Ryobi gets to know its A/NZ customers

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Ryobi gets to know its A/NZ customers
Techtronic Industries' Jason Perera.

Power tools maker empowered by direct relationships.

The manufacturer of Ryobi power tools’ A/NZ arm has struck a direct relationship with 70,000 tool owners over the past year under a broader strategy to better understand its customers.

Techtronic Industries isn’t a household name as much as its brand roster is, which covers the likes of Ryobi, AEG, Hoover and Vax.

Like most manufacturers it sells product through retailers, but that provides only limited visibility of who buys its products and why.

A year ago, it launched a bid to change that, creating the My Ryobi portal underpinned by Salesforce’s community cloud platform.

“The problem for us is the financial transaction happens between the retailer and our end user so we try to understand who that end user is because our marketing strategy, which has been in place for the last ten years, is really about creating demand with the end user and then pushing the sale back through the retailer, making the retailer’s job easier,” Techtronic Industries Australia COO and CFO Grant Edhouse told Salesforce’s Dreamforce 18 conference.

“Unless we know who our end users are, it becomes difficult to market to them.”

Like other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Techtronic wanted to move from a purely B2B model to a so-called B2B2C model, where it maintained relationships both with the seller and buyer of its products.

The company also tracks “large” end user accounts separately. These are typically utility, mining, gas or construction firms buying commercial quantities of tools for work sites, and Techtronic uses Salesforce to keep track of them.

However, the focus for My Ryobi was to better understand individual customers that bought tools from Australian and New Zealand retailers like Bunnings Warehouse.

“We sell the tools to the retailer who sell it onto you but we want to have an interaction so we know how you use the tools, how we can service you, how can we have more personalised communications with you and understand your needs and pain points,” head of customer experience A/NZ Jason Perera said.

“That’s the reason why we’ve launched My Ryobi.”

Virtual toolbag

My Ryobi was built over a 12 week period before being launched. It has been in-market for a year, and now has 70,000 registered Ryobi users, accounting for around 200,000 power tools.

Customers are invited to register within 30 days of purchase, and receive an extended manufacturer warranty in return.

Once registered, customers can see a “virtual toolbag” of what they own, alongside warranty information and promotions.

Perera said that more functionality would be added as the company better understood its customer base.

“Prior to this we knew you bought a tool and put it in your shed or garage. We never knew what tool you purchased,” he said.

The company is looking at providing project-led communications based on the contents of people’s virtual toolbags.

“So if you’ve got three or four tools what could you do with them?” he said.

“Or could it be the actual tool needs a service and we engage with you so that before the tool breaks down, we can say the lifecycle of the tool is X, and based on that you should get it serviced?”

Perera also suggested that My Ryobi could also be converted into an app in future, in addition to its present format of a login portal.

With My Ryobi acting as the first foray into B2C communities, more could spring up in future around Techtronic Industries’ other brands.

More broadly, the company is creating a single view of its customers across the organisation using a full stack of Salesforce cloud platforms covering marketing, community, sales and service.

Ry Crozier attended Dreamforce 18 in San Francisco as a guest of Salesforce.

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