Guest Post by Justin King, B2B Commerce Evangelist
Despite the approach of (yet another) winter storm on the East Coast, and freezing temperatures in the Chicago area, Oracle hosted the B2B Commerce Summit at the Chicago Fairmont Millennial Park on February 13. Joined by more than 150 attendees—most of whom hold Director-level titles at B2B organizations—the event focused on how B2B professionals can better use eCommerce to engage their customers.
With the Summit theme, "The Balance between Customer Experience and Complexity," the conference content centered around providing exceptional customer experiences amidst complex commerce requirements. Although B2B companies have complex customers, products, internal processes and internal systems, delivering unique and engaging customer experience is of utmost importance—and continues to be a critical competitive differentiator. Some key themes at the event included:
The morning of the event was all about complexity. Lawson Products addressed the complex nature of their product data and content and how they now have a single source of truth for customer facing product content. This single source of truth serves all of their channels that need product information and content. National Pen addressed the complexity of integrating with ERP systems. National Pen uses Oracle EBS for their ERP Systems and it is tightly integrated with Oracle Commerce to give a consistent experience online. National Pen also talked about the business tools that they use to allow their Customer Service Reps (CSR) access to that great commerce experience.
The Intersection of Content and Commerce
Peter Sheldon, principal analyst at Forrester Research, presented new research on the intersection of content and commerce. Whereas companies used to have separate marketing and commerce sites, and kept the two in business silos, now there’s a greater imperative to drive a single consistent experience across both marketing and commerce.
Transformational Customer Experience
The topics in the afternoon shifted to talk about Customer Experience ("CX") in light of that complexity. Parts Now kicked off the afternoon talking about their journey of transformation. For Parts Now, their eCommerce project was about creating new opportunities instead of waiting for the market to change around them. The new B2B platform includes catalog, taxation, order management, shipping/fulfillment, pricing, currently, account management, contract pricing, marketing, content, analytics, merchandising, promotions, shopping lists, and more.
In a fantastic format of both presentation and Q&A, Medline shared how its eCommerce implementation incorporates the best of B2C and B2B. Medline uses personalization and segmentation to drive different experiences based on the industry the customer is coming to them from. For instance, the Medline presenters showed screen shots of how a user working for a Nursing Home gets an experience tailored to the Nursing Home and a user working for a Hospital gets an experience specific for their industry. Following a short presentation, they participated in a panel where they talked about how they championed for internal support for this initiative and specifics on how the completed their project.
Rounding out the Customer Experience Transformation theme, and wrapping up the event, Deluxe presented about their transformation from an offline organization (check printing) to an online retailer. They started by talking about how Collaborative eCommerce, or having multiple people in B2B involved in a purchase, is important to how they create the customer experience. Using Oracle Commerce they deliver multiple sites to support both their B2B and B2C channels.
The theme of balancing Customer Experience and Complexity resonated throughout each of the presentations. Although B2B is similar to B2C in many ways, the B2B-focused event provided many best practices and lessons that B2B leaders can apply to their complex commerce organizations. With compelling customer sessions, engaged attendees and great sponsors, the event was a huge success and received tremendous feedback from customers, partners, and analysts alike. For more information on Oracle Commerce, visit our website and connect with us via Twitter.
And of course a special thanks to our sponsoring partners, without whom the Oracle B2B Commerce Summit would not have been possible: