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Go Rhino auto manufacturer drives sales to distributors with online presentations

August 31, 2015 12:10 PM
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When Peter Taylor began work as the general manager of Go Rhino more than a decade ago, the manufacturer of products designed to spruce up pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles sold only to distributors located near its headquarters in Brea, Calif.. Then the advent of the Internet expanded the company’s reach.   

Suddenly, the manufacturer was able to communicate and sell online to some 100 distributors across the country, including Keystone Automatic Tech, Meyer Distributing and TransAmerican Auto Parts Co. It also started to sell directly to such retail chains as Cabela’s Inc., which features accessories for trucks and recreational vehicles along with outdoor sports equipment. Cabela’s is No. 63 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500, which ranks companies on their annual web sales.

The increase in Go Rhino’s number of clients, however, made it more difficult to get information to them about its products. “The challenge for us was figuring out what communication platform was the most efficient for reaching our customers,” Taylor says.

The manufacturer previously relied heavily for its marketing on a booth at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA, automotive trade show in Las Vegas, Nev. But many of its customers lacked the time or money to attend the show, Taylor says.

In March 2015, Go Rhino began marketing its products through online video presentations. It deployed an Internet-based, interactive video platform from Brandlive, which offers video designed for marketing, training and e-commerce. Video can be streamed on any web site, including Go Rhino’s e-commerce site, GoRhino.com. Viewers can post questions and get answers in online windows adjacent to the video. Participants must be invited and sign in to see the presentation.

Go Rhino used the Brandlive platform to describe its 2015 line of auto accessories to employees at AutoAnything, a retailer of specialized automotive products. “The goal is to give you more comfort and confidence when presenting our products so that you can take advantage of every selling opportunity to match your customers’ needs with our product offering,” the Go Rhino event description read. Brandlive tracked such data as the AutoAnything registrants’ contact information, participation in online questions and answers, and how they spread Go Rhino’s information through social media activity before, during and after the event. This information is stored on the Go Rhino company profile on Brandlive.com.

“It proved very effective,” Taylor says. “The whole power of the platform is for people to ask questions and answer in real time and do it in a personalized way. It’s a tremendous time saver, and really made us think through our content stories and what we wanted to focus on. I think it’s by far and away the most feature rich solution for communicating complicated information to large groups of people.”

Go Rhino has since deployed Brandlive training events for its distributor customers, including call center staffs of sales reps and customer service employees. Taylor says these sessions allow the company to address large groups at once, and answer questions audience members may have. Because Brandlive sessions can be streamed on any web page—including e-commerce sites like GoRhino.com—sales reps can purchase items during the presentation. Taylor says about 20% of Go Rhino’s sales are processed through its distributors’ e-commerce sites, while 1% of orders are processed on GoRhino.com. The rest are handled offline through sales reps.    

“The platform opens up a whole variety of opportunities, and allows marketing to become a creative exercise in assembling content in an engaging way that encourages adoption,” Taylor says. “We could talk about a new matte finish on one of our products, or we could talk about buying trends in lighting. There are so many angles we can address, and you can’t do that in any other media.” For example, Taylor wants to host a Brandlive presentation showing how to install its products on a vehicle.

Go Rhino declined to comment on the cost of deploying Brandlive. Brandlive says pricing for its enterprise system varies, and depends on the template and metrics dashboard used; social and API integrations; event security and the amount of Brandlive rep support requested. Brandlive also offers one-time event contracts. Pricing for a one-time event is based on audience size and other professional services required.

“The efficiency and speed that Brandlive brings to Go Rhino leads me not to view it as an expense, but rather as an important part of our revenue generation,” says Taylor.

Sign up for a free subscription to B2BecNews, a weekly newsletter that covers technology and business trends in the growing B2B e-commerce industry. B2BecNews is published by Vertical Web Media LLC, which also publishes the monthly business magazine Internet Retailer. Follow Nona Tepper, associate editor for B2B e-commerce, on Twitter @ntepper90.

 

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