General Electric Dowty: B2B Ecommerce Solutions and Integrations

Dowty Hercules Propeller

There is a perception out there that B2B business is just not feasible on Software as a Service (SaaS) ecommerce platforms, like Bigcommerce. But we are here to prove to you that that is not the case. With the right partner, native platform features, and apps like the Ebizio Checkout App, Bigcommerce is an ideal solution for both new B2B businesses and established businesses looking to modernize their approach to selling online. 

A Bit About Dowty

Since its founding in 1937, Dowty has forged a successful business as a global leader in the design, development, testing, production, repair, and maintenance of state-of-the-art propellers. In their industry, the Dowty name is synonymous with reliability, performance, and quality, having logged more than 300 million in-service flying hours, among many other significant accomplishments.

In early 2020, Dowty found themselves needing to once again innovate to propel their business forward (pun intended). The need for this particular innovation, however, didn’t have anything to do with the propellers themselves, but with how to best deliver those products into the hands of their customers. Dowty was receiving more and more feedback from customers asking for a better way to place their orders. The time had come for Dowty to provide a flexible, secure, and efficient way for their customers to place their orders online. 

This is a hurdle that is well-known and commonly found even among the longest-standing and most successful B2B businesses. In fact, it is especially common among industry leading businesses. The sales and customer service ‘best practices’ on which these businesses built their reputation and success now need to evolve with their customers’ needs. Today’s customers need to be able to place their orders online, and at their own convenience. 

The B2B Ecommerce Solutions

In this article, we are going to focus primarily on how the Ebizio Checkout App enables Dowty to do business online without changing the way they segment their customers, or how they manage and fulfill orders. But before digging into the solutions provided by the Ebizio Checkout App, let’s take a look at a few other ecommerce features and customizations that were critical to the success of the project. 

Dowty came to IntuitSolutions with one primary goal – expand their website to allow for pre-approved B2B customers to place accurate orders online. On the face of it, this may sound like an easy objective, but there were a number of more specific requirements and hurdles that could not be solved with an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution. As always, IntuitSolutions recommended going with Bigcommerce for the ecommerce platform. Many of the more basic requirements of the project were met with features included in the standard Bigcommerce offering:

Price Lists

Offering specific pricing to specific customers is essential to B2B business, and Bigcommerce offers a polished and flexible solution via their Price Lists tool.  Learn more about BigCommerce Price Lists

Customer Groups

In order to give different access and information to different tiers of customers, accounts needed to be organized into selected Customer Groups, a feature readily available on Bigcommerce. Learn more about BigCommerce Customer Groups

IntuitSolutions also leveraged both custom fields and the availability field to create some unique customizations for Dowty. Dowty sells both in-stock products and products that require a specific lead time. Using custom fields, we are able to display this information for the customer directly on the product listing, and make finding the right product with the right stock as simple as possible. Messaging around timeline is critical in B2B ordering, and with some simple customization we were able to clearly communicate this information to shoppers.

Custom Integrations

We also completed some custom back-end integrations with Dowty’s other systems, allowing for a seamless transition to selling online with BigCommerce, and minimizing changes to the way that they receive and fulfill new orders. Integrations were written for inventory, product data, and orders. 

Ebizio Checkout for BigCommerce

In addition to out of the box features of BigCommerce and some light customization using custom fields and availability, the Dowty B2B experience leans heavily on the Ebizio Checkout App to provide solutions for critical checkout needs. Here’s an overview of what the Ebizio Checkout app for BigCommerce is.

The Ship on Account module of the Ebizio Checkout App is probably the most important for Dowty. This module allows their customers to place their orders without paying upfront for shipping, and instead enables them to enter their preferred shipping carrier and account number. This lets the Dowty fulfillment team bill their customer’s shipping account directly for the order. Now their customers can negotiate their own rates with preferred shipping providers, and Dowty doesn’t have to bill them for shipping.

When combined with the Shipping Rules by Customer Group module of Ebizio, Dowty can limit this Ship on Account feature to only pre-approved customers. Each shipping method made available in the checkout can be limited to only approved groups. This way, Dowty can give specific access to different levels of customer, based on whatever criteria they determine, such as order volume, shipping location, etc. 

Dowty also uses the Payment Rules by Customer Group module. This module is very similar to the Shipping Restrictions, but instead will limit the availability and visibility of payment methods in the checkout. Merchants use this feature to grant different groups of customers different payment terms based on their pre-approved status. Some customers may get NET30 terms, while others receive NET90 terms. And others may be required to pay with a credit card at checkout. These modules provide flexibility and a seamless purchasing experience for Dowty’s customers. 

Finally, Dowty leverages both the Style Editor and Text Editor modules to personalize and streamline the checkout process. Using the Style Editor, we updated the BigCommerce optimized checkout to adhere to Dowty’s branding requirements. Colors and fonts were changed to match the rest of the ecommerce site, and create a more cohesive user experience. 

The Text Editor plays a more important role in personalizing the checkout. We mentioned above that Dowty offers both in-stock and lead-time products. Including relevant information about the ordering process for each of these types of products will ultimately lead to a higher conversion rate, as customers are better informed on the details of their order as they place it. 

Your Elite BigCommerce Agency Partner

In addition to the above solutions, there are several other solutions to help you sell b2b online. If you’re looking to take the next step forward, and are ready to do more business online, IntuitSolutions is the partner you are looking for, and the Ebizio Checkout App will deliver the features you need for success on the BigCommerce platform.

We’d love to learn more about your business and how we can help it grow. Contact us or give us a call 866 590 4650.

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