In an important digital initiative to make product selection and procurement easier for customers, SEW-EURODRIVE South Africa has launched an online purchasing feature on its website. According to Zander Claassens, Training Manager at SEW-EURODRIVE, the portal allows customers to not only order products or parts, but also to find support in the form of documentation and CAD data. To maintain the personal touch, there is even a dedicated person to assist customers with their online requests from 7am to 9pm every day.
“The online purchasing portal offers users many useful tools and functions, valuable information and practical assistance,” says Claassens. “It is clear that many customers are embracing online procurement platforms, especially since the Covid-19 lockdowns, and we are excited to further enhance our sales and support channels in this way.”
He highlights that the very wide and dynamic range of configurations in SEW-EURODRIVE’s offering demanded that the functions of the shopping cart be specially developed to make it as user-friendly as possible for customers. “We have developed four different functions that customers can choose from when adding a product to the shopping cart,” he explains. “The first is through our product configurator, which guides customers in configuring their required equipment – using drop down options from our vast range.”
The next channel would be to use the spare parts or replacement product selection function, where one of two routes can be chosen. In the first, the customer can make use of the SEW-EURODRIVE serial number found on the product nameplate. Entering that serial number is a quick and simple way of request a replacement – and ensuring that the exact configuration is replicated.
“Another route enables customers to find an SEW-EURODRIVE replacement product for a third-party drive – in other words, which is not an SEW-EURODRIVE item,” he said. “Our online tool will not understand the non-SEW-EURODRIVE serial number, of course, but if the specific criteria are supplied, we will know what the customer needs and we will supply.”
Registered customers who have already been trading with SEW-EURODRIVE can also use a third option – a customer transaction overview – to help select what they are looking for. When they log into the online purchasing portal, they will be able to view their history of quotations and orders. This makes it simple to re-order a component that has been purchased before, as they can select the item from a previous transaction or quotation, says Claassens.
“Lastly, customers can use the drive selection assistant – a smart online tool that guides the user through three simple steps to find the right drive,” he says. “The first step is to select the application, and the second requires more application-related information; the third step then presents the customer with product configurations and suggestions – from which they can choose.”
He reiterates that customers wishing to transact on the portal can find support from a real person behind the portal, who can provide hands-on advice and assistance. Customers can also rest easy that the security of the portal is world class.
“Our cyber-security is handled by a dedicated IT team in our group headquarters in Germany,” he explains. “Our customer and transaction data are double-encrypted when working online, while the online support is run on hyper-text transfer protocol secure (HTTPS) and is backed up on a geographical redundancy cloud-based system.” Another security precaution is that online purchasing is not permitted using credit cards, as the company still follows its normal payment protocols with customers once they have placed items in the online shopping cart.