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A B2B web shop with self services reduces simple questions, increases conversation quality and creates more turnover. When a digital customer portal boosts sales and customer satisfaction

The Amsterdam-based international exhibition and conference organisation RAI has taken a next step towards digitization. By implementing a digital B2B customer portal with extensive self-service options, Remco Pot, Manager Exhibitor Services at RAI, was able to relieve his team of time-consuming routine tasks and to boost overall customer satisfaction in the long term.

Last September, RAI launched a webshop for the Horecava, the largest hospitality fair in the Netherlands. The shop was the first of over seventy fairs to get a new online channel.

Due to self-services: Number of e-mails per exhibitor declined

Together with his team, Remco is responsible for the process prior to an exhibition participation. Whereas the department usually saw an average of 2.3 e-mails per exhibitor in the joint inbox in the run-up to the Horecava, this was reduced to an average of one per customer due to the use of the webshop.

"The fact that the shop immediately caught on so well was quite a surprise for us, as it was still a minimum viable product version", says Remco. Some 700 exhibitors rented a stand this edition, which meant that the Exhibitor Services department had to process about 900 e-mails less.”

Read all about the MVP approach

Instead of constantly answering questions about the basic necessities, employees now have more time to talk to exhibitors about the individual possibilities on the booth. On average, the RAI serves 17,000 exhibitors, but this year this has already risen to 19,000.

"The better our service is to the exhibitor, the higher the turnover". With a turnover of more than 152 million, 2018 was the RAI's best year ever. Remco expects to be able to achieve at least a quarter more turnover per exhibitor through the use of individual webshops for each exhibition. In the past, for example, not every exhibitor knew that the RAI had a cleaning service, so it regularly happened that people brought their own vacuum cleaner.

Webshops are expected to lead to at least a quarter more turnover per exhibitor.

The banners - a new option for the RAI - also suddenly show new opportunities. "During the Horecava we sold six times as many refrigerated boxes filled with ice cubes as usual. By eventually accommodating all services in one automated customer portal - instead of different departments - Remco not only expects turnover to increase, but above all overall customer satisfaction. After all, that is what he believes is really important. "Products such as water and electricity have to be purchased through us, which means that the exhibitor is actually obliged to use the webshop. Then we can now make sure that the process is as smooth as possible".

Remco indicates that the company would like to move towards a Booking.com concept, where, in addition to the RAI's own offer, additional matters can also be arranged: For example exhibitors can also book a car or accommodation via the RAI, but this is done via separate departments.

Transferring all exhibitions to their own channel

A first step towards this goal is to transfer all exhibitions to the Intershop e-commerce solution. At the moment, half of the own fairs are already run on the solution, but at the beginning of next year all events should have their own Intershop webshop. "We would like to maintain personal contact to our clients. But due to our new customer-centric self-services, most of the easy questions solve themselves. We can take customer conversations to an even higher level now, sell more and further improve customer satisfaction".

Happy customers and attractive cross-selling potential: RAI is on the road to success in terms of digitization. Do you also want to profit from more efficient processes and increasing revenues? With a digital customer portal you will exceed your goals.

Read more about customer portals!