Vari delivers active workspace solutions to more customers.
Vari, creator of innovative standing desk products, expands its customer reach with B2B sales on Amazon Business.
It’s an American success story: Vari was founded in 2013, and today more than 98% of Fortune 500 companies use its products.¹
The company is a global leader in designing, developing and manufacturing active workspace solutions—from height-adjustable desks, to storage solutions, to moveable walls. It all started as a way to alleviate one person’s back pain and multiplied into continual sales growth.
Based in Coppell, Texas, Vari serves customers in 130 countries with a range of adjustable-height standing desk solutions. The company is committed to creating happier, healthier, more productive offices by transforming how people work and collaborate during the day with furniture that is adaptable and easy to use. “The active workspace is a brand-new way of thinking about the workplace and business,” says Jason McCann, CEO of Vari. “Our vision is to create spaces for organizations that encourage movement and are completely flexible, simple and affordable.”
Standing and moving around during the day is linked to positive impacts on physical health, including improved mental clarity, increased energy and decreased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.² Plus, it benefits overall fitness; when people stand, they burn 50 calories more per hour on average than when sitting.³ “Healthier workers are happier and more productive,” says McCann.
Vari has seen tremendous growth and impacted millions of office workers around the world. It started with direct-to-consumer sales, including through Amazon.com, which was vital to get independent feedback from customers and iterate on designs. Vari recognized that many of its customers were organizations or public agencies furnishing a whole office or buying in bulk for many employees, and it needed a better way to market and sell to these potential business customers. It also wanted to accelerate growth and continue to expand its customer base without sacrificing its commitment to service.
“With Amazon Business, we learn more about our customers, which helps us tailor our products to their exact needs — and ultimately increase revenue.”
— Jason McCann, CEO, Vari
When Vari learned about Amazon Business, it saw the B2B growth opportunity it had been missing. Through Amazon Business, Vari could set pricing available only to business customers, provide special business-only offers and highlight enhanced product content, all in a user-friendly interface through a familiar brand. “We saw a fantastic opportunity to reach more customers through Amazon Business, as they’re already comfortable buying there,” says McCann.
Vari began selling through Amazon Business in March 2016 because its values aligned to the Amazon Business approach. “Controlling the customer experience is a key value for us,” says Matt Snyder, Vice President of Online Retail at Vari. “As we started looking around for partners, we saw big-name retailers that have a large business, but they didn’t align with the model we were building. Amazon Business aligned with us on no questions- asked returns, quick delivery and putting the customers’ needs first.”
“We pick our partners strategically,” adds McCann. “We believe that Amazon Business has built an excellent, customer-centric business model, and we’re very happy with the relationship.”
When Vari began looking into options for B2B channel resellers, it discovered that there are many retail sites that require complex connections to existing order, invoicing and accounting systems. “Amazon Business has a very simple seller platform,” says Snyder. “It’s easy to set up and maintain because it provides extensive API services, which allows for low-cost automation processes on our end.”
Vari works with many Fortune 500 companies that typically use e-procurement systems. Amazon Business provides e-procurement services that integrate directly with most enterprise customers, which was an important consideration for Vari.
“The e-procurement integration was a big factor in our decision to work with Amazon Business because it ensures that our products are accessible to our customers,” says Snyder.
Vari has the logistical infrastructure to ship from its own warehouses and uses Seller Fulfilled Prime as its order fulfillment approach. Vari worked with Amazon Business customer service to confirm that return and delivery expectations aligned, and together created easy return processes as well. Customers get a high degree of customer service and orders ship very quickly. “Whether our customers purchase directly from us or through Amazon Business, they get a world-class experience,” says McCann.
Vari sets its own pricing so it can ensure that customers have consistent options and pay the same for the same products across channels. It also has the flexibility to offer registered customers exclusive negotiated pricing. Certain business customers have access to the prenegotiated prices on item detail pages and search results. “We like being a third-party seller on Amazon and having control over our pricing,” says Snyder. “As an omnichannel seller, it doesn’t matter where customers buy our product — we want the experience, price and delivery to be the same.”
“With Amazon Business, we’re able to drive incredible growth opportunities and profitability because we don’t have to fight for new customers — and the increased loyalty drives down the overall cost of customer acquisition.”
— Matt Snyder, Vice President of Online Retail, Vari
As more sales volume pushes through Amazon Business, Vari learns more about who its customers are and what they want. Vari leverages robust Amazon analytics technology to track sales and customer behavior, gaining more insights into the demographics of its customers, which helps drive more effective marketing. Its marketing team uses features through B2B Central to get granular information on exact revenue breakouts by demographic. For example, the team discovered that most of its B2B customers are at the enterprise level, and that it has a surprisingly strong customer base in state and local education.
“In this day and age, data is what drives growth and scalability,” says Snyder. “The more data we can collect from Amazon, the more it helps us internally to think through our larger strategy, which is key to our growth.”
Vari also finds out details about what business customers like and don’t like about the products. Because customers are already comfortable sharing user reviews, Vari hears valuable input and keeps up with customer sentiment. The regular feedback loop pushes the company to make constant improvements and ensure customer satisfaction. “With Amazon Business, we learn more about our customers, which helps us tailor our products to their exact needs — and ultimately increase revenue,” says McCann.
Vari has experienced a steady boost in sales since it began using Amazon Business in 2016. “From mid-2017 to mid-2018, we saw a 50% growth in sales through Amazon Business, which was higher than our overall Amazon growth,” says Snyder.
Vari pulls information from Amazon Business into its internal business intelligence applications to monitor customer loyalty and then create customer profiles to see buying patterns and purchase frequency.
“We see greater brand loyalty with our Amazon Business customers than with our traditional and Amazon.com customers,” says Snyder. “Roughly 50% of our total revenue comes from repeat customers who buy from us on at least a monthly basis. Keeping pace with the changing business landscape.
By selling on Amazon Business, Vari is not just gaining customers and increasing revenue — it’s changing its business approach. When the company started, it had an online store supported by a traditional sales team that made outbound calls. As the millennial generation comprises a larger and larger portion of the workforce, buying trends and the ways business is conducted will change as well. Vari knew that today’s buyers were more likely to use an e-commerce channel with a visual experience they were used to, and it wanted to avoid the cost of customizing or rebuilding its own website. “We’re seeing that millennials do not want the traditional experience of having to call an account manager to place an order,” says Snyder. “If a procurement officer wants to sign someone up for purchase approvals, they want to automate it through an online account instead of having to call or make manual updates.”
And as Amazon Business expands into new markets, Vari will be there to support that growth. “Amazon Business is forging new possibilities in the way people shop for business products in the future,” concludes McCann. “We think Amazon Business will continue to grow, bringing great products to organizations all over the world, and we’re excited to be a part of that.”
² Five Benefits of Standing Desks, Smithsonian.com, March 2014
³ Calorie burner: "How much better is standing up than sitting?" BBC News, October 2013
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