- Philips Lighting UK has thousands of retailers and distributors across the United Kingdom
- It became increasingly difficult for sales representatives to service all accounts and create high value relationships
- Philips launched Philips Retail Direct, a 24/7 B2B Portal which lightened the burden to chase orders and drove bigger margin sales across the country
Philips is the largest lighting company in the world with a presence in over 60 countries. A true innovator in the industry, it spends 32% than the nearest competitor in Research and Development. This is why the company is the market leader in new product categories such as LED and connected lighting.
The UK market: thousands of small retailers to manage
The composition of the retail segment in the United Kingdom is not hugely dissimilar to other industries and countries. Philips dealt with a few major accounts such as John Lewis and B&Q, but its client base was also made up of thousands of smaller independent retailers that serviced end consumers on high streets across the country.
This created a strategic problem for Philips UK: Philips’ sales representative simply did not have the time to cover every single client. More than a geographical issue, this was a symptom of the time sales reps wasted taking order, chasing them, processing refunds and discount, distributing promotional material, signing up clients to the latest promo…
Like many sales teams across the world know, this impacted not only the number of clients each sales reps could visit, but also the type of conversation they could have. It was simply not possible to hold strategic conversations to create high value relationships and grow accounts.
For Philips Lighting, this meant they had little control over what was being offered through retailers and distributors, and what was getting sold to the end consumer.
Matching an internal need with an external shift in technology preferences
Philips Lighting UK was not new to eCommerce. It had recognized the shift in preferences with end consumers who preferred to shop online and had access to their products 24/7. But these types of preferences were not limited to Business-to-Consumer (B2C) models - they also extended to Business-to-Business (B2B) relationships.
Based on the time issues and shifting technology preferences, Philips Lighting UK sought a partner to launch an online solution that responded to the following criteria:
Tiered pricing that could translate complex commercial agreements and provide large-order quotes for existing retailer and distributor clients.
Mobile-friendly and responsive design to ensure the solution could be used by sales representatives on their mobiles, tablets or laptops.
Repeat orders functionality to capture any type of order including recurring orders for longstanding clients. Content delivery, so retailers and distributors could access download centres holding product brochures, or order Point-of-Sale (POS) material.
Returns, Refunds & Credits to further minimise time spent by sales representative chasing credit notes.
Philips UK was already familiar with the Luzern eCommerce Platform and saw that it ticked all the boxes. Even better: the Luzern team offered a range of marketing services including direct mail and telemarketing, ensuring the highest possible registration levels on the new B2B Portal.
Philips Retail Direct: a new B2B Portal with higher margin sales and simplified ordering
When Philips Lighting UK and Luzern launched Philips Retail Direct, over 1000 retailers signed up in the first month through telesales and direct mail campaigns. Philips was able to maintain a consistent brand presence to clients that had previously been difficult to service.
Directly integrated to Philips’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), all orders can be shipped directing to B2B clients. The data generated from new sales have also helped Philips better segment their client base and create promotion to increase accounts.
Sales Representatives now have the ability to meet more retailers and distributions with a modern portal to show off products and take orders, eliminating the need for faxes, old order pads and carbon paper. Not only is the gross margin online orders greater, but the sales team also has access to timely and actionable information to improve their in-person visits to clients.
Exporting the B2B model to other countries
Philips Retail Direct not only drove down the cost of existing transactions, it enabled the company to reach clients with whom they had difficulty establishing a relationship with in the past. The flexibility brought by this new B2B Portal meant that the Philips team could try new things every quarter, adjusting the marketing calendar based on key sales drivers.
Today, Philips Lighting operates B2B Portals across Europe and North America with Luzern, along with Direct-to-Consumer branded online stores across the world.
By making it easier for retailers, distributors and consumers to order their products and form a relationship with their brand, Philips Lighting is solidifying its status as the number 1 consumer lighting company in the world.
See the Philips Retail Direct portal on retaildirect.philips.com.