Here's How North Coast Electric and B2X Partners are Building a Community of B2B Success Stories
brought to you by WBR Insights
The North Coast Electric Company first opened its doors over a century ago in 1913. Today, the company is the largest family-owned and locally operated electrical distributer in the United States, with 33 locations operating in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and Arizona. The North Coast Electric Company enjoys revenues in excess of $583 million.
To maintain this position, North Coast has had to innovate tirelessly in the way it serves its professional clientele. And while nobody could argue the company knows its electrical distribution business inside out, sometimes innovation means making mutually beneficial partnerships - especially when it comes to getting digital transformation right.
B2X Partners is a digital agency which offers its services to companies who need help implementing their digital transformation with the utmost effectiveness. Founder Bob Lewis and Partner Justin King have a combined 40-years' experience in the fields of B2B ecommerce and technology, and assist clients with their entire digital transformation strategy - from assessment and discovery right through to going live and continued marketing.
"Most distributors don't know what they don't know," said B2X Partners' Justin King. "Distributors need to spend some time figuring out how their customers want to interact with them online. You can't afford to customize your e-commerce platform until you know what you should be customizing according to your expected return on investment. Your customers expect to be able to go to Google and find the products and services that they're looking for. Then, once they're on your site, they would like to be able to quickly access the information or products that they want."
B2X Partners and North Coast Electric Company first came together when the electrical distributer was looking to revamp their online presence. However, after the success of the innovations B2X put in place on behalf of North Coast, the digital agency was looking for a new way to change how its partners continued their B2B business online.
And so, B2X Partners launched DigitalBranch.co in June 2017. The scheme is designed to function as a bespoke digital community where B2B companies can come together to share advice and insights, as well as train and learn about new developments in the digital world via the DigitalBranch Incubator.
B2B distribution is by its very nature a complex method of doing business. From the products being sold to the business customers and even the ordering processes, everything about B2B business is very different from its B2C equivalent. This means B2B customers are having to constantly balance the complexities inherent in their business type with attempting to maintain an engaging customer experience for their clients.
The DigitalBranch Incubator is designed to help businesses maintain this balance by offering a resource and knowledge base. The base includes a training library, monthly live master classes in all aspects of B2B ecommerce, regular updates on new platforms and technologies, a private Facebook discussion group, weekly coaching sessions, and more.
"This new platform fills a crucial gap that we kept hearing from customers and partners - 'we don't know what we don't know' when it comes to B2B eCommerce," says B2X Partners Founder Bob Lewis. "Through our agency we provide strategy, design, technology selection, launch and post-launch services. But we saw another urgent need: there are few resources and communities focused on educating distributors how to go digital. This is a different kind of site - one that is 100% dedicated to helping independent distributors stay up-to-date and competitive in this rapidly evolving digital market."
B2B business such as the North Coast Electric Company which have come on board with the DigitalBranch Incubator, have seen the benefits of this first of its kind platform for themselves. Early adopters have enjoyed boosts to their business across almost all facets, including a 79% increase in new product awareness, 74% increase in cost efficiencies, 64% improvement in customer retention, 58% additional margin per customer, and a 48% growth in per customer revenue.
The last word goes to Les Johnson, CIO and Senior Vice President of North Coast Electric.
"The DigitalBranch Incubator is a resource we didn't even know was missing," he said. "It will be a bedrock tool for management to build their strategic understanding and for my eCommerce team to have the training, tools and up-to-date information to really drive and optimize our own DigitalBranch."
Digital marketing strategy is set to be a hot topic at B2B Online 2018 in May, at the Chicago Marriot Downtown.
Download the agenda today for more information and insights.