This blog post will look into how you can improve speed to market as a B2B distributor quick and simply by implementing online catalogs in your daily work.
A lot of B2B companies in all industries, but perhaps especially in retail and wholesale, often experience difficulties getting to market with new products and that they'd like things to move quicker.
Often sales people are stuck with heavy printed product catalogs that neither customers or themselves can't navigate.
By using a digital flipbook software, the Irish Healthcare services group experienced a significant increase in speed to market with interactive online catalogs.
Let's have a look at how they improved speed to market.
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What is the duty of United Drug?
Irish healthcare services group, United Drug Supply Chain Services, is a wholesaler who distributes products sold to consumers in the Irish pharmacies. They are the biggest wholesaler to pharmacies in Ireland.
They distribute a range of products: from consumer products like moisturizers and beauty items, all the way through to very specialized prescription medications.
As a typical B2B distributor, United Drug has a big warehouse and the main objective is to move the goods as efficiently as possible from storage to the pharmacies. This also includes establishing an efficient sales process.
They utilize a number of different marketing and sales channels to support this process - some “old school” analog channels and some new digital channels:
- Printed catalogs and flyers
- Interactive online catalogs combined with landing pages
- Fax orders
- Phone orders
- Orders through field sales representatives
- Online orders
There is a real mix of different order types day in and day out. Some orders are automated, some are from telefax, some from the phone and others via the sales reps. The rest is sold online through a mix of our websites and our online catalogs."
says David Rees, Ecommerce Commercial Manager at United Drug.
Increased speed to market With Flipbooks
United Drug has a variety of brand extensions to cover the market. One of them is “Profitlines” that supply both products and promotional material to the pharmacies.
Originally Profitlines was based in a traditional printed catalog business.
However, today United Drug is using iPaper to create online catalogs and flipbooks to gain more digital traction.
The biggest advantage for using iPaper as our digital publishing software provider is the speed to market. I think the best case study of what we are doing is with Profitlines. We couldn’t build a website in the same time that we took to launch online catalogs with iPaper, and as a consequence, we would have lost the opportunity. Our online orders are growing significantly - week on week. iPaper flipbooks are a great transition tool for moving our clients from print to digital."
states David Rees.
Related read: Analyze your Online Catalogs To Evolve Your Business
The transition from print catalogs to interactive online publications at United Drug shows that the principles of the sales catalog still can be part of an excellent business model.
Because our sales are so seasonal, even with a full Ecommerce website, I would expect that this user behavior to be maintained, and that we might always have flipbooks or other interactive online publications."
The iPaper solution also helps United Drug to show their customers that they are modernizing and investing in digital assets and communication.
Optimize your sales process today:
An example of this is that the customers via the flipbooks have the opportunity to send an order at 2 AM on their mobile phone if they would like that.
Improved Buyer's Journey with shop integration
The main usage of the flipping books at United Drug is the catalogs where you can order products via the shop integration.
The next step is to have this fully integrated with a SAP system.
We know that iPaper is fully compatible with our future needs in this area. That is great. However, even now the shop integration saves us considerable time as an order from our flipping books is processed twice as fast as a phone order.”
says David Rees.
Effective hybrid landing pages
United Drug has taken the opportunities with iPaper into a whole new direction by not only using them for digital sales catalogs but also using the digital publishing software to produce intriguing landing pages.
Instead of building landing pages via their website system – as you would typically do – United Drug designs all their landing pages via iPaper. But why?
We have found that these ”hybrid“ iPaper based landing pages work very well for us. The landing pages are well-designed two-page spreads that illustrate our product offers very effectively, and help us implement a landing page strategy, without having a larger Ecommerce website.”
United Drug has even used the landing page option for company announcements when they need to communicate in not only an efficient manner but also in a pleasing design that fits the target audience.
iPaper has for us become a kind of hybrid communications platform, landing pages platform, mini catalog platform and major catalog platform. It is a jack of all trades.”
states David Rees
However, a partnership between two companies like United Drug and iPaper is so much more than just the product and the service. It is also the people.
I’ve found that the iPaper team is extremely responsive. They deliver really good customer service.
And the other thing is that it’s a reliable service. You can never stop any infrastructure from going down. However, I subscribe to the iPaper alert service and it is just awesome. I get better insights from my online publications and landing pages than I do from my website hosting company. And I get better response times as well. When iPaper schedules maintenance, they do it at off-peak business hours and think sensible about it, and it is a comfort knowing that. We have a pretty rock solid solution at hand.”
ends David Rees.
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