grow. In addition, Episerver is a framework with a low total cost of ownership. Upgrades are fast and inexpensive, meaning that you can spend your money on future improvements instead of in maintaining the status quo.