E-commerce is taking on new responsibilities at CDW Corp. and the plan is to merge its strengths with those of it sales reps to forge a formidable sales team.
“We are now moving to make e-commerce a growth engine,” John Seebeck, vice president and general manager of e-commerce, told attendees at the B2BecNews Executive Seminar in April in Chicago. The seminar, which also featured speakers from several other manufacturers and distributors, was the first in a series of B2BecWorld executive seminars produced by B2BecNews publisher Vertical Web Media.
E-commerce has three key functions these days at CDW. One is to enable customers to serve themselves by giving them online access to their own negotiated pricing, products, authorizations and reporting tools, Seebeck said. Sales reps, whom CDW calls account managers, provided much of this information in the past and the company is looking to free up their time for other selling opportunities. “We want to augment and extend the account manager,” he said.
The company’s website, CDW.com, also is a marketing channel for its suppliers by providing an advertising venue and helping them craft a marketing plan. “Millions come to the site every day,” Seebeck said.
The third key role for e-commerce is making CDW’s expertise available online. The company, which began by selling personal computers, has become a major seller of all kinds of I.T. hardware, software and services. “We have advanced from selling notebooks to helping customers connect to the cloud,” Seebeck said.
CDW, No. 32 in the 2017 B2B E-Commerce 300, launched its Orchestration by CDW branding campaign last year to provide I.T. planning, purchasing and implementation through a combination of its own expertise and that of its 1,000-plus technology suppliers. By extension, its I.T. Orchestration program plays up the company’s ability to unite its internal experts, technology and its suppliers to serve business customers online.
The conductors of the orchestra, Seebeck said, are CDW’s account managers. And account managers and e-commerce work in concert, so to speak, to deliver greater sales together than individually. “Customers who buy from both the account manager and the web are more valuable than one or other,” Seebeck said.
CDW doesn’t break out e-commerce sales, but reported fiscal 2016 net sales increased 7.6%, to $13.98 billion from $12.99 billion in 2015. Net income for 2016 was $424.4 million, up 5.3% from $403.1 million in the previous year.
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