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5 Companies Take On The Changing Challenges Of Ecommerce

Rose Spicer
Global Senior Director
This is a syndicated post, view the original post here

For ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, a 125-store chain in Florida, online sales hadn’t been a huge part of the business—until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, restricting people’s access to bars and making in-store shopping a concern for some. Since mid-March, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits has seen a 2,000% growth in online sales.

Being able to scale up to meet this kind of sales spike is among the must-have capabilities for an ecommerce site. ABC redesigned its ecommerce site two years ago using Oracle CX Commerce, a cloud service designed to enhance customer experience on online sites. “Oracle CX put us in position to scale massively when we needed to most,” says Sean Kelly, vice president and chief marketing officer of the family-owned business.   

ABC had some pre-pandemic experience with such customer spikes via another of its sites, TheABCVault.com, which operates to reward loyalty customers with better access. Frequent purchasers get digital “keys” to enter the online vault, where they get first dibs on hard-to-find wines and spirits.

“We’ll have a vast rush of guests hitting the ABC and vault sites at any one time. At this point I feel very confident that we can continue to take on a huge volume of customers,” Kelly says. “Once we got over some initial hurdles, I never doubted that Oracle could keep up with traffic.”

Scaling to meet demand is just one of the challenges facing growing ecommerce sites, says Ian Davis, Oracle vice president for product management. Others include adapting ecommerce websites to accommodate different regulations, varying marketing campaigns and promotions, and attracting different types of buyers. Oracle CX Commerce lets businesses take on those challenges, Davis says. It also lets customers run multiple ecommerce sites from the same cloud platform, like ABC does. And easy integration with other software allows for capabilities such as real-time pricing and inventory information. These kinds of features have drawn new businesses to CX Commerce, and landed Oracle as a Leader in the recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce, as has been the case for the last decade.

The rich features of Oracle CX Commerce—including that capability to deal with regulations—are what attracted Yamaha Brasil as it began a project last November to build a new ecommerce site.

Yamaha Brasil Revs Up  

Yamaha Brasil, headquartered in Guarulhos in the greater Sao Paulo area, sells motorcycles and scooters, as well as an array of outboard motors and WaveRunners for people who travel and play in the area’s many rivers. The company sells its motorcycles in 380 stores and its marine products in 100 stores across the country.

The company’s first ecommerce site will handle sales of motorcycles, spare parts, and apparel. The government requires that online shoppers buy their bikes through business partners in their home regions. The website will feature those partners by zip code, and riders will be able to buy their favorite bike directly on the website, with financing available through Yamaha. Early testers give the site good reviews, says Ricardo Susini, commercial director of Yamaha Brasil, and Yamaha is looking to launch the site with great fanfare—after the inventory shortages caused by pandemic-related production delays abate.

Mobile Buying From Job Sites

The mobile-friendly features of Oracle CX Commerce attracted Construction Specialties when it was time to build its business-to-business website. The company sells a wide range of products that “make buildings better,” from covered expansion joint covers at the Zuckerberg General Hospital in earthquake-prone San Francisco, to architectural louvers on One World Trade Center in New York. It also sells products that provide depth and texture to exteriors, like the custom metal grilles at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale, Arizona.

For large-scale projects, the company’s network of representatives handle sales of materials, but smaller purchases go through the new website. Using CX Commerce, Construction Specialties can let its website customers, who include facility managers, general contractors, and installers, easily order materials from job sites using their smartphones.

With the company’s old ecommerce site, those on-the-go customers were spending too much time searching for products. “We wanted to make ourselves easier to do business with,” says Michael Weissberg, digital marketing manager for Construction Specialties.

That’s been particularly useful during the pandemic, since customers have been ordering protective equipment, like cubicle curtains for hospitals, to keep up with increased demand.

Integrated B2B

Another construction materials company, McElroy Metal, decided to build a B2B website to better serve its customers. The company sells to construction entities, such as roofing contractors, post-frame builders, and full-service lumberyards. It helps customers create materials lists, and buy what they need to construct their projects. One major requirement for McElroy’s new ecommerce site was letting customers specify the precise product variations they’re looking for—down to the number of grooves in a piece of ridge trim, for example.

So the company established a tight integration between Oracle CX Commerce and its existing order entry system. Now customers can log on and see their complete purchasing history as well as real-time pricing information.

“That integration was tremendous, a very significant part of the overall implementation. It is one of our proudest achievements,” says CIO Howell Hicks.

One Website, Many Purposes

The idea of operating one website for many different functions was particularly appealing to Air Liquide Canada.

“We were looking for one single point of contact with the customer. We didn't want to have one website where we promote our products and brand, and another where we have company news and events,” says Genevieve Matte, Marketing Director, supply chain and acquisitions for Air Liquide Canada’s metal fabrication business unit. “We wanted to merge everything in one site to show the customer how Air Liquide Canada can be a one-stop shop and support them in their business.”

Air Liquide Canada, headquartered in Montreal, is a global supplier of liquefied gases such as argon, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and specialized mixes, transported to large customers via pipeline and small customers in cylinders delivered by truck. In Canada, the business serving the metal fabrication industry is a highly transactional business, and the company wanted its new B2B website built using Oracle CX Commerce to offer both self-service capabilities and online shopping that meets B2C expectations. Now customers can easily manage their accounts, find their invoices, view product availability, place new orders, and track their shipments.  

“We want to promote the full spectrum of our products and services to current and potential new customers while making it easy to communicate with us,” Matte says. During the pandemic, she adds, this reliable digital communication channel was particularly important to maintain service level to customers while respecting Canada’s social distancing requirements.

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