April 28, 2021
  |   Adobe Experience Cloud, Trends

2021 Adobe Summit Recap: Building a Digital Foundation for a Scalable Direct to Consumer Solution

With the combination of online stock shortages and physical retail stores closing, consumers are turning directly to brands to fulfill their needs. As a result, B2B companies are investing in digital transformation to align with changing consumer behaviors. 

At Adobe Summit, Mike Lewis, Director of Ecommerce at Pentair, and Charlie Hall, Head of Digital Strategy at Blue Acorn iCi, share how they accelerated Pentair’s digital transformation to align with fast-changing buying behaviors. Pentair’s new digital direct-to-consumer (DTC) go-to-market strategy builds brand awareness, drives conversions, and collects critical customer data to inform all aspects of the consumer business.

Watch the recorded session here or read the recap below.

Now is the Time to Accelerate Digital Transformation

According to Forrester, 45% of online adults want to buy directly from a brand, but why now?

  1. COVID accelerated the increase in online shopping
  2. There’s typically greater product availability and selection from the manufacturer
  3. Customers have an increased comfort in the ability to return online orders
  4. Lower cost due to cutting out the middleman and no markup

“Legacy brands in the past have had a leg up on new brands. They’re more established so they had a competitive advantage. But in the modern world, it’s the digitally native brands that have the competitive advantage because they can react faster,” said Charlie.

The drastic shift in customer behaviors has put pressure on brands to accelerate digital transformation. For many companies, this will mean improving agility to stay competitive and owning customer data and the end-to-end experience. Owning customer data is one of the most significant benefits of digital transformation for a B2B company. After relying on retailers and dealers to sell their products, many B2B companies fell out of touch with their target audiences’ needs and pain points.

Additionally, digital transformation requires companies to upgrade technology, streamline processes, and minimize manual workflows with automation, which can drastically cut costs. Lastly, digital transformation enables companies to deliver omnichannel experiences. “It’s about delivering the same kind of experience across all channels,” said Charlie.

While each brand’s digital transformation will look different, the foundation is often the same. To successfully drive digital transformation across an organization, companies need to foster customer and employee centricity and pivot to an experience driven digital strategy across people, processes, and platform.

When helping clients kick off their digital transformation, Blue Acorn iCi works with key stakeholders to build a roadmap. The most successful roadmaps are a year to three years in duration and broken down into quarters. Each quarter has achievable objectives and clear monthly actions—across people, process, and platform—that will drive the quarterly objective.

Download Blue Acorn iCi’s Digital Transformation Workbook for key insights, helpful tips, and an interactive worksheet for planning your digital transformation.

5 Must-Have Technologies for a Streamlined Direct to Consumer Channel

Pentair sought to transform their residential water filtration go-to-market strategy by selling directly to the end consumer without disrupting their B2B channel or relationship with partners.  They partnered with Blue Acorn iCi to create a long-term roadmap for launching their direct-to-consumer channel. As an enterprise company, they have multiple ERPs, warehouses, and brands. These five technologies have helped them streamline their DTC channel:

  1. PIM First: PIM is the foundational piece that manages the technical product information needed to enhance product detail pages, optimize the search experience, and help drive conversions.
  2. CMS + Commerce + CRM = Success: Pentair uses a headless hybrid approach for their DTC experience. They use Adobe Experience Manager for personalization, content management, globalization, and enterprise-wide workflow governance while Magento supports the checkout and cart experiences. Pentair’s CRM tracks marketing attribution, campaign ROI, lifetime value of customers, and customer interactions.
  3. Data Integration Platform = Scalability: A data integration platform allows Pentair to have one connection for multiple ERPs and warehouses, which improves the scalability of order management, pricing, and workflows. 
  4. ERP is Key: When setting up their ERP, Pentair worked with their finance team first. This helped them determine the right setup for bookkeeping, general ledger, and order and inventory management.
  5. Test, Test, Test: A DTC channel is a long-term investment, so Pentair continuously tests experiences to improve conversions and revenue.

“The more data we have, the better experience we can deliver.”

Mike Lewis, Director of Ecommerce at Pentair

Pentair’s Opportunity: Partnership is Best

  1. Pentair leverages B2B Partners throughout the DTC customer lifecycle:
    1. In-home consultations
    2. Last-mile delivery and installation
    3. IoT Monitoring
    4. Service and Support
    5. Maintenance Contracts
  2. Differentiate from competitors:
    1. Pentair’s DTC solution provides water testing or analytics
    2. Based on the results, Pentair drives personalized experiences across their website and apps
  3. DTC channel is one step for highly considered, high order value products
    1. Pentair uses multiple channels to keep customers engaged from research and consideration through purchase: social media, offline, website, forums, and reviews

Pentair’s Solution

Pentair uses Adobe Experience Cloud for a scalable Commerce Solution that supports their multiple brands, business units, and ERPs. “For a company like us, partnerships are critically important. So to have someone like Adobe, who has a mature roadmap, who’s investing in ecommerce capabilities, it makes us feel better that as we scale the other areas, we’re going to be in a really good position to move quickly,” said Mike.

What’s Next for Pentair?

  • Continued maturation of the CIF framework
  • Improve conversion through personalization
  • Testing to improve UX
  • Automation for improved efficiency and savings
  • Reduced friction with self-service
  • Provide customers with fulfillment options

Key Takeaways

  1. The time for DTC is now
  2. Think long-term
  3. Begin with a strategic roadmap and a strategic partnership
  4. Seamless integration is key

If you want to accelerate your digital transformation like Pentair, reach out to us today to learn how we can help.

Shannon Abel
After graduating from Clemson University, Shannon started her career in marketing, focusing on content creation and engagement. As Blue Acorn iCi’s Senior Media Marketing Specialist, she keeps brand and retail professionals up-to-date on the latest trends and news in the digital customer experience space. She also produces and hosts Blue Acorn iCi's podcast, The Funnel. In her free time, she enjoys walking her dogs and hanging out at the local breweries in Charleston.
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