The thought process behind developing a B2B ecommerce can be complex, time-consuming, and challenging.
Just ask Enzo Rabante, head of global digital solutions for Dayco, an engine parts manufacturer for automotive, truck, construction, agriculture and industrial vehicles and equipment. Dayco sells primarily to small and mid-size distributors in a hurry to find what they need, so it decided to develop the “Dayco digital garage” as a B2B ecommerce site at DaycoAftermarket.com that its customers would find helpful for purchasing such Dayco products as engine belts, front-end drive system components, hoses and tools.
“Our customers expect a personalized journey that generates value at each touchpoint,” he says.
The starting point for designing and building Dayco digital garage was getting a deep understanding of buyer expectations. Those expectations lay the foundation for delivering a customer experience that triggers initial sales, as well as repeat sales, and generates customer loyalty, Rabante Says.
To Dayco, the reason for making the buyer experience central to its plans for developing the new ecommerce site was simple: If buyers consider the digital experience inferior to the in-store experience, odds are they won’t come back to digital.
Getting multiple departments involved
The internal digital team, and any third-party digital consulting firms brought in on the project, play a critical role in developing the blueprint for an ecommerce site, Rabante says. But he asserts that one department that also needs to be involved is marketing, because it delivers a brand’s message to the target audience to develop leads and post-sale follow-up and service opportunities Rabante says.
“Marketing is important to the digital experience, pre-sale and post-sale,” says Rabante, who spoke about the Dayco digital garage at the Sitecore Symposium last fall. “Buyers expect a journey that generates value at each touchpoint and enhances the brand in every [line of] business, without barriers.”
Dayco’s primary customers are small and medium distributors who expect to find what they want quickly on the site and not feel their time spent online is being wasted. “That’s why marketing and customer profiling need to be clean and push promotions and products that are relevant to the customer,” Rabante says. “Our customers expect a personalized journey that generates value at each touchpoint, enhancing the brand in every business, without barriers.”
Web content for end customers
While Dayco determined that it needed to build buyer experiences unique to its target audience of distributors, the manufacturer also realized its content needed to address the needs of the end-users of its products, mechanics and do-it-yourselfers. That way it would reassure its distributors that they were purchasing the right product mix for their customers. “We sell to the distributors, who sell to the garages [and parts retailers], who make the products available to the mechanics or do-it-yourselfers,” Rabante says.
This strategy also means providing easy online access to the product catalog, product pages and related documents. “Our mission is to turn buyers into loyal customers by providing the pre- and post-sale digital services buyers expect,” he adds.
Dayco’s largest markets are Europe, the Middle East and Africa, or EMEA, which generates 48% of its revenue, and North America, which generates 35%. Asia-Pacific and South America account for 9% and 8% of revenue, respectively. In its fiscal year 2020, which ended February 2020, Dayco posted revenue of $1 billion, the latest figures the privately held company was willing to share. The manufacturer has 18 manufacturing sites, 16 distribution centers and six technical centers.
Setting key performance indicators
Having settled on the parameters of the what the customer experience should be, Dayco laid down a set of key performance indicators for the new site. Those KPIs include increasing the conversion rate for marketing campaigns, measuring how well push promotions perform and customer loyalty.
When it came to selecting the digital experience platform to power its new site, Dayco chose Sitecore because it offers a fully integrated platform, a headless ecommerce solution, and takes an API- first approach, Rabante says. Dayco also liked that the Sitecore platform was cloud-based and the knowledge the Sitecore team brought to the development process. To build its new B2B ecommerce site, Dayco is using the Sitecore OrderCloud headless commerce platform integrated with the Sitecore Experience Manager content management application and Sitecore Send email management system.
“An API-first approach is very important to us as it makes changing the front-end very easy,” Rabante says. As an API-first, headless design, the Sitecore platform was built with application programming interfaces to integrate the independent customer-facing front end interface with the ecommerce engine.
Integrating Microsoft technology
He says Dayco also brought in digital agency Cluster Reply to consult on the project, largely because of its expertise for integration of Microsoft applications, including Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform for application management.
With its digital team still putting the final touches on its planned digital garage, Rabante expects the new website will provide a valuable experience for buyers that helps win sales from competing sites.
In summarizing Dayco’s approach to building its digital garage, Rabante quotes Bruno Vallilo, Dayco’s president of global aftermarkets: “We change the way we think keeping customers at the center of our digital transformation.”
Peter Lucas is a Highland Park, Illinois-based freelance journalist covering business and technology.
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