Advantech Builds the World's Largest IoT E-Commerce Platform — IoTMart
In 2006, when global e-commerce was in early development, Advantech took the lead in establishing the Advantech eStore website to provide online purchasing of industrial computers and peripherals. To date, 12 storefronts covering most of countries on the planet have been established. However, Advantech’s transformation into a comprehensive IoT solution provider meant that the eStore did not fit the new sales model. To promote their e-commerce transformation, Advantech built a new e-commerce platform — IoTMart — as a B2B online procurement process to better meet customer needs. This has made it easier for customers to purchase IoT products online and the efficiency of Advantech’s e-commerce operations has been enhanced.
Achieving zero manual operation through Automation
According to Gary Lee, Director of Digital Marketing Department at Advantech, the company is upgrading its global sites to provide complete online procurement services for customers. This will be done by migrating front, middle, and back-end systems to the cloud and integrating front-end inventory and back-end logistics. They estimate that by 2025, upgrades will be completed for international sites distributed across Taiwan, the United States, China, Europe, Japan, and South Korea, thus providing efficient online procurement services globally.
The US IoTMart site has already been launched, with some orders needing zero manual operation. That is, from the time a customer places an order, the system automatically performs all subsequent processes (e.g., payment, picking, and shipping). Mr. Lee emphasized that the automated process dramatically improves customer satisfaction, with savings on labor being redirected to more valuable business innovations. This provides new momentum to e-commerce operations. The IoTMart international site will allow Taiwan Headquarters to select products and directly receive orders online, with prices formulated according to market regulations and transaction norms. Stock of certain items will be dedicated for specific products, and delivery services will be provided from dedicated warehouses to enhance global customers’ order fulfillment experiences.
Connecting front, middle, and back ends to the cloud to optimize the shopping experience
Advantech will implement the Salesforce Commerce Cloud to completely transfer the e-commerce platform from local servers to the cloud. This has been completed for the North American site. Mr. Lee pointed out that migrating to the cloud seamlessly connects CRM and ERP systems with the establishment of a brand-new central control room that integrates all front- and back-end data. Through data integration and analysis, e-commerce operators can optimize their customers’ purchase experience.
Adapting to local conditions to enhance customer willingness to use IoTMart
Mr. Lee believes that changing people’s habits is the biggest challenge, especially for B2B procurement. To overcome this, Advantech has optimized the platform according to customers’ major pain points. For example, most US companies are used to purchasing online and have no difficulty operating the platform. Concerns are more focused on the user-friendliness of the interface and the convenience of the purchasing process. And when the Advantech North America IoTMart platform functions were upgraded, the focus was placed on optimizing the customer order process and delivery of goods.
By contrast, many Taiwanese companies are accustomed to placing orders directly with Advantech via e-mail or telephone. Features of the Taiwan IoTMart platform were designed to educate customers to switch to online purchasing through such initiatives as Advantech’s valet ordering service.
Although the future of e-commerce is bright, many challenges remain. Enterprises must constantly develop new strategies to improve the customer shopping experience. Advantech’s IoTMart will continue to be transformed and innovated to become the preferred platform for customers purchasing IoT products.