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Source Atlantic Logo

Finding Creative Solutions and Transforming with Technology

Source Atlantic Logo

Finding Creative Solutions and Transforming with Technology

Monthly web visitors more than doubled less than 5 months after launch

Growing share of wallet and driving eCommerce adoption

Founded in 1867, Launched InsiteCommerce in June 2019

Source Atlantic Goes Where No Distribution Business Has Gone Before

More than 150 years ago, WH Thorne launched a merchandise hardware business with one basic philosophy: don’t say no. Over time, the products and services expanded, ownership changed, and the company even rebranded, but the philosophy has always remained the same: figure out how to say yes. When customers come to Source Atlantic with challenges, the Source Atlantic team works with them to find a creative solution, no matter what.

Today, Source Atlantic offers plumbing and heating, electrical and industrial products and employs more than 500 people, with 24 branches across Canada. Source Atlantic partners with hundreds of world-class suppliers, offers a multitude of specialized and technical services and has many value-added business solutions designed to improve customers’ efficiency and productivity.

Source Atlantic is willing to go where no distribution company has gone before. They’ve built motors that extend up to 30,000 horsepower. They’ve created the most advanced corrosion coating available in the market today. They were even named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies.

As time has passed, the market has evolved and customers’ expectations and needs have changed. But Source Atlantic has been right there with them identifying their needs and developing new solutions to help answer the problems that they’re having.

A Focus on Digital Transformation

Source Atlantic knew that focusing on providing better digital experiences for their customers and their sales team was the only way to bring their business into the future. In 2011, the company began focusing on data and business intelligence. Transformation launched with an ERP upgrade and a Learning Management System implementation. The company is constantly monitoring data about inventory forecasting, sales history, usage data and more.

Digital transformation did not end with an ERP upgrade or an LMS deployment. ERPs are powerful but they are not built to power eCommerce experiences. ERPs have limitations in terms of finding items or using keywords.

In order to build a customer facing experience, Source Atlantic began their search for an eCommerce platform. The platform would enable the team to add products, bring in more enriched content and give customers the ability to search the catalog and find what they were looking for more efficiently.

In addition, account managers needed access to a portal that enabled them to share information about Source Atlantic products.

“For Source Atlantic, launching eCommerce was all about enabling our team and our customers. Our customers needed to easily find what they were looking for and our account managers needed to do their jobs more efficiently,” said Matt Hanlon, eBusiness Manager at Source Atlantic.

Prior to investing in a more sophisticated eCommerce solution, Source Atlantic had a simplistic site designed for use by a few contract customers. The site had very few items and searchability was limited.

Source Atlantic knew that if they were going to do eCommerce right, they needed to gain control of their product catalog. As a member of AD, Source Atlantic had access to AD’s data feed and made content a core cornerstone of their eCommerce implementation.

“The AD relationship was extremely and still is extremely important to our eCommerce platform. The bulk of our data comes into InsiteCommerce through the AD site,” said Matt.

Finding the Right eCommerce Platform

Source Atlantic conducted rigorous research when seeking an eCommerce platform that was best suited for the company. The team realized there was a spectrum of platforms in the marketplace, from very small portal or simple catalog sites, to best-in-class enterprise solutions developed by companies like SAP and Oracle.

While conducting research, Matt Hanlon referenced The Forrester Wave: B2B eCommerce Suites. He noticed that Insite ranked very high in both vision and execution of a B2B platform. He knew Insite had to be one of the companies in the mix.

“We sent RFQs, scheduled demos, talked with customers, consulted external companies, compared feature sets, considered costs and honestly put a lot of thought into our eCommerce decision. Ultimately we chose Insite because they are hyper-focused on B2B and have built a platform that business users can easily use and adopt without the need for a developer,” said Matt.

Source Atlantic partnered with Verndale, a customer experience agency, who helped drive strategy and connect the dots of the customer journey.

Growing Share of Wallet

In distribution, the majority of business typically comes from less than 20% of distributors’ customer base. Therefore, it is important to ensure repeat customers stay happy. In distribution, one benefit of eCommerce is often about growing and increasing share of wallet with larger, repeat customers.

Through training of sales people, creation of portals and microsites, use of promotions and other eCommerce functionality, Source Atlantic has been laser-focused on growing their share of wallet.

Built-in SEO functionality is enabling customers to find more products. Customers are self-serving and account managers are now able to offer more consultative services because they aren’t spending time taking orders or checking statuses.

“The eCommerce platform has freed up our Account Managers from taking on tedious tasks. Now we can register customers for accounts, train them on the website and empower them to login and view all their account information from invoices, to balances, order status, tracking numbers, and so on,” said Matt.

Driving Engagement and Adoption

Source Atlantic eCommerce Website

Some companies roll out a site and cross their fingers that their customers and sales team will simply adopt it. But Source Atlantic doesn’t necessarily believe that if you build it they will come. Matt Hanlon has taken various steps to ensure the Source Atlantic team and customers understand the value of eCommerce and how to leverage it.

When Source Atlantic rolled out their InsiteCommerce instance, Matt created multiple console videos and included them in a single module-based course. Account Managers, Inside Sales and Outside Sales representatives have taken the course to learn more about the InsiteCommerce solution.

Some distributors face challenges and pushback about eCommerce from their sales team. But adoption from the sales team has been consistent. Source Atlantic has structured their commission based on the account manager and customer relationship, or any technical specialist who calls on the account manager.

For example, if the account manager’s customer walks into the branch one day, calls them the next, or goes online, the commission structure stays the same.

“We want our customers to do business with us however they choose. We don’t want to force them to go online or come into the branch. We are creating channels that empower them to do business more efficiently and however they choose. It’s a hybrid approach,” said Matt.

Thriving Through Business Partnership

Since launching their eCommerce platform, Source Atlantic’s monthly web visitors have more than doubled. They are working toward a greater share of wallet and are giving their customers better access to their catalog.

“Now we have customers calling who previously hadn’t realized the breadth of the products we have. For our account managers to be able to go into a new account or an existing account and show them that breadth of products, it really allows them to show who Source Atlantic is very quickly,” said Matt.

Insite continuously works on the product roadmap. Collaborating with customers like Source Atlantic makes the InsiteCommerce platform even stronger.

“Insite’s product roadmap is second to none. We’ve had conversations with the development team one week and the next week they’re already building features and functionality we requested into their roadmap. Insite is constantly listening to their customers and learning how they can improve their platform.”

– Matt Hanlon, eBusiness Manager

“Insite’s product roadmap is second to none. We’ve had conversations with the development team one week and the next week they’re already building features and functionality we requested into their roadmap. Insite is constantly listening to their customers and learning how they can improve their platform.”

– Matt Hanlon, eBusiness Manager

“Insite’s product roadmap is second to none. We’ve had conversations with the development team one week and the next week they’re already building features and functionality we requested into their roadmap. Insite is constantly listening to their customers and learning how they can improve their platform.”

-Matt Hanlon, eBusiness Manager

Source Atlantic values the built in B2B functionality within InsiteCommerce. Today, they are leveraging features like budget management tools, custom fields, requisition rules, complex pricing and so forth.

“There are some B2B features that are standard in any eCommerce platform. But Insite, has advanced feature sets that allow us to develop a B2B solution that works perfectly,” said Matt.

A Stronger Future

Over the next few years, Source Atlantic aims to manage customer assets, equipment and inventory. The goal is to build out a centralized digital dashboard or portal so customers can conduct business in one area.

“We want to create one consolidated frontend through the Insite platform so our customers can easily conduct any kind of business. Whether they need to buy products, reference open orders, check invoices, check inventory, or take a look at motor or inspection reports, we want our customers to be able to do it all when you go to sourceatlantic.ca,” said Matt.

Source Atlantic is a historic distributor. They have seen success by building a team made up of talented and passionate people like Matt who are thinking about how they can help the company thrive in the future. They’re constantly thinking about how to make supply chain work in the 21st century. We have to admit, they’re doing an excellent job.

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