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OFM leverages B2B mobile site to offer streamlined salesBy
Office and school furniture brand OFM is enabling its customers to sell its products more easily on the road with a new business-to-business mobile site, suggesting that more sales companies can benefit from providing a competitive mobile edge to their employees.
The mobile site allows the manufacturer’s customers to do a variety of tasks designed to help their selling processes, such as watch a video on how to assemble a specific product, search specs on OFM items and check order statuses directly from their smartphones. OFM, a wholesaler that resells to other retailers across the nation, believes the site will offer a competitive advantage when sales people are meeting with potential clients on-the-go and do not have immediate access to a computer.
“We believe that for the average sales person that is constantly on the road, an easy-to-navigate and content-driven mobile site is extremely beneficial for their ability to maximize the overall customer experience,” said Blake Zalcberg, CEO of OFM, Holly Springs, NC.
“The sales person being able to manage the customers’ expectations by telling them current stock status, showing the customer a product demonstration video, and even pulling up a PDF spec sheet can only help the overall sales process.”
Users can visit the new OFM site directly from their mobile device and immediately receive access to all available products, dealer information, customer support such as assembly directions and catalogs. OFM’s array of items includes desks, storage units, chairs and other office furniture.
The manufacturer developed simpler search features to locate each specific item and make finding orders easier for the customer. OFM hopes that on-the-go employees can enjoy a streamlined selling process at the convenience of their fingertips.
“Mobile is imperative for any sales-based industry in which sales occur while on the road,” said Shuli Lowy, marketing director at Ping Mobile, New York. “In order for OFM to drive business, it must ultimately empower the salespeople who drive the product demand.
“There is a limited amount of data that a salesperson can memorize before entering a meeting. It is impractical to open up a laptop or pinch and squeeze through a desktop site on a phone to find information in the middle of a pitch,” she said.
“A mobile Web site allows a salesperson to quickly reference details related to color, sizing, material, durability, dimensions, and usage on the spot.”
The mobile site offers as much functionality and information as its main Web site, so that its sales people can rest assured that any inquiry can be answered immediately with a mobile device.
“When building out any catalog based mobile solution it is important to put in as many sorting features as possible,” Ms. Lowy said. “This allows the sales personnel to quickly find the products they are looking for on the go.
“OFM has already added several sorting features to their mobile site and may choose to add more with time.”
OFM also offers a live chat option on its sites, in case potential clients would like to speak with a customer service or sales representative.
When a user visits the mobile site, he or she is greeted with an image of a featured item. Underneath the images, OFM has direct links to its social media pages, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
A variety of news articles are also available for easy browsing.
B2B and mobile
Business-to-business mobile sites are becoming increasingly popular as consumers and employees alike demand the convenience of easily identifiable information on smartphones, and more brands enter into cross-partnerships with each other.
Recently, eBay, Geico and UPS were among the top companies that posted help-wanted Monster.com notices on Twitter (see story). While all of the in-depth job requirements were posted on the career site, snippets were also cross posted on Twitter in the form of advertisements.
“Mobile solutions are often used in a B2B setting—particularly in business models that need to mobilize large teams,” Ms. Lowy said. “In these cases, mobile is valuable not just because it’s portable but also because it’s scalable.”
“Resale partners are more likely to choose a wholesaler that empowers them throughout the sales process,” she said. “The new mobile site will certainly give OFM a competitive advantage over other wholesalers who have not yet built one.”
While OFM has not yet partaken in any other brand partnerships, its new mobile site is likely to push sales higher and result in a streamlined selling or purchasing products for its consumers.
“Our Web site as a whole is more than just a Web site for our customers,” OFM’s Mr. Zalcberg said. “It’s a tool for them to use and become an ‘expert’ on OFM’s products, in a matter of minutes.
“With over 4600 SKUs, that’s not an easy task. We spend our time focusing on making sure our standard and mobile sites provide the most up-to-date information.”
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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