CASE STUDY — Parts Town
How a B2B Distributor Has Achieved 20% YOY Growth for a Decade
Parts Town’s partnership with Astound Commerce underscores the value of investing in—and continually augmenting—a comprehensive ecommerce ecosystem.
In 2007, the foodservice corner of the B2B industry was still heavily manual, with print catalogues detailing the thousands of parts carried and orders taken by phone and fax. Parts Town, a US-based distributor of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, was looking to modernize its operations and transform its business model, helping the company establish itself as the most comprehensive OEM parts supplier in the industry.
Working with Parts Town to understand its goals as well as the culture of the OEM parts industry, our team of strategists, business consultants, and tech innovators first identified Parts Town’s customers’ key drivers: the need to figure out which part was broken, find its serial number, and get the replacement part as quickly as possible. Parts Town’s manual ordering process—antiquated, inefficient, and time-consuming for customers and company alike—thwarted those needs, as did the company’s paucity of research resources. Stock and delivery details were opaque, with identifying a part an inexact science that too often resulted in incorrect orders and wasted time. Moreover, the site’s content neither garnered buyer confidence nor reflected the company’s 30+ years of business and insider knowledge of the food service industry. There also were no channels to communicate with customers outside of the ordering process.
To strategically transform Parts Town into a digitally optimized brand, we designed and built for the company the first-of-its-kind ecommerce website for the food-services industry: one that automated the ordering process, reduced delivery time, and increased the company’s geographic reach. We have spent the past 12+ years improving that platform with innovative research and technological tools, including interactive parts diagrams (2009); mobile optimization (2010 and 2012); PartSPIN 360-degree imaging technology (2013); interactive Smart Manuals (2017); and search functions based on serial number, manufacturer, and model (2015 and 2017). Content optimization initiatives such as the Awesome Sauce blog and tech town—an online forum where technicians can chat and share best practices—have built community, enhanced customer loyalty, and expanded the sales base. The innovations have continued with customer-service initiatives such as 24/7 real-time texting with Parts Town staff and PartsIQ, a personalized, real-time analytics program with interactive account dashboards.
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