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A Digital Journey: Transforming B2B Retail for AmeriPride Services

A Digital Journey: Transforming B2B Retail for AmeriPride ServicesA Digital Journey: Transforming B2B Retail for AmeriPride Services
In a webinar hosted on October 25, 2016, Rob Marlotte, Director of Pricing and eCommerce at AmeriPride was joined by Dwayne Doshier, Senior Director, Custom Growth Services at InSite Software to present the details of AmeriPride’s digital journey and success in order to help other B2B sellers achieve the same returns on their B2B ecommerce investments.

During the discussion, the partners highlight key applications hosted on AmeriPride’s InSite platform— software for which AmeriPride conducted extensive senior management involvement and a board review, which established the groundwork for a comprehensive approach to implementation.

From a leadership standpoint, AmeriPride had to ensure digital and ecommerce objectives aligned with the company’s greater strategy.

This paper shares the details of AmeriPride’s collaboration with InSite to reach these objectives on their digital journey, and transform their traditional B2B business into a scalable, leading-edge resource for their customers.


Key topics include:
  • Beginning the Digital Journey in eCommerce
  • Continuing the Digital Journey in Sales
  • Utilizing Analytics on the Path to Purchase
  • Bringing Aboard Traditional Customers

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Introduction


AmeriPride Services is a 127-year-old family-owned company that serves customers across North America. It has transitioned its business strategy to include more digital tools; however, the vast majority of AmeriPride’s revenue is in their traditional linen and uniform rental business, which includes items such as table linens, industrial shirts and pants, floor mats, and towels.

AmeriPride began going digital only 10 years ago. Later, when the company’s original ecommerce platform became outdated, they sought out a replacement and discovered InSite’s software. With InSite, AmeriPride looked beyond a single, project-implemented ecommerce platform and launched what can be described as a new ‘digital journey.’ Now, following a five-year strategic planning cycle, the company is investing in customerfacing tools that differentiate their service offerings, empower their marketing initiatives with valuable data, and support the sale of high-value products and services.

Additionally, the platform enables customers to use buyer tools and self-service, as well as empower sales reps by integrating disparate data from a variety of sources within the company—AmeriPride’s ERP, invoicing system, and analytics sources.

Executive Summary


By now, most B2B brands recognize that the Internet has upended the world of corporate purchasing. Customers who once relied on printed catalogs and placed orders through sales reps are increasingly ordering online using self-service tools, using mobile devices for research, and sharing feedback on suppliers via social media. As a result, B2B online sales are forecast to top $1.1 trillion by 2020, comprising 12% of all B2B sales. To put those numbers in perspective, the forecasted revenues for B2B eCommerce this year total $780 billion, more than double the $334 billion projected for all of direct-to-consumer retail sales online.

In response to this burgeoning growth, business-to-business providers are stepping up investment in online initiatives. Half of B2B executives in 2013 said they would upgrade their core eCommerce platform by this year, compared with just 12% of eBusiness executives overall. Initial reports from those who’ve begun focusing on digital initiatives are positive. B2B executives report that customers who’ve migrated online are more likely to try new offerings, make repeat purchases, and spend more than offline-only customers. Simultaneously, the costs are lower to support purchasers taking advantage of self-service online tools

With such clear signals from the marketplace and the industry, many B2B merchants can rationalize investment in their online offerings. But when it comes to mapping exactly how to invest, the devil is in the details. As B2B vendors strive to follow along, they encounter the same problems many B2C merchants face – a huge array of potential priorities and a seemingly-overwhelming rate of change within the marketplace. Just a few of the challenges B2B providers must contend with:

A merging B2B/B2C marketplace. Some of the largest names in B2C commerce, such as Amazon and Google, are playing a growing role in B2B purchasing. As in direct-to-consumer eCommerce, Amazon is emerging as a force to be reckoned with, having just relaunched and renamed its B2B site, Amazon Business. Fully 45% of B2B purchasers say they’ve purchased on the Amazon site, and a quarter of those report using it frequently. The exponential growth of mobile. While less than half of B2B executives currently report that even 10% of their online revenues come from mobile devices, workers are increasingly using multiple devices on the job. That means B2B vendors can expect to see the same “mobile-first” shift already underway in B2C eCommerce, where the majority of brand interactions occur via mobile touchpoints. B2B vendors are cognizant of the need to adapt, with 58% reporting that mobile functionality is a top investment priority.

Growing expectations for seamless, unified experiences across touchpoints. While shoppers appreciate the convenience of being able to shop via a variety of touchpoints, research shows they also crave consistency when it comes to products, pricing and promotions. For B2B brands, that means connecting call center and catalog operations with the eCommerce site, as well as giving sales reps on the road insights into customers’ online activities.


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