To drive retention, QubicaAMF aims to support bowling centers around the world with responsive aftermarket services—but ordering replacement parts was often a complicated and time-consuming process.
QubicaAMF worked with Tecla to replace its paper catalog with a B2B e-commerce platform based on IBM® WebSphere® Commerce, enabling customers to find and purchase items rapidly and efficiently.
Streamlinesthe ordering experience, helping QubicaAMF nurture customer loyalty
Reducesmanual effort for back-office teams, freeing time for more responsive services
Createsnew up- and cross-sell opportunities with automated product recommendations
Business challenge story
Delivering a best-in-class customer experience
Whether you’re a seasoned bowler aiming for the perfect strike or a casual player just having fun, the chances are that electronic systems support almost every aspect of your bowling experience.
As the world’s largest manufacturer of bowling and mini bowling products, QubicaAMF aims to help its 13,000 bowling center clients keep their scoring systems, pinspotters and lane accessories running smoothly.
Michele Fini, IT Director at QubicaAMF, begins: “When a bowling lane needs to be closed for maintenance or repair, it can have a direct impact on our clients’ revenues. To nurture their long-term loyalty and strengthen our industry-leading reputation, we are always looking for innovative ways to improve our aftermarket support, which ranges from software updates for our scoring systems to replacement parts for lane machinery.
“In the past, our clients had to search for the components they needed for a repair or maintenance job in a hard copy catalog of more than 11,000 items, and then call us to place the order. This time-consuming and manual process increased the amount of time that our back-office team spent managing orders and limited the time they could devote to clients with more complex support queries.”
In some cases, QubicaAMF’s clients were unable to find the item they needed in the printed catalog. This meant customers had to describe the component to the company over the phone, after which its sales team needed to connect with technical personnel to try to identify the part—adding more time to the process.
Fini continues: “We work with a large distributor to serve many countries across Europe, and often receive large orders of more than 500 items. Previously, our team needed to manually re-key these product codes into our order management system one line at a time. This labor-intensive, manual data entry process exposed us to the risk of human error, which could lead to accidentally delivering the wrong components to a client.”
To solve these challenges, QubicaAMF decided to digitize its business with B2B e-commerce capabilities.
“We were confident that delivering the kind of fast, streamlined ordering experience that people have become used to in the B2C space would dramatically improve the customer experience,” adds Fini. “To achieve our goal, we launched an e-commerce offering for our entire global business, starting with our B2B customers based in the USA.”
Launching responsive services on the digital channel
“When we embarked on our e-commerce transformation, we were clear from the outset that the client experience would be at the center of all the design and architecture decisions we made,” recalls Fini. “One of the things that we appreciate most about the IBM solution is its ability to deliver a B2C-style online ordering experience in a B2B context.
“In addition to delivering a seamless experience for clients using desktop PCs, we wanted them to be able to access the same information easily from their mobile devices. Our aim was to empower clients to identify the replacement parts they needed in real-time as they inspected a lane—contributing to faster and more efficient maintenance and repairs.”
To accelerate its deployment process, QubicaAMF engaged IBM Gold Business Partner and e-commerce specialist Tecla.
“We chose Tecla for their many years of experience working with the IBM WebSphere Commerce platform, and our collaboration with their team is a very positive experience,” comments Fini. “From the start, the Tecla team took the time to understand our business, and their careful analysis of our aftermarket workflows helped us identify the process changes required to accept customer orders digitally. Tecla is also engaging with stakeholders from across our business, including commercial offices worldwide, which helped us coordinate our efforts effectively.”
Today, QubicaAMF is rolling out its solution to selected US-based clients, as well as one of its largest European clients, European Bowling Distribution. Clients can use faceted smart searches and granular filters to identify the precise products they need from an online catalog of 11,000 products from any connected device, 24/7. The site also includes detailed schematics of solutions with clickable hotspots that link to each component’s product page, enabling clients to identify and purchase the parts they need faster than ever via card or PayPal.
“Once a client registers for an e-commerce account, they can add different users from their business to the platform with permissions appropriate to their role,” explains Fini. “For example, managers and purchasing teams typically take on the responsibility for approving and placing orders, while maintenance teams might only have permission to add products to the basket.”
He adds: “Because we want to roll out the site to support clients across multiple countries, it’s important that we show prices on the site that reflect the local currency and taxes of the region and any pricing contracts we have with a particular client. IBM WebSphere Commerce enables us to accommodate these requirements in a straightforward way, and makes it easy to apply special pricing rules such as discounts and promotions.”
Fast aftermarket services nurture loyalty
QubicaAMF is set to announce its new e-commerce site at one of the sector’s most popular conventions: the International Bowl Expo in Las Vegas.
“Without a doubt, our new digital channel is simplifying and streamlining the aftermarket support experience for our clients,” says Fini. “Rather than leafing through our hard copy catalog to find product codes, our clients can virtually scroll through and view interactive technical diagrams and add the correct components to their cart at the touch of a button. And if clients already know their part number, they can enter it in the site and queue it up for ordering in a single click.”
QubicaAMF predicts that its new digital ordering process will save substantial amounts of time for its back-office teams.
“Whereas in the past clients were restricted to calling us within office hours to place an order, they can now complete the process online on any connected device at any time with no need for manual intervention from our team,” Fini comments. “We are confident that our people will be able to cut down the time they spend manually placing orders and focus instead on delivering value-added services for more complex client requests. The easier it is for clients to order from us, the more likely they are to stay loyal to our business—and we are extremely satisfied with the results of our e-commerce roll-out.”
He adds: “Better still, since we have gone digital, we are able to create new up- and cross-selling opportunities in the kind of dynamic, compelling way that’s simply not possible with a printed catalog. For example, when customers add products related to lane accessories to their basket, the site can automatically recommend additional relevant products that they might not otherwise have considered.”
As it prepares to launch its US site, QubicaAMF continues to work with Tecla to develop country-specific stores for the rest of its global business.
“Digitizing our operations is a key value proposition for our global aftermarket services,” concludes Fini. “By continuing our work with Tecla, we can deliver the responsive support our clients need to keep their bowling lanes open and their customers happy.”
Headquartered in Bologna, Italy and Mechanicsville, USA, QubicaAMF is the world’s largest manufacturer of bowling and mini bowling products. Offering a comprehensive line of high-quality, innovative products and services for new and existing bowling and entertainment centers, QubicaAMF operates sales offices in 10 countries and offers installations from over 13,000 centers in 100 countries.
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM WebSphere Commerce solutions, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/marketplace/websphere-commerce
Headquartered in Faenza, Italy and founded in 1998, Tecla is a digital system integrator and an IBM Gold Business Partner specializing in digital experience and e-commerce solutions. With an experienced team of engineers, developers, designers and marketers, Tecla serves B2C and B2B enterprises across the country. To learn more about products and services from Tecla, please visit: tecla.it