Innovation propels your business forward by creating customer demand for your unique solutions, giving them the necessary tools to grow their business. Truly innovative companies scrutinize data and analytics to anticipate customer needs before the customer realizes those needs exist. These companies drive customer loyalty by delivering unexpected value and remaining one step ahead.
Heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar emphasizes a clear digital strategy focusing on providing exceptional value and customer experience to meet customers' needs after purchasing the equipment. The company uses digital as a growth enabler by turning data into useful information for customers, which drives better outcomes for customers, dealers, and Caterpillar.
Caterpillar’s Chief Digital Officer, Ogi Redzic, often speaks about the company’s ongoing commitment to providing value through a cycle of collecting data, synthesizing the information, and creating data-informed services and solutions that are subsequently passed back to the customer. In speaking about the company’s digital solution, Redzic notes, “Caterpillar is a stronger company the stronger our digital solutions get.” Caterpillar strives to make it easy to buy, own, use, and maintain a piece of their equipment.
With over 1.6 million SKUs in its aftermarket catalog, Caterpillar drives over $10 million in parts sales through its e-commerce platforms daily. The company set a goal to increase sales by 50% over the course of three years, which it met early through its use of HCL Commerce Cloud. Achieving this goal required Caterpillar to deliver value to its customers through innovative data-generated solutions. With an intentional focus on three pillars, Caterpillar positions itself as a digitally innovative company, putting its dealers and customers at the heart of its solutions.
A Streamlined Shopping Experience Drives Customer Loyalty
Caterpillar has found that customers order 24% more through their e-commerce channel than through an over-the-counter method, underscoring the importance of its strategic focus on digital channels, especially an efficient e-commerce platform. A catalog with over 1.6 million SKUs can quickly become unnavigable, leaving customers frustrated in their search for parts that fit their assets. A robust, tailored e-commerce platform that is intuitive and easy to use delights customers, which increases customer loyalty and drives sales.
Deep diving into customer problems is at the forefront of Caterpillar’s e-commerce approach. The company acknowledges that needs vary according to business size or the customer’s role within the business and provides a purchasing process that is tailored accordingly. For example,
- A smaller company with only a few assets and an occasional need for parts doesn’t have the time to visit a dealer or browse an extensive digital parts catalog. Caterpillar’s solution is a QR code on all its assets that, when scanned, allows the customer to find the exact parts for that particular asset with a streamlined ordering process, freeing up time and reducing friction.
- A larger customer with an extensive fleet may have several users within the company who access the e-commerce site. The technician identifies the issue, the procurement specialist is in charge of purchasing the part or requesting service, and the equipment manager understands when the company can take the assets out of production for maintenance or repair. The dealer can tailor the e-commerce site to address the responsibilities of each of the roles.
- Omnichannel integrations provide customers with a consistent, seamless ordering process. Customers using VisionLink, Caterpillar’s subscription-based asset management platform, or browsing parts in a store can easily find the part they need and bring it to the e-commerce site for purchase.
Simplifying the purchasing process by leveraging customer data to deliver an exceptional customer experience leads to increased customer loyalty. For example, you can streamline the purchasing process by personalizing the information on your e-commerce site to reflect the customer browsing the site or only returning search results relevant to the assets owned by the customer. Successful customer retention depends on offering the right benefits and experiences while keeping engagement levels high.
Subscription-Based Services Provide Recurring Revenue and Deeper Customer Connections
VisionLink is Caterpillar’s forward-thinking asset management and fleet productivity solution. The subscription-based service leverages data collected through telematics to offer customers a holistic view of their fleet and productivity to improve decision-making
Caterpillar thoughtfully tailors its innovative single solution to customer needs through integrations with other OEMs and third-party software APIs. Through a detailed dashboard, subscribers gain a 360-degree view of their fleet, regardless of the asset brand, type, or ownership status. Subscribers receive actionable insights that help to reduce downtime, increase utilization, and lower the overall cost of owning and operating the equipment. Caterpillar can expand its customer base through this subscription model, which includes the ability to manage assets from other brands. This lower-level contract is the first step in building a lasting customer relationship and lays the foundation for potential future asset sales.
Companies can harness the benefits of subscriptions through several models. Product refills replenish items at regular intervals to save customers time and money. Membership subscriptions offer customers access to exclusive products, discounts, or perks. Leveraging customer information can also provide you with insights into relevant new offerings. Regardless of the model, subscriptions foster predictable revenue and deepen customer connections.
Enabling Partners to Provide Efficient Customer Solutions
Digital solutions form the foundation for strong partnerships between Caterpillar and its 160 dealers serving over 190 countries. More than 1.4 million Caterpillar assetscollect data daily8. This data is then combined with data from 20 other sources, such as work order history or engineering recommendations about component life, and internal company knowledge to develop machine learning models to provide better outcomes for dealers and customers.
The insights generated from monitoring customer equipment allow dealers to get in front of possible issues before failure occurs, leading to increased customer delight. For example, Caterpillar’s monitoring system detects a component working harder or longer than usual. The dealer receives a notification of this anomaly and can proactively reach out to the customer to recommend service or a rebuild, decreasing potential downtime that could have resulted from component failure.
Strategic partnerships aligned with your brand values are a conduit for business growth through access to a broader audience. These partnerships may take the traditional role of channel or logistics partners, such as Caterpillar’s local dealers. Partnerships may also evolve as collaborations with complementary brands or influencers, leading to cross-promotion activities.
Data-Driven Innovation is the Future
Your company can stay ahead of the curve with data-driven innovation, which anticipates and solves problems your customers didn’t know they had. Customer retention increases when customers have a clear path to surpass their competition through streamlined e-commerce experiences and revolutionary business solutions. You can deliver an extraordinary customer experience that drives loyalty and business growth through a simplified shopping experience, valuable subscription-based services, or strategic partnerships. Let HCLSoftware help you implement innovative solutions with HCL Commerce Cloud to propel your business forward.