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Cogent Solutions & Supplies Company Logo

The Whole Package – eCommerce that Empowers Customers and Sales Reps

Cogent Solutions & Supplies Company Logo

The Whole Package – eCommerce that Empowers Customers and Sales Reps

Featuring more than 20,000 product SKUs online

Seamless eCommerce experience fully integrated to Infor A+ ERP

Went from 6% of business online to 20% of sales online

Creating Jobs and Building Stronger Communities through Trust, Honesty and Integrity

In 1988, Phil Ferris dreamed up a mission: employ as many people as possible. Phil wanted to create jobs so people could support their families and build stronger communities.

Phil’s desire to create opportunities for others led him to found Cogent Solutions & Supplies, a California-based distributor of packaging, logistics and warehouse solutions and automation equipment.

Trust, honesty and integrity were important values to Phil. They remain engrained in Cogent’s culture to this day. These values have made Cogent the packaging partner that delivers more clarity, more guidance and more expertise for the agriculture, food processing, grocery, healthcare, hospitality, retail, manufacturing and distribution industries.

A Dedication to Employees, Customers and Suppliers

Cogent has earned the most trusted reputation in the industry by providing unmatched services and focusing on the success of their employees, customers and suppliers.

At Cogent, complacency is never an option. Cogent leaders are constantly looking toward the future and thinking about how they can continue to honor Phil’s legacy. To build a stronger future and respond to evolving customer expectations, Cogent voyaged into eCommerce.

We talked with Wendy Cypert, General Manager and eCommerce Director and Greg Meyer, Web and Systems Administrator to learn more about Cogent’s digital transformation journey.

Making Business Easier for Customers

Cogent first played their hand at eCommerce with an on-prem solution that was linked to their ERP. The solution was a dated storefront that did not provide the experiences customers were looking for. Cogent wanted to make it as easy and efficient as possible for customers to place orders online.

The company knew they had to get eCommerce right the second time around. So they pulled in various people to form an eCommerce selection committee that included the purchasing, leadership, product management, marketing and eCommerce teams. The team defined their eCommerce requirements based on customer needs.

Finding a New Platform

When Cogent began looking for a platform they knew they needed to be able to self-manage the platform. They didn’t want to have to rely on third party providers every time they wanted to make any changes or upgrades. In addition to being user-friendly, Cogent also looked for a platform with the following capabilities:

“We were looking for three primary things when we were on the hunt for the right eCommerce platform. Those included, ease of use, deep integration with our ERP and the ability to provide a custom experience.”

Wendy Cypert, General Manager and eCommerce Director

Why Insite was the Right Choice

When it came time to make the platform decision, Cogent recognized InsiteCommerce fit all their requirements.

 

“We didn’t have to be a $500 million company to be important to Insite. Even Insite’s CEO joined early discussions. Insite took the time to really understand our business and our eCommerce requirements,” said Wendy. “Insite is easy to work with. You don’t have to be an IT professional to make eCommerce happen for your company. Insite will work with you and accommodate your needs,” she continued.

Ease of use was a common theme we heard from both Wendy and Greg.

“The best thing about Insite when comparing to other platforms was the ease of use. I knew I would be running things on the admin side of things. The admin console really sold me. A lot of other platforms have pretty good products, but doing the work on the backend did not look easy or intuitive. Insite is user-friendly. It’s easy to make changes and updates when we need to,” said Greg.

Leveraging B2B Functionality in the InsiteCommerce Platform

Cogent leverages the List Management functionality within InsiteCommerce to offer a catered experience to their customers. Many of their customers have repeat orders. They order the same set of products most of the time. They don’t want to go hunt around every time they need to make an order. Leveraging lists, customers are able to easily go in to InsiteCommerce, place their order and get on with their day.

A few months after launching InsiteCommerce, Cogent also launched the InsiteCommerce Mobile App.

Cogent’s sales team helps customers manage their inventory. The team can go online and see the information they need anytime. The InsiteCommerce mobile app allows sales people to easily help manage inventory behind a desk or in the field. With InsiteCommerce, sales people can easily go in and impersonate any customer accounts without having to go into the ERP to find information. Sales people now enjoy 24/7 access to the product catalog whenever they need it.

“Insite’s native mobile app is one of the best features that I’ve seen. I love it. Our customers are over the moon about it. Our sales reps love it. I can’t say enough great things about it.”

Greg Meyer, Web and Systems Administrator

The New World with Insite

 

Today, customers can go online and self-serve through the website and the mobile app. They can easily look up invoices online, check order status and more. For Cogent, investing in eCommerce was always about making customers’ lives easier, first and foremost. But other areas of the business have seen the benefits of eCommerce as well.

“We went from an almost nonexistent eCommerce product to Insite. So we are leaps and bounds ahead of where we used to be. I think our customers look at us in an entirely different light now,” said Greg.

In an industry where products can quickly become commoditized, Cogent has to find ways to add value to their customers. They can’t just sell boxes or paper towels and be done with it – they wouldn’t survive if that was their go-to-market-strategy. The new eCommerce experience enables Cogent to add more value and build deeper relationships. Now that they are spending less time on tedious tasks like checking order status or invoices, the sales team is able to be more consultative in the sales process.

Cogent has also increased share of wallet with existing customers. Through content strategy, segmenting, promotions and personalization, Cogent is seeing increased average order sizes on eCommerce orders.

Since implementing InsiteCommerce in July 2018, online sales have more than doubled. Prior to Insite, Cogent was seeing about 6% of sales online. Today, they see nearly 20% of sales online.

The Future of Cogent

As Cogent looks to the future, they are focused on propelling growth forward. Cogent is working hand-in-hand with Insite to improve the website and continue offering customers and sales reps better experiences than ever.

The packaging industry has been around for decades. But, Cogent is a distributor ahead of its time.

 
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