B&H Photo sharpens its focus on b2b sales
Online b2b sales have surged since joining the Ariba Discovery portal.
By Paul Demery
When e-retailer B&H Photo, Video and Pro Audio decided to focus on selling to other businesses a few years ago, the retailer asked some of its customers for advice on how to grow its b2b sales. Taking their advice, B&H started contacting buyers though an online b2b network and within the past two years has grown online b2b sales by more than 100%, says Barry Eisenberg, manager of business development, contracts and procurement.
B&H, No. 165 in the Internet Retailer Top 500, still does most of its sales to consumers, topping $100 million in 2011. It sells some 300,000 consumer electronics products, ranging from professional-grade cameras and audio equipment to personal computers, studio lighting equipment and binoculars.
But after setting up a profile on Ariba Discovery in the second half of 2011, B&H quickly added “hundreds of thousands” in new b2b sales by lining up interested buyers, Eisenberg says. He declines to specify B&H’s total b2b sales. Ariba Discovery is a business-matching service delivered on the Ariba Network, a b2b trading network used by nearly 1 million buyers and sellers to connect and collaborate.
In the past B&H had prospected for b2b customers mostly through mailing or e-mailing thousands of pitches to potential buyers on industry lists. But it would take hours of staff time to sift through replies to find and match buyers with the right products.
Today a dedicated staff spends about 20 minutes each day viewing up to about 10 customer leads in Ariba Discovery, where potential customers can view B&H’s profile with its full product catalog. B&H staff can respond within minutes through the portal to prospects requesting more information, Eisenberg says.
Although 10 prospects a day might not sound like a lot, in the b2b world it can quickly add up to a large new source of sales from steady repeat customers dealing in high volumes, he says.
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