• To date, Laura Phelan and her team have redesigned 15 e-commerce sites in 11 languages.
• ADI has also introduced new customer specific videos on its websites.
• Phelan led a redesign of the ADI mobile app, available in the Android and Apple stores.
The work of Laura Phelan of ADI Global Distribution is an excellent example of how a distributor can adopt digital tools and technologies to better serve their customers on multiple fronts.
Phelan, one of five winners of MDM’s 2021 Digital Innovator award, stands out in all things digital from her position as Global Vice President of Digital Experience (DX) for ADI Global Distribution. In 2018, ADI parted ways with Honeywell. Having joined ADI in early 2019, Phelan says Honeywell hadn’t really invested in digital tools, but ADI’s new owner, Resideo Technologies, was eager to drive ADI’s digital transformation.
“From a digital perspective, I took on the responsibility of adding new members to the team in August 2019,” says Phelan. “We really grew that team quickly through 2020 and built a development platform. We are using offshore and onshore resources to really catch up. “
Phelan is responsible for 18 e-commerce websites, found on various ERP systems, in 14 different languages. To date, Phelan and his team have implemented a redesign for 15 e-commerce sites in 11 languages, with the rest awaiting completion of an ERP systems project.
He is also in charge of ADI’s digital marketing and merchandising, demand generation, in-store digital experiences, and content marketing.
“Laura is a practical leader who constantly inspires her team and colleagues to reach their goals and seek results that benefit the business,” said Adrienne Zimoulis, a colleague at ADI, in her nomination of Phelan for the award. “He brings passion and positivity to his work, and no goal is too far out of reach. Her sense of urgency and her hands-on approach help her get things done and, as a true team player, she is always ready to help. “
Phelan has implemented a 24/7 development framework to drive ADI’s digital transformation and hired additional employees to help ADI achieve its digital goals. ADI’s e-commerce platform is generating a greater mix of online revenue, which was especially important during the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
In North America, Phelan adopted a mobile device design that allowed customers to order online from websites or from ADI’s new mobile app that was recently launched. Orders can be stored in lockers for pick-up after hours or on weekends. The “quote on demand” platform allows customers to request a quote at the end of the purchase with their online shopping carts.
“Submit the request to our CRM system,” explains Phelan. “Then he spits out a quote through our ERP and then the seller engages in reviewing it to see if there is any special pricing that may be involved. Then it is sent to the client. Our goal is to achieve this within a 24-hour response period. “
ADI also has automatic quotes for customers who qualify for special pricing, which provide quotes in 15 minutes. The on-demand quote system also allows customers to upload spreadsheets to ADI’s digital branch to obtain quotes for those items.
ADI joins Microsoft Azure
Phelan says ADI started a pilot last year with Microsoft Azure that includes an artificial intelligence-based “suggested sale.” With suggested selling, if a customer orders a flat screen TV, for example, the system would also recommend an ADI TV stand, as those two products are often sold together. ADI is using the same artificial intelligence capabilities Microsoft is using in its store, according to Phelan.
“We started with that pilot last year and now it’s all over our North American sites,” says Phelan. “We are updating our current platform in EMEA. And then once the update is complete, we’ll move it to EMEA as well. We have a typical life cycle where North America tends to be three to six months ahead of EMEA because EMEA is very fragmented with 18 different countries in 14 different languages. “
Phelan says that the entire ADI network is on the Microsoft Azure cloud-based platform, and that ADI has an Azure architect on staff. Working with Azure means ADI can put its applications and systems, such as its product information management system (PIM), in the cloud that can then be accessed globally, which was a nice feature when the pandemic forced many employees and customers to work. from home without access to office.
“We have found a lot of efficiencies within that platform,” she says. “We have many other tools that are within the Azure platform. We can have a faster site and then we also have failover and redundancies in the event of a total outage. We can be ready in a matter of hours. All of those are great assets to have.
“Because we partner with Microsoft, we can also put all of our images and documents on a CDN (content delivery network) on Azure.”
Near the end of last year, ADI launched a revamped webinar platform called “On24” that is connected to its CRM system and is an element of the company’s 360-degree marketing campaign.
“The sponsorships coming from our vendor partners have accelerated,” Phelan says of On24. “Before, maybe 50 or 60 people signed up for webinars. We now have over 600 people signing up for webinars and obviously that leads to [sales] opportunities “.
ADI can send bulk email messages and social media posts based on the specific topic of each webinar, as well as launch polls during webinars. Phelan says that On24 webinars allow the company to hold virtual exhibitions with its clients who cannot hold any of its 50 in-person exhibitions across the US.
“We believe this platform is a differentiator,” says Phelan. “The commitment and success of that so far is demonstrated. We will continue to handle that.
“The overarching theme is to make sure all these acceleration tools and initiatives come together. Then it’s about how we operate in the lifecycle of everything we do from a campaign perspective within the DX (digital transformation) organization. “
Along the same lines as retail customers, distributors are increasingly taking advantage of videos to showcase their products. Last year, ADI removed the wraps from its “vid yard” video center, which allows each customer to present videos of their products on the ADI website, as well as customer training.
“Google has a video page outside of our Google landing page that allows them to post videos about all the different products that we sell,” says Phelan. “We have 110 branches in North America. If we only had each branch make one video a year, it would be 110 videos a year.
“We really have the opportunity to increase the amount of content on the site, which allows us to provide our clients with information on all different types of topics. That is really something that we are improving. We started adding videos to all of our product detail pages in some of our top categories. “
While ADI previously sent a generic email newsletter in the past, it now generates newsletters that are specific to each of its reseller segments. This practice also serves as another part of your content marketing efforts.
“We have been able to segment our customers using our marketing automation to provide different types of products that would be in those emails to all the different segments that we have defined,” she says. “If you’re someone who only works in audio and video, you don’t want to see anything around HVAC. We make sure to segment that within our content marketing efforts. “
Moving on to mobile
ADI launched a new version of its mobile application in May. The application uses artificial intelligence and is available to ADI customers in the Google Play and Apple application stores. Includes voice search for products. You can also find a product based on the customer taking a picture of a part that needs to be replaced. The natively built app also allows customers to find specific prices for products by scanning QR codes in the aisles of the store.
“It shows them the inventory on hand and all the different aspects of the product,” says Phelan. “It connects to the PIM system, which allows them to see all the different attributes. The PIM is active, but it is not yet feeding the website. We have been able to duplicate many of the items that are in the PIM on the site until we get the correct connections.
“We are planning for that connection to go live this summer, and we will be powering all of our North American sites in late summer with our PIM and then early in the first quarter of 2022 for the rest of our media sites.”