February 17, 2021

Visual Configurations Drive Customer Engagement and Increase Sales

Five reasons why foodservice equipment manufacturers need to adopt cutting-edge technology before their competitors.

We recently introduced new digital selling solutions that are now available to AQ’s FES manufacturing customers. We shared how manufacturers in other industries continue to invest in online visual configuration and quoting solutions to drive customer engagement, increase orders, and build a platform for brand loyalty.

In this post, we want to inform business leaders, inspire forward-thinkers, and encourage visionaries to understand why transforming from traditional sales methods to digital solutions will improve their sales and marketing strategy going forward. The way that consumers research, engage, evaluate, and buy is changing. What worked 10 years ago may not be effective in today’s market. Your sales and marketing methods need to employ the latest technology to accommodate the way people make buying decisions.

Here are five reasons why Foodservice Equipment Manufacturers need to adopt visual product configuration and virtual experience solutions.

Visual Configuration

1. Compelling designs are easy to digest.
Have you ever uttered the phrase, “I’ll know it when I see it?” Visualization shortens the time it takes to convey a concept and is much easier for the decision-maker to grasp how the products look and fit in the designed space. Foodservice equipment configurations can be confusing for distributors, overwhelming for consultants, and even too complex for the most seasoned manufacturer’s reps. Not only that, but verbal communication between people often leads to misinterpretation. Visual configurations that customize counters, warewash systems, freezers, and other large equipment allow customers to clearly see how everything will look and fit in the footprint. Note that as much as 80% of B2B buying decisions are based on a buyer’s direct or indirect customer experience, and only 20% are based on the price or the actual offering. Rather than focusing on price, consider shifting your strategy toward user engagement and ease of doing business.

2. Support for dealers.
Give your dealers the necessary tools to win new business. Equip them with a platform to build compelling designs, produce rapid quotes, and close deals.Visual Configuration Sequence

3. Widespread adoption.
Your sales reps, dealers, and buyers are becoming younger, tech-savvy, and demanding. According to Forrester’s “Millennial B2B Buyers Come Of Age” report, U.S. B2B eCommerce transactions are expected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2023. And 73% of millennials are involved in the B2B buying process. These influential consumers are currently using visual and virtual configuration tools in B2C sectors like home remodeling, outdoor kitchens, furniture, apparel, specialty vehicles, and so on. Millennials grew up alongside technology, so FES manufacturers must fine-tune their sales and marketing strategies while this buyer demographic grows its market share.

4. Customer reviews. Manufacturers in similar industries are finding success with visual and virtual solutions. Kyle Fisher at Zebra Athletics, the world’s leading outfitter of training facilities, leverages Powertrak 3D and VR because, “It is important to deliver our full catalog of equipment in a new, exciting and more interactive method. Just thumbing through a catalog or a listing of products is old-school and boring. Allowing the customer to ‘discover’ what we make and who we work with is a fun and cutting-edge approach. Secondly, we want facility owners to have the best chance to be successful. Part of that is being happy and confident in your design. It is reassuring to see that your equipment is being placed in the proper locations for your needs or your customers' needs and selecting the best color combinations for your aesthetic.”

Customer Review
Canteen, the Nation's largest canteen vending, vending machine, and vending services company, employs Powertrak 3D and AR to provide its distributors (champions) with a visual solution to build, present, and sell its products to customers. This will lower rework costs, lower return rates, and lead to higher customer satisfaction. “This will be a great tool for the sales team to easily show what can be done in their space as well as make the ordering process more streamlined,” said Brook Tollison.

5. Fear of missing out (FOMO).
In 2016, we unveiled our 3D and VR configurator at a healthcare conference in Las Vegas. At that time, the medical device industry did not leverage visual configurators, virtual reality, or augmented reality in the sales process. Conference attendees and exhibitors curiously visited our booth in droves to learn and experience how these solutions will help healthcare professionals and other key stakeholders custom build medical equipment and design operating room layouts before construction. One sales rep commented that not too long ago, the only interactive and visual tools at his disposal were magnets with pictures of medical equipment on a hand-held board. When the client agreed on a layout, he would send the configuration to an engineer to build a blueprint of the space. He commented that the process was too slow, was prone to errors, and his communication with the client lost momentum. He couldn’t express how valuable it would be to transport healthcare planners and designers to the virtual OR suite to explore and validate the layout.

Configurator

Skytron was the first to utilize Powertrak 3D and VR because they saw the solution as a strategic tool for its distributors to showcase product attributes, speed design concepts, ensure accurate quoting, and enrich the engagement experience with healthcare planners and designers. Because Skytron’s distributors were successful in helping healthcare teams make better, more informed decisions before construction and installation, other manufacturers such as Olympus, Hillrom, Stryker, and Zeihm Imaging quickly followed with digital sales tools of their own.

With Axonom joining the AQ family, the Foodservice Equipment Service industry is now equipped with exciting new ways to configure, price, and quote products and services. To learn more about how your organization can leverage these technologies and bring your products to life, contact us at sales@AQ-FES.com. For more information about Axonom, visit www.AQ-Q2C.com.

Michael Bauer - Senior Marketing Manager at Axonom

Michael Bauer is the senior marketing manager at Axonom, the global provider of visual configure, price, quote (CPQ) software solutions with virtual reality and augmented reality experiences. He is responsible for Axonom’s digital marketing, content creation, and product communication. Since joining the company in 2007, Michael leverages various mediums to showcase how manufacturers improve sales quoting and ordering processes, and how marketers deliver compelling customer experiences through the use of Powertrak Visual and Virtual CPQ suite of solutions.

Let’s Talk

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