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B2B Trends & The Work Behind Cathy’s Concepts

Catherine Sulskis
February 16, 2021 |

Elevating the B2B & B2C eCommerce Experience

This month’s DCKAP eSession was focused on the work done for our client, Cathy’s Concepts, in helping them achieve a successful digital transformation alongside our partners, Distribution One and BigCommerce. As a premier customizable gifts provider, Cathy’s Concepts sells items ranging from travel, home, wedding, and other related products. One of the main issues they faced was the struggle with manual processes and growing pains with the changing technology. Ultimately, they wanted to make a shift in their business model, to focus on the increasing need from consumers and the online retail experience.

How Distribution One Increases Efficiency

Choosing to use Distribution One as their ERP provider was the first step for the business and, with the help of all partners involved along the way, they were able to solve their need for a more efficient process, build an online experience that elevated their brand, and reach customers beyond their traditional channels. Historically, Cathy’s Concepts dealt with a lot of B2B customers and big box stores looking for engraved and customizable products, sending items out by the pallet load. As times were changing, they were looking for a way to grow beyond that.Working with Distribution One has many advantages, and Cathy’s Concepts was able to improve their internal processes and greatly increase their overall efficiency to help solve some of their main issues, which allowed them to more easily grow to this next phase of their business. According to Bijal Patel, Mobile Solutions Manager at Distribution One, “They used to deal with a lot of big box stores but, as you can tell, with the technology changing, with purchasing power changing and a lot of people going direct to retail, they had to do a shift in their business model.” This is the transition they wanted to make into ecommerce, to compete in this changing industry, and to start the journey to retail through their online store. “This is the kind of relationship we have with our customers,” he says, talking about how he was first approached by Cathy’s Concepts to help them understand how they could help them thrive in this new space. They wanted to start the journey to ecommerce with a trusted partner, and they turned to Distribution One for their expertise and guidance. As Bijal tells us, Distribution One was able to utilize their partnership with BigCommerce as a provider of the best solution for B2B and B2C.Once decided on BigCommerce as the best platform, the client was ready to move ahead, but there was also a need to find the best way to integrate everything together. It was at this point that Distribution One approached our team at DCKAP for the next step. “This is what we have to offer, this is what BigCommerce has to offer,” says Bijal. “Somewhere there had to be a middle handshake that needed to happen, and that’s where DCKAP filled in that void for us.” And our partnership allowed us to work closely and effectively to create the most seamless experience. 

You can watch Bijal’s full presentation during the eSession here:

How BigCommerce Supports B2B

As noted, BigCommerce was a large part of the successful digital transformation with Cathy’s Concepts. Adam Semien, Senior Partnership Channel Manager, was able to join us for this eSession, and he provided some further insight on that, as well as how the BigCommerce platform can help support businesses in B2B.

Adam began by talking about the landscape, current trends in the industry, and the increasing rate in which B2B businesses are going online and selling beyond their traditional methods. The Forester statistic he referred to states that “B2B eCommerce is projected to hit $1.8 trillion in the US by 2023″, but at BigCommerce they have seen trends that may outweigh even that projection. “B2B eCommerce is going to be a force to be reckoned with,” says Adam. “And it already is, and that’s just growing faster and faster due to everything that’s happening in the world, and how people have been forced to adapt.”

He then went further into the flexible Open SaaS BigCommerce offers. Though it may not be a familiar term, it means that users are able to integrate more easily and completely with their unique needs. “We have six different open APIs that you are able to easily build any and every integration you’d like to inside of our platform, but out of the box we have a lot of flexibility,” he explains. This is another way in which BigCommerce focuses on improving the complete B2B experience.

The industry is changing, and the customer journey needs to be consistent for businesses. According to Adam, “When you’re buying for business purposes, really that buying experience shouldn’t be any different. Sure, there’s going to be some nuances that make the B2B buying experience a little different, but in terms of how you evaluate products and decide on which product is going to be the best for you, it should be a very consumer-oriented customer journey.”

With Cathy’s Concepts, he pointed out that they were also able to utilize some specific features to support their unique needs. This helped them to customize unique customer buying experiences, by offering things like price lists and customer groups, allowing them to create increasingly important consumer-oriented experiences for their buyers.

As part of the change in customer expectations, to gain their purchase and then their loyalty, it’s necessary to ensure that customers feel as if their buying experience is easy, seamless and one that targets their needs best. Beyond B2C, BigCommerce has a unique foothold in the B2B experience, and this perspective and functionality offers businesses the kind of capabilities they will need to impress and grow in similar ways.

You can watch Adam’s full presentation during the eSession here:

Data Automation & Smart Integrations: The Future of B2B Commerce

The consumer experience is something that each partner involved in the digital journey had in the center of their mind, from Distribution One improving efficiency, to BigCommerce supporting their nuanced buyer journeys, and DCKAP’s Cloras helping to integrate the systems and offer a seamless experience overall.

Praveen Venugopal, Solution Consultant at DCKAP, came on to present after Bijal and Adam to round out the discussion and to explain more on our solution Cloras. He showed highlights of the product and pointed out differentiators that allow Cloras to stand out as a best-in-class solution, such as the ability for customizable integrations, mapping and modifiers, and a flexible scheduler. In this way, and with how this process truly supports all others, data automation and smart integration is the future of B2B commerce.

Choosing the ERP as Distribution One was the first part of the equation, BigCommerce was the best scalable solution for the platform, and the next key was integration. Praveen explains, “A solution like Cloras makes it easier to communicate with both these systems and make sure the information is consistent across the systems and there’s no redundant work being done.” As a seamless cross-platform connector, Cloras helps to create the kind of low effort experiences that ultimately help to drive loyalty and increase sales, and Cloras is a platform agnostic solution that integrates any system as long as there is an API involved. For Cathy’s Concepts, benefiting from this customizable and integrative experience was the final piece of the puzzle needed to complete their transition to ecommerce. 

You can watch Praveen’s full presentation during the eSession here:

After the presentations, we also sat down for an insightful panel discussion, where our guests answered further questions around the Cathy’s Concepts project, the solutions used, as well as some insights on integration and B2B trends. You can watch that here:

And, if you’d like to read highlights or watch any of the speakers from last year’s DCKAP eSummit B2B Edition event, you can visit our post event recap blog, and you can watch the full event playlist here.

Catherine Sulskis

Catherine works with the marketing team at DCKAP writing compelling content, strategizing and leading various marketing projects, helping to broaden the brand and the company mission, and producing the Driven by DCKAP podcast. With an educational background in creative writing and sociology, and having worked in partnership building and being focused in the tech industry for most of her career, she has a special affinity for the power of connection, compelling storytelling and the future of technology.

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