Bevi’s ecommerce journey: Harnessing VTEX for B2B expansion
Founded by a visionary group of MIT and Yale University graduates in 2013, Bevi set out to reshape the beverage supply chain, hoping to end the reliance on single-use disposable water bottles. Eight years later, with over USD 90 million in venture capital raised, Bevi is not just an industry innovator; it’s a bona fide game-changer. With its smart water systems offering filtered, flavored, and sparkling water on demand, Bevi has helped save hundreds of millions of bottles and cans from ending up in landfills and our oceans.
Bevi’s innovative, eco-friendly beverage machines have found homes across North America, gracing the offices of reputable corporations, including Lyft, Netflix, Marriott, and Microsoft. They are also featured in residential apartment buildings managed by property management firms such as Greystar and Colliers.
Today, with its operational footprint extending across the U.S. and Canada and plans for future global expansion, Bevi is in a phase of rapid scaling, further buoyed by a recent round of funding. Central to this growth story is Bevi’s fast-growing B2B ecommerce store, powered by the VTEX commerce cloud platform, which has drastically improved order placement processes for distributors.
Evolving with VTEX
In their growth journey, Bevi sought a reliable and robust platform to support their B2B ecommerce needs, leading them to VTEX. Bevi needed to select a commerce platform that could modernize its digital selling processes. It was this endeavor that provided business buyers—a vast network across the country—with the means to place orders for replenishments online and reduce manual data input.
Since the implementation of VTEX, the benefits have been palpable. Over 80% of Bevi’s business is initiated through VTEX. The API-driven platform has allowed Bevi to better integrate with their back-office applications, like NetSuite, leading to enhanced forecasting of supply, effective management of inventory, and an increase in overall efficiencies. These operational improvements have contributed to a reduction in time to delivery and fewer customer backorders while simultaneously enabling scalability in their services as Bevi has returned to growing by approximately 50% year over year.
Harnessing the Power of IoT
The incorporation of Internet of Things (IoT) technology is a standout feature of the Bevi project. Each Bevi machine is equipped with advanced technology that can autonomously identify when servicing is required and notify the appropriate parties.
The use of IoT extends beyond mere maintenance alerts. It provides a data-driven perspective into the usage patterns of each machine. This granular visibility into consumption rates and preferences allows Bevi to offer distributors data-informed insights into customer behavior, resulting in more effective stocking strategies and product offerings. In addition, these real-time data insights offer the ability to proactively manage inventory, facilitating optimal beverage replenishment cycles, minimizing waste, and ultimately ensuring an uninterrupted customer experience. These efficiencies and reductions in waste support Bevi’s environmental mission of eliminating single-use plastic bottles and cans, and allow Bevi’s partners to optimize their shipping strategies, further reducing the overall CO2 emissions associated with transporting products across North America.
Leveraging IoT within Bevi’s operations has thus allowed them to transition from being a mere supplier of smart water coolers to a strategic partner offering intelligent data-driven solutions.
Leveraging VTEX IO
VTEX IO—an app development platform to build and extend VTEX—played a crucial role in Bevi’s decision to partner with VTEX. VTEX IO empowers customers to customize the platform and build specific functionality or apps, all while retaining the benefits of a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. VTEX IO was critical for Bevi as they expect to adapt their ecommerce business model over time as their business evolves.
In the words of Michael Strickland, senior director of Enterprise Applications at Bevi, “When we were faced with a need to implement a new ecommerce platform, we were looking to align with one that shared our values in being a technology-driven first product… We aligned with VTEX with the hopes that as we grow as a business and as we grow our ecommerce footprint with our B2B distributors and channel partners, we would be able to merge the functionality of IoT and ecommerce to design a more user-friendly and intelligent buying experience.”
Strickland further accentuated the appeal of VTEX IO, stating, “When we discovered VTEX IO, one of the features that we were most attracted to was the expandability of the platform through its expansive API-first architecture and the ability to build on that.”
Granular B2B Capabilities
VTEX’s capacity to offer granular control in a B2B setting is pivotal in addressing secure access concerns. While B2B ecommerce inherently involves a complex network of stakeholders with varying roles and needs, VTEX’s solution tailors experiences for each distinct buyer persona, thereby ensuring secure and personalized interactions.
This sophisticated permission structure extends to encompass workflows and approvals, allowing users to delineate varying costs, product availability, and shipment terms and to regulate who in a buyer organization can place orders and make payments. Such granularity enables Bevi to establish precise, organization-specific access and approval protocols, which can adapt over time as personnel and needs evolve.
In addition to this, the platform also facilitates self-management, often referred to as organization management. This capability empowers sales reps to maintain control of their user base, updating details when personnel changes, thereby safeguarding the integrity of the process while promoting efficient and secure commerce operations. Strickland acknowledged the platform’s capabilities stating, “VTEX was able to solve our problems with native product collections, pricing groups, and the ability to have a gated experience where only those who we authorize to make purchases through our storefront can access it.”
Future Goals with VTEX
As Bevi’s journey continues, it has its sights set on further leveraging VTEX’s comprehensive suite of B2B capabilities as they adapt its business model and ecommerce business. These features include granular organization management, enhanced catalog experience, quoting or request for a quote, connecting buyers and sellers, the ability to define different costs and shipment terms of service, permissions at buyer organizations regarding who can place orders and make payments, and self-management of users – also known as organization management.
Conclusion: Bevi’s Successful Journey with VTEX
Bevi’s growth trajectory serves as a testament to the advantages that come when a technology-first product meets a modern commerce platform like VTEX. With VTEX, Bevi has been able to automate and streamline its selling process, dramatically enhance its operational efficiency, and provide its distributors with invaluable data. As it continues to grow and evolve, Bevi’s journey will stand as an instructive beacon to other enterprises venturing into the realm of digital transformation in the B2B ecommerce space.