B2B platform ramps up feature set, marks 1,000th industry member
If you think of supply chain management as a multi-lane highway—with all the traffic problems the comparison suggests—the Omacro network is like the fast lane. Rolled out in 2012, the free web-based platform streamlined huge amounts of information, letting supplier companies pass data down to distributors, retailers, third-party reps, and service centers in a single stroke. Product specs, images, pricing information, and more could all be channeled to partner companies through Omacro—and received on the other end as easily as checking a Facebook feed. Fast-forward three years, and Omacro has notched its 1,000th member company in the music products industry. The platform has also been extended into fresh territory with new options for integrating the data with members companies’ own systems, as well as a recently updated “Buy Now” feature that uses Omacro data to link consumers with retailers stocking the products they want. “This giant milestone of 1,000 musical instrument companies—not just in the U.S. but around the globe—is something we’re quite proud of,” says Dana Soza, director of client success for Omacro.
Unlikely as it sounds—for a platform considered purely “B2B”—one of Omacro’s chief upgrades involves using its data to extend resources to consumers. Because the system holds stores of information on products in stock at member retailers, it was one short step to link that data to manufacturers’ public websites. Through Omacro’s “Buy Now” feature (now in Version 2), supplier members simply paste a snippet of code into the product information pages surfed daily by consumers—and visitors to each page will be presented with options for obtaining the product. “There’s no work for the supplier,” says Soza. “Everything is done by us on the back end.” With the Buy Now feature in place, consumers are met with links to buy the product from authorized online retailers on the spot, as well as options to buy, service, or rent it at a local outlet. A map targeted to the consumer’s location pinpoints nearby retailers with the product in stock, while a separate display shows local rental houses.
Meanwhile, the manufacturer holds the controls on what those options pull up. Retailers not currently stocking the product can be hidden from the menu—as can retailers under penalty for MAP violations. Options for global companies can be tweaked to show only retailers in the consumer’s own country, or adjusted to show foreign outlets depending on the laws and customs of the countries in question. Using mobile-responsive design—which automatically adjusts a website to display nicely on screens of different dimensions—this feature is calibrated for smart phones and tablets as well as computers. Analytics delivered to the manufacturer show exactly how the system is performing: which products customers are clicking on and which retailers they’re buying from.
Not surprisingly, the depth of features and painless implementation have made Buy Now a popular facet for Omacro members. “We are directing end-users to the authorized dealers with the right fit, and improving the customers’ overall experience,” says Scott Lombardo, director of global ecommerce for Omacro member QSC. “Decreasing unauthorized dealer activity and streamlining our sales channel is an added bonus.” Joe Delaney, brand director for Randall Amplifiers at U.S. Music Corp., offers that “Omacro proved to be an effective and easy-to-use tool for us.” Or in the words of Alfred Gonzales, national sales manager at ADJ USA: “We had already decided to implement our own Buy Now solution, but we quickly realized this would save us time, resources, and money—and Omacro’s capabilities far outweighed our own in this arena.”
What Omacro does best, in short, is simplify—with a lot of sophisticated tech behind the scenes. With the Omacro platform, prices, weights, and measurements are standardized into a single format, saving members countless hours of sorting and number crunching. Updates are “pushed” to partner companies so data is updated in real time and members are notified immediately. Along the way, digital locks and partitions ensure the information is channeled only to the members it’s intended for. “It requires a lot of effort to distribute an immense amount of product info to our dealer base,” says Grant Goodson, director of U.S. sales for Chauvet Lighting. “Having a centralized hub for product information is terrific. Omacro’s product database is constantly updated so dealers find the latest pricing, images, and other files.”
What Omacro data can also do, if users so desire, is integrate with a member company’s own data systems. Originally billed as a feature for advanced users, that’s changed with one of Omacro’s latest advances: a partnership with Tri-Technical Systems. A leading provider of point-of-sale software for music retailers, Tri-Tech has collaborated on a feature where product data from Omacro feeds directly into Tri-Tech—seamlessly bridging back-end inventory data with front-end point-of-sale systems. “This new partnership allows us to enrich the product data that we provide to our retailers by tapping into Omacro’s wealth of manufacturer data that’s coming straight from the source,” says Pat Murphy, executive vice president at Tri-Tech. “It is currently available and we’re excited to offer it to all our users.”
On the whole, three years’ worth of feedback suggests that while Omacro wasn’t created just for the music products business—the platform will soon be available in fields from pharmaceuticals to electronics—it’s found an awfully good fit here. In an industry populated by small and medium-sized companies, where diverse information must be shared up and down supply chains, users say it’s taken a lot of time, repetition, and error out of the daily reality of running a business. In the words of Jeremy Payne, brand director and national accounts manager for The Music People: “The infrastructure is easy to use and easy to implement. The team at Omacro has been an amazing resource.”www.omacro.com
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