From offline selling to selling a complex assortment online
Since the release of the first version of their online store in 2016, Toyota Material Handling Europe continues to improve and develop their digital transformation journey and customer experience online.
Start small, think big
When their digital transformation journey began, it was clear that it wasn't possible to run all the businesses through one web-shop alone. THME’s organization was lacking the people, processes and technology needed to deliver high-performing digital applications and a great customer experience. Rather than waiting, TMHE wanted to start small, yet think big:
The lesson here is that you cannot digitalize the whole customer journey in one major IT project. There are almost always easy wins to start with.
“The lesson here is that you cannot digitalize the whole customer journey in one major IT project. There are almost always easy wins to start with,” says Cecilia Nilsson, head of e-commerce and digital marketing at THME.
To begin with, limited products were made available online in a few select countries. For THME, the most important thing was to get the journey started, and not to get stuck planning it for months - or years.
“When we started, all truck sales were complicated. There were no standard configurations, and every sales case was unique,” says Cecilia Nilsson. At that time, pricing needed to be calculated differently from customer to customer, and country to country. It was a long and manual purchase process, complex to handle.
Today, six years later, TMHE's transformation journey continues upwards. TMHE can sell the most complex trucks via user-friendly online configurators with a direct price quote on screen. The spare parts business have been digitized, as well as offerings regarding Used Trucks and Rentals, both for long- and short term.
Empowering customers through a Customer Portal
In order to remain a market-leading player in the manufacturing industry, TMHE knew that they needed to invest in digital solutions to accommodate their customers’ expectations. They needed to offer their customers a self-service portal with more choices, products and information throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Simplicity and availability were key.
To maximize the customer experience for higher customer loyalty, simplifying their customers everyday life.
Why did TMHE invest in a Customer Portal?
- To offer their customers a personalized online shopping experience, making it possible for TMHE to provide tailored offers to customers, individual cross/upsell and create targeted marketing.
- To optimize the customer experience for higher customer loyalty, simplifying their customers everyday life.
- Giving their customers access to invoices, various agreements and discounts, allowing THME to spend time on value-creating activities for their businesses.
- To give their customers all the information in a structured way, from size charts to tables of contents to informative guides powered by TMHE’s Data Warehouse.
The specifics of the digital solution
The target group for the Customer Portal is their larger customers, the so called key accounts, who access the portal through separate logins. The Customer Portal is a decoupled presentation layer where multiple existing systems are structured headless towards one front-end application.
The Open Website and its online store for all users (B2B or B2C) are built on top of the e-commerce platform Optimizely, including Content Management, Commerce Management and Search & Personalization. HubSpot, the marketing platform, is used for lead follow-up and marketing automation.
‘Tailor-made team’ – a success factor
A success factor for THME was the people! TMHE had set the digital strategy and the solution, but empowering their people through creating a culture of iteration and collaboration was key for succeeding. Instead of relying solely on external consultants or distributing the responsibility to existing parts of the organization, the entire digitalization of the customer experience was handled by a Digital Business Team, consisting both of THME and Columbus people. Bringing high-demand skills into the project, and creating one team, reduced time wasted from role hand-offs and hierarchies.
They drive the development of multiple customer-facing applications with the goal of always using modern platforms, where customizations are made only if there is a clear advantage to be able to improve the customer's overall experience.
Bringing skills together
The digital business team is led by Cecilia Nilsson (Head of e-commerce and digital marketing at THME). Her different approach, and extensive experience in e-commerce on the B2C side, including IKEA and Bokus, was a key factor to innovate the customer experience in a traditional B2B company.
Today, the digital business team consist of people in areas such as UX, data analytics, and business development. They drive the development of multiple customer-facing applications with the goal of always using modern platforms, where customizations are only made if there is a clear advantage to be able to improve the customer's overall experience.
Keep moving forward in collaboration with Columbus
Every year, TMHE and Columbus review which parts of the customer experience can be streamlined, as well as analyze what has already been done and/or can be improved. The roadmap is then broken down into clearly defined quarterly plans, using an agile approach while continuing TMHE’s digital journey into the future.