Everything is different – gone are the big sales launches, the trade shows, face to face meetings and showroom visits. For now, the vast majority of B2B sales are taking place remotely. Brands have been challenged to find ways in which they can guide their customers through a new season’s ranges digitally and deliver compelling, relevant, and tailored offers to their buyers.
Stripping away the familiar go-to-market approaches meant looking for alternatives – fast. Unlike before, when product ranges were presented in the same way season after season, there were no shortcuts – no artwork files for print catalogues that could be overwritten, or trade show set up that can be replicated. Instead, brands had to start afresh and consider the best way forward.
In doing so, a spotlight was shone on the cracks in the digital workflow. Decision-making around product ranges needs to be swift to reflect trading conditions, supply chain activity and a brand’s evolving strategic direction. Sharing those decisions effectively across the business presents its own challenges.
Remote working highlighted the importance of merchandisers have easy access to seasonal products to plan assortments; category managers collaborating with marketers to capture key product features; sales managers getting their hands on the latest product images to build customer presentations; shipping of samples, getting hold of information about EAN codes or regional product selections and price lists in multiple currencies all became a whole lot tougher.