From the great speakers to the collaborative workshops, SMITH had an incredible experience at the B2B Next conference. We will share our consolidated learnings and takeaways in a later post, but we wanted to fill you in what you missed at our booth.
We used our booth to demonstrate SMITH’s unique approach to leveraging emerging digital technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality to tackle some of the age of old problems facing B2B industries. All of our micro-experiences were coffee themed, but our focus wasn’t coffee (if that makes sense). We used coffee because we could all relate to the product, and that made it easy to highlight the key challenges and opportunities along the consider, buy, and service phases of every B2B buyer journey.
B2B buyers are often left overwhelmed with more options to choose from, stakeholders involved, and a wealth of data to sift through which results in long frustrating sales cycles.
Our CONSIDERING station tackled complex buying decisions with guided product recommendations and an augmented reality configuration tool, because making a product seem less complex, buyer confidence will increase which helps shorten sales cycles and increase customer loyalty.
No conference attendee was an espresso machine expert (other than Fab DiCarlantonio), and so our demo was designed to guide anyone toward a machine that best met their unique business needs. Imagining they were running a commercial kitchen or coffee shop, attendees saw how each recommended espresso machine was continuously scored and dynamically sorted based on how they responded to the questions asked. Since espresso machines come with a very wide range of complexity, performance, and features, we crafted intuitive questions which would allow our demo to appropriately match the capabilities of a machine to the attendee’s imaginative business requirements. Once a machine was selected, attendees had the opportunity to visualize and configure the product in augmented reality. By virtually placing the machine on the booth counter-top, attendees were able to imagine the machine to scale as they customized its colors and features. The demo concluded when attendees purchased their machine, but their experience continued beyond the conference as each attendee was given a card that helped them re-launch their AR experience directly from their personal smartphone and view their configured device.
B2B buyers often know exactly what they need and any friction that inhibits their ability to quickly and easily reorder can impact customer loyalty.
Our BUYING station demonstrated how voice and conversational technologies could more effectively facilitate reordering in a B2B setting by making the ordering process more convenient for the buyer. When a customer can build orders away from their desk, and closer to where their business needs are realized, total spend, and retention will increase as customers will be less likely to shop alternative channels.
Attendees put themselves in the shoes of a coffee shop employee and store manager. With examples of different supplies that were running low, including coffee beans, sugars, stir sticks, and milk, attendees started their reordering experience on Alexa by adding items to a draft order as an employee, and then finalized the order as the store manager in Slack. When talking to Alexa or chatting on Slack, our demo enabled collaborative ordering through natural language conversation; meaning the experience handled multiple permissions and reordering was done without a spreadsheet and list of product ID numbers. By integrating into SAP Commerce Cloud, and turning the experience over to attendees, our live demo produced from great teaching and aha moments. For example, when building an order, some people were specific and said “add 1 bag of Italian Roast Coffee Beans” but others were vague in their requests and said “add coffee beans”, which would trigger a qualifying question like “what roast?”, but in many cases, our demo predicted the quantity and type of coffee beans the attendee was expecting to add by saying “would you like me to add 1 bag of Italian Roast Coffee Beans to your order?”. This small, but very important difference in how our demo interacted with attendees allowed us to demonstrate how SMITH is leveraging data and analytics to drive personalization across voice and conversational experiences.
When maintenance and repair requests spike, after-sales customer care and field services teams are stretched thin resulting in lengthy call wait times, unavailable technicians, and frustrated customers.
Our SERVICING station demonstrated how mixed reality technologies can remotely guide customers and field technicians through maintenance, installations, and repairs, because enabling customers with greater self-service capabilities and empowering field technicians will significantly reduce the cost to serve and increase customer satisfaction.
With a real espresso machine positioned at our booth, attendees were asked to imagine working as a new coffee shop barista who needs help cleaning the machine’s filter, tray, and grinder. For our demo, we used a Microsoft HoloLens and Microsoft Teams to help the attendee understand the specific steps for cleaning the machine. After getting setup with the Hololens, we launched a video call from a remote desktop where someone from SMITH could not only view exactly what the attendee was seeing through their headset, but they could apply visual instructions with augmented reality to overlay the attendee’s line of sight with arrows and drawings. We featured a HoloLens to show ways in which a customer or field technician can receive visual guidance and remain hands-free, but we also could have replicated the same experience with a mobile device, where a smartphone or tablet would be used as the lens for remote experts to provide shared experience real-time instructions.