Green Mountain Thinks Small with New B-to-B Branch

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters hopes to make a splash selling to small businesses with its new Business Coffee Express Website and catalog.

The site launched on March 17, and the 24-page catalog first mailed to a prospect list of 250,000 businesses with 20 or less employees in a variety of vertical channels in May, says Reid Greenberg, B-to-B e-commerce marketing manager for GMRC’s specialty coffee business unit.

The company aims to reach businesses that could directly benefit from use of a Keurig single-cup system vs. a traditional coffee maker. The target market includes as well as dental and medical offices, law firms, and auto repair shops that have reasonable foot traffic and want their clients to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee while they wait.

“Since it’s a new site and new catalog, we’re still in the exploratory/learning phase,” Greenberg says. “I’m looking at several key performance indicators but with the understanding my ROI will be slightly negative until we have a better understanding of how customers react and what verticals perform best.”

The catalog is more like a magalog in that it introduces readers to the Keurig system and explains how coffee can help enhance both the customer and workplace experience. It showcases a few Keurig systems and details pricing of available “starter kits” of coffees and teas. The book includes advertisements for Green Mountain’s various coffee and tea brands.

Why small businesses? Greenberg says Green Mountain has a robust direct-to-consumer model in place that its small business site piggybacks onto nicely. Small businesses would order just like they would on the b-to-c site and would not receive an invoice. And they have their own loyalty club – Office Express – that gives small businesses the option to set up auto replenish.

“The site functions in a very similar fashion to a traditional B2C site so our distribution model will not change,” Greenberg says.

Customers with more than 20 employees will still order through its current distributor model.

That helped Greenberg in the contact center. In March, GMCR trained five of its b-to-b sales reps on the new site so they could learn the new site, which has different functionality and feel that Green Mountain’s site for larger businesses.

And even with the prevalence of a toll-free number within the catalog, Greenberg says the merchant received far fewer calls than expected.

“We also did not ramp up staffing for the catalog drop, as we were not certain what the response and impact would be,” Greenberg says. “Customers behaved as we had hoped they would; traffic and conversions online tripled, with limited impact to the call center volume.”

Greenberg says the company plans to mail the Business Coffee Express catalog three to four times a year.

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