BALANCE & PLANNING

Product Segmentation

Jul 6, 2016 | Mark Troast


In our previous blog post about adopting Envoy, we covered designing for digital first. In part 3 of this series, we'll examine product segmentation.

Product segmentation continues to be a "wouldn't that be nice" concept for many footwear and apparel brands. It makes sense brands would want this feature because it would allow them to divide wholesale customers into groups based on what they want a customer to sell and show appropriate pricing for each customer.

Problems arise, however, because a brand's wholesale customers rarely fit into cookie-cutter groups, which results in having as many exception customers as customers that fit neatly into predefined groups. In fact, it's likely most of a brand's wholesale customers receive red carpet treatment because these partnerships have been built around specific relationships, history and expectations. Since the brand also values this relationship, it would like to treat each customer uniquely and make that relationship stronger. Unfortunately,this often comes at a cost to the efficiencies and control associated with grouping customers into segments.

For brands already using a B2B solution, this has been an easy problem to ignore because most B2B platforms have little to no support for product segmentation. Fortunately, now that Envoy supports product segmentation, we can resolve this problem. We understand that even though this is a positive for a brand, it may cause some anxiety to consider surfacing this functionality in a B2B environment. That's why we approach it with a two-pronged solution.

First, we approach all design, UX, and functionality decisions from a perspective of balancing end-user satisfaction with business efficiency. Since product segmentation is essentially this kind of problem, designing a user-focused platform allows us to leverage a brand's business needs and experience to find balance and implement it effectively.

But effective systems don't happen overnight, so the second part of our solution is an emphasis on planning. Our team is fully engaged during implementation to facilitate planning not just from perspective of efficiently capturing at-once orders, but also from a perspective of growing the channel. Each implementation is unique and we believe that if each customer interaction is properly respected as an opportunity to engage with meaningful content and to grow stronger ties, finding the balance between exceptions and efficiency becomes possible.

We've found this two-pronged approach to be very effective. Not only does it provide a framework for achieving success with Envoy's product segmentation features, but it also helps create an understanding within an organization of Envoy's approach to B2B - making every interaction with your customers engaging and useful.


Be sure to check out our previous entries in this series, What You Need To Know About Centralized Product Data Workflow and Designing for Digital First.

Mark Troast

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VP eCommerce Enablement

With 13 years of experience in solution enablement, Mark Troast uses his considerable experience to represent clients' interests while planning and executing the implementation of the Envoy platform.