If you wish to exploit your full potential, then after-sales services, such as selling replacement parts and the provision of services, become increasingly important. This is also the case for B2B companies, in fields such as engineering and construction. It’s therefore important to use digital channels such as an online store, instead of the telephone or fax. In this article, Shopware Gold Partner GEDAK tells you how this works in practice and what challenges have to be mastered.
In general, industrial companies in Germany still have a lot of homework to do when it comes to__ B2B ecommerce__. More than 80 percent of them are too slow in implementing a digital shopping experience, as shown by the "High-Voltage Digital Sales" study by business and strategy consulting company Accenture. The study reveals: "Anyone who enjoys digital experiences in everyday life does not want to forgo them in a professional environment. Whilst most industrial companies understand the necessity of a digital transformation for the sale of machines, replacement parts, and services, only a fraction of them are already acting on it." The majority of industrial companies are said to still have a long way to go before they can offer their B2B customers a consistent and appealing multichannel experience; something which is common in other sectors. Yet multichannel is easy to implement.
Extending your online store into a service portal
The key lies in expanding your online store into a customer-friendly service portal. Shopware offers practical options for this thanks to its connectivity. One example is linking with Visual2Cart – software for the 3D visualization of components and replacement parts. Visual2Cart imports the required data from available sources such as Autodesk or PDM Vault and prepares it so that seamless, direct integration of the 3D viewer, the PDM data, and the ERP information in the Shopware B2B store is possible.
Upon logging in, customers see their systems and components. They can select the desired object and gain a 3D view which they can zoom in on. They have the option of adding the product to their shopping cart directly from the model or sending a preliminary enquiry. The ordering process can be set up individually in line with your company's targets.
In this video, you can discover for yourself how such a 3D visualization of assemblies and spare parts can look like in Shopware's B2B store.
Fast locating and ordering__
It’s important to configure an option to categorize, search for and filter components and replacement parts in the standard view. In this way, even without a 3D view, customers can navigate and request quotes using knowledge they have acquired from parts lists and catalogues.
A quick order page should be set up for customers who have all the data to hand and want the process to be fast – after all, time is a precious commodity in business. A quick order page gives the option to either manually fill in or scan an inquiry or order list and submit it.
Either from the 3D view or the conventional item view in the store, customers can choose which replacement parts they want to inquire about or order and which they want to exclude. Through the seamless integration of the 3D viewer, PDM data and ERP interface, as a service platform, the Shopware store always has information about stock levels, shipping times and customer-specific prices.
If your customer requires an approval process, you should specifically implement this in Shopware Enterprise. Once the maintenance engineer or technician has compiled their requirements, this request is forwarded in compliance with the processes. Via push or pull requests, the purchaser or supervisor can see the items and approve or reject them.
In addition, package prices and the latest service offers suitable for the customer can be shown directly in the store. Enhanced service offers, such as training sessions, can be displayed and offered with a personalized calendar.
Everything that is possible for replacement parts works equally well for documents, media, instruction manuals, videos, certificates, and more. Hotspots can be placed directly on the component or replacement part within the service platform. Your customers intuitively click on these points on the 3D model and receive all the documents about it online.
All orders can be viewed in the myaccount area. Your customer can retrieve all documents, irrespective of whether they are order confirmations, delivery notes or invoices.
Support that pays off
You can get support in implementing these processes specially for the B2B ecommerce sector from Shopware partners. They will implement your requirements professionally, including different languages, currencies, and individual agreements. The result is a platform through which your customers receive fast, direct access to your products and services. You can find the spare parts you need immediately, see them virtually as they are in the machine on-site, and can easily order them. You benefit from faster processes, satisfied customers, and more sales despite needing fewer manual resources.
Additionally, with a service platform like this, it’s much easier to take the next step to the Industrial Internet of Things and predictive support. In the near future, sensors on your systems will report any irregularities via the Wi-Fi in the factory workshop of your B2B customer. These reports can then be shown in the store – in fact, directly in the visualization of the machine. In this way, service staff are informed of possible future maintenance requirements when making purchases and can react quicker to them. But this is (for the moment) a view of the future.
About Norbert Haab
Norbert Haab is a Sales Manager at GEDAK. The company offers practical solutions for marketing, sales, and customer service. One of their areas of focus is on the development of web-based projects such as B2B online stores as well as software for sales and CRM solutions. GEDAK is a Shopware Gold Partner and the designer of Visual2Cart.
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