In January, ABB Electrification launched ABB Loja Online, Brazil’s first-ever online marketplace for electrical products. Six weeks in, the team that made it happen came together for a Mirakl-hosted webinar to share why ABB chose to invest in a marketplace strategy, and how they collaborated with partners and stakeholders to make the launch successful.
Hear it in their words – watch the webinar on-demand!
Why marketplace? Building a compelling B2B online presence
As a complex electrical manufacturing organization, there was no “one size fits all” solution for ABB’s eCommerce strategy. But with the online marketplace model, ABB had the flexibility to drive demand, strengthen its brand and cultivate deeper connections with both distributors and end customers – without disrupting channel partners’ businesses.
B2B marketplaces create competitive differentiation in our goal of winning by meeting customers' expectations. By delivering what we like to call a ‘B2B2C’ marketplace platform for Brazil, we wanted to ensure that we avoided channel conflict, allowing our customers to have an optimal experience based on product, time and availability, speed and sustainability.
Samer Shehadeh, Global eCommerce & Innovation Director, ABB Electrification
The recipe for marketplace success starts with a plan
A successful marketplace starts in the earliest stages of planning. When ABB set out to develop its strategy, they identified four critical aspects that the marketplace needed to be successful.
First, ABB’s marketplace needed to be customer-centric, designed to match the needs of its buyers. For the Brazilian market, that meant a focus on the mobile experience. Samer Shehadeh, Global eCommerce & Innovation Director for ABB Electrification, explained, “In Brazil, mobile is always first. Even if a contractor, installer or architect is just doing a search, we wanted to make sure the data and digital content was relevant to their search and ensure that ABB’s brand identity is aligned with what users expect.”
To guarantee adoption, the marketplace needed to be easy to use. Without a simple, intuitive interface, buyers who were ready to buy online – and the distributors who were seeking a digital sales channel, and would fulfill buyers’ orders – would both end up disappointed.
ABB focused on developing a front-end shopping experience that performed above par, both on mobile and desktop. They also needed to offer an easy-to-use back end: suppliers needed to feel 100% comfortable with the eCommerce model, taking an order online, and fulfilling it without any hesitation. So ABB also invested in providing training workshops for distributors, showing them how to use the back-end functionality and ensuring that they meet the stock, pricing, and service-level agreements that they agreed on with ABB.
The front-end experience on ABB Loja Online easily accommodates marketplace-specific features, like multiple sellers for the same product._And finally, the marketplace needed to be built for scale. ABB was launching ABB Loja Online to address an immediate opportunity in Brazil, but there are opportunities to grow the solution globally. Having that ambition in mind from the beginning ensured that they would choose partners like Mirakl who set them up for a global marketplace opportunity.
Crafting a strategy for a successful launch
Understanding what you want and need from your online marketplace is critical to success, but it’s not the end of the road. ABB maintained a close focus on implementation to meet their mandate of launching the marketplace in under 6 months.
It started by bringing ABB’s cross-functional marketplace team together for an on-site kickoff to make the key decisions that would drive the execution over the next six months. Critically, the kickoff connected the business and technology sides of the project. The channel, sales and marketing teams aligned on the key attributes of the Brazilian market and what would be needed to drive adoption. The team also identified the various technologies and solutions that were needed to create the ideal customer experience, including not just Mirakl but payment providers, tax solutions, and others.
ABB started with a soft launch of the marketplace, using it as an opportunity to obtain firsthand feedback about what it's like to use the platform and how to improve it. Since the marketplace launched in January, the team has invested in a process of continuous improvement, and ABB is continually working with Mirakl and its implementation partners to create the best experience for its contractor customers in Brazil.