For office product (OP) resellers, business success can feel less certain than ever. OP resellers have previously benefited from an industry with reliable operations and buyer expectations, but eCommerce trends threaten the status quo.
As more OP sales migrate online, resellers face a spate of new challenges. Perhaps the biggest roadblock is heightened customer expectations. Shoppers are more comfortable purchasing online from companies they know – a problem for resellers that have been slow to embrace eCommerce. Likewise, buyers now desire personalized, seamless online shopping experiences where resellers anticipate their needs across different channels. Unfortunately, OP resellers are hard pressed to implement digital marketing strategies that help them reach the right shoppers, and then earn their trust and loyalty long term.
Although OP resellers understand technology is their best future, it’s daunting to maintain an online presence that’s flexible to evolving buyer preferences. There’s also the added pressure that new competitors like big box retailers and Amazon already have the digital savvy required to impress online shoppers. But OP dealers are not alone in their efforts to pursue digital marketing and analytics programs, and staying afloat in the digital age doesn’t have to be a constant struggle.
How one OP reseller leverages digital marketing and analytics for major benefits
Workplace Central, an independent OP reseller, is proof that the right technology investments help companies adapt and address new buyer preferences. Like many OP resellers, Workplace Central faced the challenges mentioned above. The company struggled to overcome its outdated reputation and earn new business outside of its core product categories.
To overcome these problems, Workplace Central implemented Essendant’s Digital All-In Bundle, which combines various enterprise business tools to boost digital marketing efficiency and drive an integrated customer approach. The program uses innovations in content, search and navigation, digital marketing and sales tools and promotions to help resellers get in front of buyers online, and then learn more about and address customer needs over time.
Since bringing on the Essendant Digital All-In Bundle, Workplace Central competes more effectively online. Notably, Workplace Central increased email revenue threefold in a three-month period and earned a 115 percent increase in email engagement rates. The reseller also boosted conversions by 211 percent and saw an 87 percent lift in incremental shopping sales, again over a three-month period. Digital marketing solutions give Workplace Central a competitive edge online, and digital analytics provide insights into how these solutions work together and can be optimized for improved performance.
Workplace Central continues to evolve alongside its technology investments. The reseller started with select digital marketing and analytics offerings, but now expands its capabilities as its understanding of digital grows. This iterative approach helps Workplace Central move its business forward and add new services that keep up with the competition.
Tips for getting started with digital marketing and analytics
For the majority of OP resellers, it’s no small decision to take on a digital marketing and analytics program. However, as Workplace Central learned, pursuing a more strategic online presence doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are two tips to get your feet wet with new digital marketing solutions and capabilities:
- Start small with a select group of key performance indicators (KPIs)
Digital marketing and analytics can feel like a foreign language when you’re just getting started. But don’t let a lack of familiarity with backend dashboard operations stand in the way of amazing digital benefits and insights. Rather, focus on just a few KPIs that you can act on. An easy place to begin is with metrics that deal with your online business and customer activity, such as conversion rates, abandoned sales and keyword/item searches. These benchmarks are a great starting point for assessing the health of your overall digital presence and determining what variables influence customer behavior most.
2. Learn how services work together
As you take on new digital marketing capabilities, it’s important to understand where resources overlap and how you can maximize benefits. Analytics showcase how digital investments impact one another so you aren’t making improvements in isolation. These insights power smarter automation and offer resellers the data-driven confidence to pursue their next round of investments and strategy decisions.
As you get started with a digital marketing and analytics program, remember that you’re not alone. Essendant’s digital analytics team offers resellers 1-1 training to make sense of new information and insights. Essendant also offers tools and support materials for further education, and will soon host webinars for additional guided support.
If you’re not ready for digital marketing or analytics just yet, contact your Essendant Account Manager or reach out to an Essendant representative and request a marketing strategy consultation. Aligning your organization around a new marketing strategy will lay the groundwork for when your organization is ready to tackle digital marketing and analytics.
By Jonathan Lalla, Director of Marketing, Sales Programs Essendant