The Making of UVERCE™
An e-commerce platform built for the office equipment industry
Today’s business buyers are becoming more sophisticated by educating themselves as well as purchasing products and services for their business. Because of the power of the Internet and the vast amount of information to help buyers make decisions, clients are conducting more than 80% of their research before even speaking to a salesperson. At the same time, the next-generation of decision-makers, buyers, and purchasers who have grown up digitally expect a certain level of content and information given on vendor websites for them to educate themselves with. These buyers will also inadvertently move on to other sources of education to help make decisions because of their desire for more thought-leadership and trust.
Similarly, we are seeing a transformation on how next-gen buyers want to purchase business products over the Internet. These buyers like choices; they explore and make decisions on their own and are willing to work with suppliers that provide the best education and buying experience for them. We have already seen industries (high-end machinery, large appliances, automobiles, homes, etc.) that do not need a salesperson to guide buyers through their transaction. With this in mind, the office equipment industry needs to understand these trends and transform like other industries have in the past—or we will inevitably end up like those fell behind (silver halide film, typewriters, calculators, etc.).
UVERCE™ and e-commerce
Back in 2019, Keypoint Intelligence knew that this trend was happening and began its journey to conceptualize the best e-commerce experience based on the buying trends of B2B consumers and the needs of office equipment dealers. Today, we are calling that product UVERCE™. While we knew there was a need for the end customer, we also wanted to see if the office equipment dealers were ready for such a shift to an industry that had been selling copiers the same way for over 50 years: with a sales rep, face to face.
Not only were we surprised by the amount of support from the dealer community, but also by how many had also been thinking about e-commerce this way. Some said they were working on an e-commerce solution already. Several mega dealers confirmed that e-commerce was one of their biggest initiatives over the next two years. Others who were just starting their e-commerce journey admitted that we have to be prepared for the inevitable and believe this trend will happen in our industry.
At the same time, there were dealers that really did not want to give up the consultative engagement with their clients and may not be ready for such a big shift, which brought us back to the drawing board: something was still missing to make this perfect.
By mid-2020, as we all know, the world had changed and (with the pandemic) our industry was drastically affected. Gone were the days dealer sales reps could visit clients in their offices, or clients could visit dealerships. As we know, many offices closed or shifted to working remotely, leading many companies to figure out how they were going to get their remote employees to conduct business in this new environment—which, of course, included printing.
At the same time, we were fully on our way to developing UVERCE™, which now included a new “Engagement” module that allows dealer sales reps to chat and make audio/video calls, as well as sharing files and conducting demonstrations (providing that consultative engagement is fully connected to the e-commerce platform). With the addition of this module, not only were we able to solve the barrier we now face, but we also provided a way for dealers to communicate and engage with clients in the world. This new reality has actually accelerated the need for dealers to be open about new communication vehicles for their business and to provide their customers a different channel for acquiring products: remotely and through their website.
UVERCE™ Is Ready for Prime Time
While 2021 shows more clarity for the industry with a vaccine in place, the new normal for business communications and acquisition of products has forever changed across all industries. With B2B customers more inclined to do research (and even purchases) by themselves, dealers need a new way to conduct business. UVERCE™ has been designed and created from the ground up to be specifically for the office equipment industry. There are five main modules for the product: engage iQ, product iQ, config iQ, contract iQ, and transact iQ, all powered by bliQ and our analytics platform analyze iQ.
The platform has been created in a modular fashion and has flexibility built in for dealers to pick and choose modules they are ready for. If they want a full, end-to-end e-commerce experience, that is available. For the dealers that may not be ready for the full transactional experience or who just want a great turn-key product catalog maintained by bliQ, that’s also an option. With such flexibility, dealers can also choose which products they want to go through a whole transactional experience. For more sophisticated devices, like production or a higher end A3, they can choose to have customers chat with a specialist. These decisions can be customized down to the product level, giving dealers broad flexibility to open their e-commerce experience to clients—on their terms, how they wish, and when they are ready.