In the world of e-commerce, digital innovations are helping to build stronger relationship between Bunzl businesses and their clients.
Here we highlight the developments undertaken by Quirumed in Spain, Bunzl Brazil and the Bunzl Cleaning & Hygiene Division in the UK & Ireland.
Bunzl is one of the world’s largest distributors of goods not for resale, supplying customers with a variety of products essential for their operations.
Increasingly, customer interactions are digital, with 67% of customer orders being placed electronically (up from 62% pre-covid), mostly through Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or through an e-commerce website. Bunzl companies are aware of the importance of e-commerce and have responded with a range of digital solutions. Indeed, most Bunzl businesses now have online shops and many have mobile apps to enhance communication with customers. But innovation in the digital sector is constant and it is crucial Bunzl keeps at the forefront of digital developments in order to maintain a competitive edge.
Mike Yorwerth, Bunzl’s Group Chief Information Officer, is aware of the importance of keeping abreast of developing digital innovations.
Mike says, ‘How do Bunzl businesses increase customer engagement? Primarily it is by providing a quick and simple digital experience - a fast and intuitive website with great product information, crystal clear images and search function that works. Beyond that it is about continually searching for ways to increase stickiness with customers - building on our expertise by extending products with additional services. It is an ever evolving area and all Bunzl businesses need to be on the lookout for new opportunities.’
One of Bunzl’s most advanced digital marketing businesses is Quirumed, based in Valencia, Spain.
The company is wholly an e-commerce operation and undertakes all of its retail transactions through its website, mainly healthcare and beauty equipment to medical practices, physiotherapists, tattoo parlours, barber shops and spas. Unlike other Bunzl businesses, who often have large corporate organisations as clients, Quirumed’s target customers tend to be smaller companies. Consequently, Quirumed has made the decision to develop its digital marketing strategy to be more in line with practices found in the business to customer sector (B2C) rather than the business to business (B2B) sector most Bunzl companies operate in.
‘Our target market is smaller organisations who need to purchase larger items such as clinical furniture, electro-medical equipment and speciality wheelchairs every five to ten years, so we don’t have the same need to build ongoing loyalty with customers,’ explains Ignacio Rivas Ormaza, Managing Director, Quirumed.
‘Instead our business model depends on high web visibility. That means we put resources into increasing Quirumed’s web presence and giving customers the best online experience possible when they want to purchase items. We endeavour to give our customers an online experience which outperforms other companies in our sector. Perhaps every business operating online should be thinking about adopting B2C practices in their digital marketing strategy.’
Quirumed’s digital marketing strategy uses a number of tools to increase its online visibility.
Currently the business has greatest success in driving traffic to its website using the ‘pay-per-click’ method. Essentially, an arrangement with search engine companies (predominantly Google) which ensures the Quirumed website will always be at the top of the listings on a search page. At present 70% of traffic to Quirumed’s website comes from pay-per-click’. When customers access the Quirumed website it is important they are then given the highest quality buying experience, including great product information, a smooth checkout process, a customer review section and value added services like urgent delivery or purchase financing. Even healthcare expertise is available through a dedicated call centre accessed through the Quirumed website.
Another Bunzl business using advanced digital technology to enhance its appeal to customers is Bunzl Brazil.
Primarily supplying safety equipment to large companies, the business has introduced a suite of three apps named MOB Digital Solutions. The MOB Controle software allows individual employees to order their own personal protection equipment (PPE) through an app on their phone or tablet, which is then checked before being sent to Bunzl Brazil for dispatch. Initially introduced in 2018 to service Telefonica, the telecommunications company, MOB Controle is now used by a number of Bunzl Brazil’s customers. Amongst other benefits, customers using Bunzl Brazil’s MOB Controle app now have the ability to monitor employees use of PPE on-site and as a result this has led to a reduction in workplace accidents.
Accompanying the MOB Controle app are two further digital solutions in the MOB suite of apps.
The MOB Inspeção app is a digital tool used to assist in the monitoring and inspection of equipment such as safety machinery, fire extinguishers and forklift trucks, while the MOB Conduta app is used to monitor the actions of employees. Patterns are reviewed and if unsafe behaviour is identified, managers can initiate action plans to correct potential problems and help keep everyone safe.
‘MOB Digital Solutions have proved to be very successful for Bunzl Brazil. Customers have found that the apps have produced operational efficiencies and helped reduce costs,’ says Daniel Castello. Digital Solutions Manager, Bunzl Brazil.’ More importantly, customers are embracing the MOB Digital Solutions for the exact reason we developed them – they contribute significantly to the creation of a safer work environment for employees.’
In the UK & Ireland, Bunzl Cleaning & Safety Division (BC&S), which primarily supplies PPE and workwear, has just launched a digital solution which is already proving successful with customers.
The ‘Advantage Compliance’ feature allows employees to directly communicate their PPE and workwear requirements such as shoe, chest and waist size to management staff who then relay their needs to BC&S. Among the range of benefits to customers, Advantage Compliance now allows businesses to have greater control of PPE purchasing and to be more accurate in the allocation of the workwear products to staff.
Darryl Wain, Digital Director of BC&S, sees many benefits for customers. ‘Ultimately it gives our customers peace of mind. The system allows for a quick check to ascertain who has or, more importantly, hasn’t ordered their PPE and workwear and run reports to see who is compliant on site. Fundamentally, it integrates BC&S further with its customers and leads to closer working relationships.’
Closer working partnerships between Bunzl businesses and customers is one of the primary benefits when highly developed e-commerce initiatives are introduced.
In essence, Bunzl businesses are shifting from simply selling products to selling value added services and central to this shift are digitally innovative solutions for customer needs. These new digital solutions help Bunzl build ‘stickier’ relationships with customers, which in turn builds loyalty. Everybody wins.