W.B. Mason Shows How to Break with Tradition—By Building on It—Using Adobe Experience Cloud and Microsoft

by Dave Welch

posted on 11-12-2019

The rise of e-commerce has disrupted traditional sales models, often making interactions feel less personal and more transactional. While consumers are quick to capitalize on the convenience of online purchases that show up at their doorsteps, they still expect personal interactions and engagement from retailers on their terms. Many companies still see the advantages of maintaining more personal interactions, including face-to-face relationships. Yet, their challenge is how to bring a personal touch to digital channels as part of a comprehensive Customer Experience Management (CXM) strategy.

The continued desire for that personal touch is the driving force behind digital transformation at W.B. Mason, a B2B office supply company founded in 1898. Over the past 120 years, the company has evolved continuously to innovate in an industry marked by frequent change. W.B. Mason has evolved from a small storefront in Brockton, MA in 1898 to the second largest privately owned workplace products dealer in the U.S. Selling everything from paper, furniture, facilities equipment, food service solutions, and a wide range of business technologies, W.B. Mason offers an appealing one-stop shop for the modern office—and its personal approach has always been a key differentiator.

“We focus heavily on customer relationships, and that sets us apart from competitors,” says Robert Canning, Digital Transformation Project Manager, Marketing at W.B. Mason. “Sales reps still have face-to-face conversations with customers, and we deliver our office supplies with our own trucks to ensure they arrive on-time to the customer’s satisfaction.”

However, its focus on in-person relationships means that, in the past, the company hesitated to invest in its website as a channel for new customer acquisition. Now W.B. Mason realizes it needs to blend the old with the new—extending its powerful in-person customer experiences into the digital world.

“W.B. Mason launched a digital transformation to be more competitive in e-commerce, partnering with technology companies including Adobe and Microsoft,” Robert says. “The goal is to deliver more personalized experiences online while capturing insights for sales teams to use as they work to win new customers and retain existing ones.”

Building personal relationships that span offline and online worlds

Through its digital transformation, W.B. Mason is working hard to maintain the highly personal, relationship-based business model it values—and plans to enhance that model with an e-commerce channel that supports and empowers sales reps. Adobe Campaign, Adobe Target, Adobe Analytics, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 are core to this strategy.

“The Adobe solutions appeal to us because they are all well integrated, and Adobe’s relationship with Microsoft really cemented our choice,” says Robert. “They address our need to move data back and forth between the website and CRM system to pass actionable insights and leads to sales teams.”

With Adobe Campaign and Adobe Target, W.B. Mason can create tailored digital experiences to attract prospective customers—not just existing customers, who were already able to log in to the website to see custom pricing and inventory. By creating better website experiences for anonymous visitors, the company can guide them toward a web form and turn more of them into leads.

W.B. Mason also uses the Adobe solutions to prevent customer churn, sending targeted emails and prompting sales reps to reach out personally to at-risk customer accounts. As Robert points out, “We add new customers all the time, but if we don’t work to retain them, it doesn’t help us over the long term.”

Customer intelligence is a powerful tool for sales reps at W.B. Mason. The combination of Adobe Analytics and Microsoft Dynamics 365 is set to become a crucial part of how sales teams operate.

“Our goal is to glean complete and actionable information about how best to serve our customers by combining e-commerce behavior data from Adobe Analytics with invoice data, customer service interactions from CRM as well as what we learn from driver and sales rep interactions with our customers,” says Robert. “That’s the full integration vision we’re working to achieve

Transformation brings new customers, higher revenue

Though still in its early stages, the digital transformation at W.B. Mason has already paid off.

“The improvements we’ve made to the Anonymous User online experience using Adobe solutions have brought in over 1000 new customers and nearly two million dollars in revenue,” Robert says.

As W.B. Mason continues to build out the integrations, it sees a larger opportunity for business success—one that allows the company to scale its traditional relationship-based model and drive its CXM strategy.

“With such a large customer B2B base, it’s becoming more difficult to maintain direct contact with customers,” says Robert. “We’re looking at our digital transformation to help us manage relationships more effectively and keep customers happy, so we can continue to grow.”

W.B. Mason uses Adobe Experience Cloud, with its email marketing, personalization, and analytics capabilities, in combination with Microsoft Dynamics 365 to deliver Customer Experience Management and grow its business.

Topics: Digital Transformation, Analytics, Customer Stories

Products: Analytics, Experience Cloud