I just got back from a trip to Cleveland, Ohio where I visited two of our long standing clients. Nothing energizes me more than seeing our service in action at our clients’ businesses. Our Cleveland contingent really blew me away with their accomplishments.
In particular, our friends at Nordson, who were our very first award winning client way back when in 2008, have turned their SAP Integrated eCommerce website into what I can only describe as a corporate utility. Not unlike their electricity, water and phone systems, it’s simply a part of their infrastructure. In similar fashion to utilities, very few people at Nordson know how their SAP Integrated B2B eCommerce website got there, who is responsible for keeping it going, and they definitely can’t imagine living without it.
The question that I’m going to ask you in about 2 minutes is “how many people do you think Nordson has on staff to support their B2B eCommerce business and infrastructure?”
In the month of January, 3300 of their 17,138 registered users visited what they call “eNordson” on the average of 3 times each from 59 countries around the globe. While the vast majority came in from desktops (90%), over 8% enjoyed the eNordson experience from their mobile devices.
I’m not sure if January is a busy month for Nordson as a whole, but as B2B websites go, they registered an impressive 2200 web orders which generated over $13M of revenue. Customers placed 11,000 unique purchases of over 4000 part numbers. Of those 4000 purchased parts, 1771 (44%) were purchased only once in the month of January.
Lest we forget, well designed eCommerce websites are not only order takers. They also should provide good post order entry customer services. To that end, eNordson fielded over 3600 customer self service inquires in January about the status of product deliveries and requests for information about invoices. It’s hard to get an exact count, but there were an awful lot of requests for price quotes as well.
So, how many people are in Nordson’s B2B eCommerce department…including management?
Zero. Nada. Zilch. None.
Look Ma! No hands!
We’re running an $150M B2B eCommerce business without a single dedicated employee!
And that’s not a unique proclamation for the vast majority of Corevist’s clients.
How is that possible?
It starts by not viewing eNordson as a separate, competing, line of business, but simply as a way to become easier to do business with with their existing clients.
Nordson is already a very successful business with a rich product line servicing many clients in a variety of industries across the globe. Their entire business is (or will be) managed from order to cash by SAP. That means that they already have people and processes in place who are managing products, marketing, selling, delivering, supporting and managing relationships with their customers.
The key to running a hands free B2B eCommerce operation is to take advantage of all of that SAP infrastructure and investment by tapping into it in real time and doing so from the cloud.
That’s the magic of Corevist.
All Nordson really wanted when they implemented eNordson, was another communication channel that their customers and employees could use if they didn’t want to use their phone, fax, email and EDI channels. They weren’t interested in making a massive investment in a digital transformation that would overhaul their business and create a new digital fiefdom, and supporting ecosystem of service providers, that they would have to underwrite.
eNordson was the way to satisfy the growing demand for self-service in the digital age.
It is, I should point out, their only communication channel that runs unsupervised, error-less and without human intervention 24 x 7. 🙂
There is good news and bad news with evolving into a Corporate utility. Since we’re now akin to electricity and indoor plumbing, no one really pays attention to you until the lights go out or the toilets get clogged. That’s not the kind of notoriety that I yearn for.
Nevertheless, I’m mostly OK with that except for the fact that we’d like for our clients to notice us just enough so that we can share our ongoing innovations with them. But when you are a utility that “simply works” it’s hard to convince people that they should invest the time and energy to do even better. I mean, how do you get better than $150M in revenue with zero staff?
How about setting a goal to grow the business to $200M? or $300M?
Find ways to evolve your SAP Integrated B2B eCommerce website to serve more customers in better ways.
Leverage the platform to:
- get rid of excess inventory,
- accelerate the introduction of new products,
- cross-sell and up-sell to help your customers get more value out of their purchases.
- help your customers find the parts required to repair their machines quicker
- periodically suggest parts that they will need for their preventive maintenance programs
In my next blog post I’ll share one example of how our champion at Nordson won corporate recognition by doing just that.
He was able to leverage the Corevist platform to provide a new capability that attracted a new set of eNordson customers even though they didn’t even know they were using eNordson!
His ingenious solution provided customers valuable information along their buying journey while simultaneously reducing the workload on Customer Services!
In the meantime, if you want to learn how to ride a bike without using your hands, or make your customers and customer service representatives happier without having to add any complexity or staff to your business, just give me a buzz.