Magazine article CRM Magazine

Ariba Helps B&H Get Discovered by Quality Buyers: Electronics Mainstay Boosts Business Leads Using the Commerce Network

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Ariba Helps B&H Get Discovered by Quality Buyers: Electronics Mainstay Boosts Business Leads Using the Commerce Network

Article excerpt

Ariba Discovery, which could be described as a B2B equivalent of the Internet dating site Match.com, has helped a large camera and electronics retailer become increasingly successful at managing business leads.

B&H Photo, Video, and Pro Audio, a New York-based retailer that traces its roots back to 1973, carries close to 350,000 items from more than 2,600 suppliers. B&H is the largest reseller of Apple computers on the East Coast, according to Barry Eisenberg, director of business development, contracts, and e-pro curement at B&H, but 90 percent of its customers aren't aware of the store's wide range of inventory.

"When you think of B&H, you think of cameras and camcorders and the chargers you need for [them], but we also carry [things like] televisions," he remarks. B&H carries products ranging from surveillance cameras and lighting equipment to portable entertainment consoles and professional audio equipment that extend beyond its consumer business to corporate, education, and government product sales.

In the rapidly changing world of retail, even a tried-and-true business such as B&H could not rely solely on its brick-and-mortar presence. "I'd say probably the Web and e-commerce are picking up a lot faster than people walking into the store or calling us on the phone," Eisenberg admits. "It's easier and faster for us to receive orders, which frees up manpower to take care of things like customer service."

Although it knew the interest for its products was there, B&H struggled with identifying qualified leads and buyers who were, indeed, ready to purchase. Some of the store's direct marketing tactics and inside sales strategies were falling flat--so much so that email campaigns were yielding buyer response rates of only 1 percent or 2 percent.

An early user of the Ariba Network, a business commerce network now operating as an SAP company, B&H added lead-generating capabilities to its sales and marketing mix with Ariba Discovery. The solution acts as a buyer-seller exchange of sorts, facilitating real-time interactions between those with a product to sell and those who are looking to bid.

One of the major differences between using a service like this as opposed to doing a simple Web search on Google is the fact that when buyers have a demand, relevant companies and their products are presented as solutions to the demand. …

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