Home > B2C, Marketing, Sales > Wasserstrom takes commercial kitchen (products) to consumer market

Wasserstrom takes commercial kitchen (products) to consumer market

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Market expansion to B2B sellers can be challenging as the buyer community tends to be small and finite (as opposed to B2C selling where theoretically the entire world could be your market). Typically sellers expand their market by adding adjacent product offerings (e.g. after-sales maintenance, accessories) or by serving new geographies. But if your industry serves consumer-oriented goods (especially Automotive, CPG, and Industrial Supplies) then one of the best ways to expand your market is to serve the consumer market in addition to serving other businesses. Though this seems obvious many B2B sellers that carry consumer-oriented products have little or no focus on the consumer market. But Wasserstrom, a 108 year old foodservice supplier, is not one among them!

Wasserstrom expands into consumer market

Early this week, I spoke with Brad Wasserstrom, President of The Wasserstrom Company and Dale Edman Assistant VP of e-commerce to understand their online strategy (Thanks to both!). Wasserstrom serves over 10 different commercial markets including local and chain restaurants, public facilities and stores. They sell every thing from dinner plates to dishwashers and the wide range of product assortment is a key strength. With the launch of their new e-commerce site built on IBM WebSphere Commerce they are able to serve both B2B and B2C segments from a single platform and open up over 160,000 products to the consumer market. Now I know where to buy (http://www.wasserstrom.com) the high-quality tableware and glassware that we find in our favorite restaurants.

What makes Wasserstrom.com successful?

When I asked what made their online business successful, Brad Wasserstrom mentioned, “Delivering distinct personalized experience to our national account customers and public customers from a single site is a key factor and the other is the depth and breadth of product offerings”. “To improve our brand awareness among the public we do online and search marketing and once we get the shopper to our site we provide resources and tools that will make them comfortable to buy from us”. Dale Edman added, “We do several things on the site including recommendations, cross/up-sell of accessories and related product patterns, ratings and reviews to help increase our wallet share”.

What does it mean for B2B sellers?

I suggest B2B sellers to take a closer look at the product offerings and its application/usage patterns to identify specific product categories that is of interest to the consumer market. If you do find then it could be a great opportunity to expand your market and I’ll be interested in hearing about it!

Note: The above posting is my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s or Wasserstrom’s positions, strategies or opinions

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  1. Sijo
    October 27, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    This is a very interesting article. I am very interested in this topic as I am looking for an approach to best utilize our B2C platform to also support a B2B platform. I am not an expert in this, but the B2C is the main business driver and is very much customized. B2B would like to use the customer experience and rich interfaces, but I am getting push back on it they are two different platforms.
    My questions to you is, how different are the platforms, and couldn’t the B2B leverage all the customizations made for B2C with out having to prop up a new instance. Leads to any other white paper or blogs in this regard would be highly appreciated.

  2. Srini Rangaswamy
    November 1, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Thank you for the comment. While the user experience requirements are similar in both B2C and B2B the business process around transaction could be different. Businesses can power both B2B and B2C sites from a single platform by sharing catalog and other site assets while overriding aspects like account information, price, and marketing content to customize the experience for B2B. I will send you an offline message so we can discuss further.

  1. March 15, 2010 at 4:38 am

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