How a new portal is helping Carlton & United's B2B customer efforts

Customer experience director shares how the launch of a new ordering platform has done a lot more than just generate sales - it's lifted B2B customer engagement

Providing exceptional customer service is often spoken of in a consumer context, but it is wise to remember business customers are people too.

For iconic AB InBev-owned beverages company, Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), deployment of an online ordering portal built on SAP Hybris (now SAP C/4HANA) is not only enabling its field reps to spend more time with the pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants that comprise its customer base, it is also increasing the value of orders.

CUB customer experience director, David Huggett, told CMO all ordering originally took place through fields reps, before being taken on by a dedicated called centre. But the launch of the ecommerce portal has been an additional step up for customers.

“If you think about the pubs and cafes, when they want to order is not traditionally between 9 and 5,” Huggett said. “We get a quite some number of orders throughout the night because the pubs shut at 2.00am or 3.00am and the guy wants to place his order there and then and does not want to wake up at 9.00am to do it.”

As for the field teams, Huggett said they can now focus on promotions and solving problems for customers.

“What the field team now do is help really influence sell-through of product,” he said. “Previously, it might have taken 15 to 20 minutes to place the order, but they don’t have to - they can use that time for something else.”

Huggett said the results have vindicated the decision. “When we moved to online, the average order went up,” he says.

“That is because we give the customer more transparency, they have more time to dwell, and they can look at the full range of promotions that are available.”

The portal is also able to automatically calculate the value of orders and determine if customers qualify for promotions. It can be used to track the progress of deliveries, as well as keep records of who signed for orders.

It’s also being used by Carlton & United Breweries as a communication channel, particularly for new products, such as one shown recently featuring the master brewer of newly-acquired Sydney brewery, 4 Pines.

“We did an interview with the master brewer and sent that to the customers,” Huggett said. “Off the back of that, the master brewer had made a recommendation for the customer, so when they logged online that recommendation was there waiting for them.”

Huggett said the new portal has helped CUB achieve a leading position within the industry for customer satisfaction – something he is keen to maintain through bringing additional functionality into the portal. The company regularly surveys customers regarding potential enhancements and has lined up an extensive roadmap of potential new features.

“And every time we deploy a new feature we also have the ability for our customer to provide us with feedback and test their level of satisfaction with that feature,” he said. “We want them to keep trading with us because we make their ordering process so simple and easy to do.”

The success of the SAP C/4HAHA-based portal has also attracted the attention of other parts of the AB InBev network.

“The capability we have built here has been recognised globally with the ABI network as being the best in class,” Huggett added. “And that is really exciting for Australia.”

  • Brad Howarth travelled to SAP CX Live as a guest of SAP.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu 

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