Q&A with Rick Chavie,
Vice President of Omni-Commerce at hybris
ID: Hybris has recently commissioned some studies around
specific vertical groups in distribution to determine how functional their ecommerce is. Why did hybris embark on this project and
what are some of the initial findings?
RC: One of the reasons is that we’re putting a fairly significant
emphasis on B2B. The market for B2B ecommerce is actually larger
than the one that everyone gets so excited about — the B2C side
of the business. Everybody understands all the things around mobile and social when a consumer buys things, but the commerce
opportunity is even bigger in B2B. But at the same time, a lot of
people have kept traditional methods of how they work with their
customers in the B2B space.
If you think of the motors and power transmission distribution sector (the topic of the first hybris audit), there are a few
challenges. One is that when you’re posting products to the web
and trying to describe them, it can be a little bit of a complicated
process. And once they have that available, how do they actually
sell it to a customer? The survey (of motors & power transmission
products distributors) showed that the distributors actually want
to do those kinds of things online because they’re used to it in
their personal lives. They’re starting to demand it, but they just
haven’t been able to figure out themselves how to offer that kind
of ecommerce. They’re starting to get onboard in a big way; we’re
seeing a lot of opportunities in this space, and a lot of growth.
The other area is once they’ve shipped something to a customer
and the customer has spare or replacement parts that they need.
There is a huge opportunity there because it is so easy to automate on the ecommerce side of things. We see in the study that
there are really only ten percent or so of the businesses online
that are able to offer what we call ‘high ecommerce functionality.’
So that visualization of the product they’re selling has not gone
that last mile to make it fully automated, easy to consume, easy to
do self-service — and that’s what their customers are demanding.
Finally, it’s about the bundling of products with service: How
do I service the customer once I’ve shipped them the product? Do
I bundle in maintenance and warranty online and make it a one-
stop shop so you don’t have to worry about, later on, procuring
This model is changing rapidly, so we just want to get out there
and look at what these manufacturers and distributors are doing.
ID: Hybris took a creative step this year by organizing – with
some partner organizations – the Game Plan summit, slated for
October. Tell us a little bit about the event and the reasons why
hybris is taking the lead on this.
RC: There hasn’t been much opportunity to be able to really
listen to some key leaders in the ecommerce space, because many
of the conferences surrounding this topic tend to be B2C. The
challenges in the B2B space are a good bit different, and more
complicated — and yet, customers still want that ease of use: the
consumerization of B2B. They expect the same things they get
on any retail websites or search engines. In order to provide a
roadmap for these people for how to internalize this in their own
organization, one of the key challenges is — how does ecommerce
get them to that next level? That’s what we’re offering to people:
the chance to network with colleagues, and work with people
across other verticals. Companies might want to think about
listening to (businesses in other sectors) because we’re finding
that the learning and the sharing across verticals is actually quite
robust. When they get into this and talk to some of the leaders
and speakers, I think they are going find they can get a jump start
that they can’t get at a lot of the other conferences that are more
There is going to be a new feel to it. It’s not an event that’s
been running for five years and you’ve heard the same speakers.
These are all new and exciting things.
ID: What else is new and exciting with hybris?
RC: One of the key things is that we were bought recently by
SAP. We are set up to continue forward as a separate, yet collabo-
rative company. We’re still a stand-alone operating business unit.
Also, we have some accounts that are shared, so the idea is that
we can collaborate together around those key accounts and bring
Industrial Distribution catches up with hybris on its recent audits of industrial distributor website capabilities, its first educational conference on B2B ecommerce, and
what to expect from a technology perspective.