How Sigma Healthcare elevated B2B customer experience

On the lookout for a flexible, enterprise-level solution, the pharmacy supplier choose a platform to handle its complex pricing and legacy systems and has seen sales and NPS scores lift

Pharmaceutical wholesaler, Sigma Healthcare, knew it needed to modernise with a renewed customer-first approach. In choosing the new platform to support these aims, however, it was very much a case of evolution, rather than revolution, as any new system needed to fit with its legacy tech while offering a future path for continual development.

The company adopted both SAP Commerce Cloud and SAP Qualtrics customer experience platform and has not only seen an increase in orders, but also a +49 boost to its Net Promoter Score (NPS). Sigma Healthcare head of e-commerce, Luke Shaw, explained to CMO that while pharmacy is a very traditional industry, an antiquated warehouse system left the group well in need of an update.

“There was a glaring gap on the technology front. The portal we use to sell to our frontline franchise partners - that's our retail pharmacies throughout Australia - was in need of a major upgrade,” said Shaw.

Sigma was on the lookout for something enterprise level, but also flexible, which would enable it to tailor and shape a solution the way it wanted, and set it up for the future. Launching on SAP Commerce Cloud in 2018, the primary goal was to show pharmacy customers real-time, accurate pricing information. The challenge was to do this in an industry with an “incredibly complex pricing model”.

“Our price base starts at 64 million different price combinations. And it's based on the buying levels of each store, where they are, the products, the discounts, etc, that are applied. So it was a complex pricing model that we had to execute on more accurately than we had before” Shaw continued.

SAP Commerce Cloud allowed us to do that computation in combination with our existing technology and provide pricing, which was great.”

The next step for the business was introducing SAP Qualtrics CX to capture and analyse customer feedback in real time, leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence to extract actionable insights so the business can prioritise where to focus resources to create the biggest impacts for its customers. Sigma added in personalisation along with checkout flow and order management before, with Qualtrics, “turning it over to our customers and going directly to them” with every pharmacy in the Sigma group having access to the Qualtrics platform via the ordering platform.

SAP acquired Qualtrics last November for US$8 billion.

After going to pharmacies and asking what they wanted and getting “multiple and often conflicting requests”, it was back to crunching the numbers, processing the feedback and breaking down insights into various different customer levels. 

“To give us a really clear roadmap of the things they wanted to change and help shape our regular updates, our regular sprint releases, which, in conjunction with our project manager at Accenture, operations people at Sigma and the technology of Commerce Cloud and Qualtrics give us a really clear roadmap to to make changes and then be able to measure if those changes are positive in the eyes of our customers," Shaw said. "We're also using other analytical and operational data tools to see the impact on the bottom line.”

Six months in, the new platform had a 95 per cent adoption rate. Since implementation, Sigma has improved ease-of-doing business, with its ‘Net Easy Score’ increasing by +50 points, while its NPS has increased by +49 points. It has also seen an increase in average order size and three times more orders compared to its previous customer platform, resulting in a 30 per cent increase in share of revenue coming from its new customer portal.

Shaw credited the enthusiastic takeup of the new platform to the increase in visibility and transparency in terms of ordering and stock availability.

“Primarily the biggest improvements were around where the inventory is coming from, and which warehouse, because it makes a difference to when they can expect their order on that product from where it is coming from. So giving clarity on the source of their product was really important as well,” he said.

“It enables a transparent view into what Sigma is delivering to them [pharmacies], at what price, when retailers can expect the product and how much is available. All of these things technology in an ordering platform allow that we didn't really service as well as we could have before.”

Looking ahead, Sigma is planning to extend the improvements in its franchise and customer base to its supplier customers to enable them to connect into Sigma in an easier way. Again, increased product visibility and transparency offers should also benefit suppliers.

“Seeing what products they have with us, making it easier for their new lines to come into the organisation and give our supplier customers the same improved customer experience that our franchise partners have got,” Shaw said.

Improved clarity to see data more clearly is another longer-term plan. Having the system take information from a warehouse management system has enabled Sigma to see where its data could be cleaner or better “and which areas can use the improvement and then working on those specifically”, Shaw added.

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