Whirlpool Corporation’s digital journey to global customer success
Look around. Chances are very high that either your dishwasher, microwave oven, fridge or dryer is from a recognized brand under Whirlpool Corporation. This kitchen and laundry appliances company, which is present in nearly every country on earth, sealed a global enterprise agreement with VTEX and will use the platform to standardize the technology powering its online sales. With opportunities all around us, the two companies already started working on expanding Whirlpool Corporation’s online operations in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
Whirlpool Corporation’s collaboration with VTEX and their joint customer excellence journey is not completely new. With an initial partnership in Brazil, VTEX perfected the company’s direct-to-consumer operation, with the entire platform built on top of the AWS Cloud Architecture. Now the vision and main scope of the new global partnership is to scale that in other markets around the world. As the pandemic continues, consumer habits and demands have evolved rapidly and platforms and marketplaces need to reply to those demands with agility and flexibility. This is why Whirlpool Corporation’s future vision takes into account all platform capabilities: B2B2C, B2B and the marketplace model.
“We’re excited to help Whirlpool Corporation tap into new markets, innovate the shopping experience, and scale and adapt their digital commerce as the world continues to change. Helping brands unleash revenue potential with a collaborative commerce platform is what we do.”Amit Shah, U.S. General Manager and Chief Strategy Officer at VTEX
Going global, driving digital transformation
Flexibility, architectural integrity and a deep focus on global customer success were the key factors that led to Whirlpool Corporation signing a deal with VTEX in May 2021. The electronics and home appliance company was looking for a platform provider that goes beyond popularity and the global footprint—and that’s how they found VTEX. When there is demonstrated excellence and aspiration to grow globally, with commitment from the leadership of both parties, that’s when you know you have a partnership worth betting on.
VTEX also supports Whirlpool Corporation’s Brazilian KitchenAid site, which has generated immense success for the brand. The work it has done with Whirlpool Corporation in Brazil and other Latin American markets led to the global enterprise agreement, as the cloud platform differentiated itself from the competitors through adaptability and a deep focus on customer success.
While there is no secret to customer excellence, there definitely is a checklist. First of all, scalability is a very important aspect of any expansion strategy. On top of that comes the capacity to attune to country-specific needs, adapt from market to market, from trade and to different integration standpoints.
Whirlpool Corporation’s 4 imperatives
Whirlpool Corporation has only 4 imperatives: excellence in product, digital experience, customer excellence, supply chain and manufacturing to support everything in the entire operation. Digital is now core to their business and hence, everything is strictly related to maximising the output of this channel. Before, it was all about managing transaction systems, but now we’ve seen a shift towards digital experience with the actual product, the services, the customer. These demand different things from a technology partner and technology platform.
This partnership has at heart all of these 4 imperatives and has the opportunity to make a great impact, redefine the image of the product and maximise the digital experience and build customers’ trust around durable goods, which is the core of the global ecommerce strategy. The toughest nut to crack in this industry is how to continue to drive growth and the digital channel is a very important aspect of both short- and long-term strategies for Whirlpool Corporation.
Learning from Brazil, applying globally
Whirlpool Corporation’s immersion in digital commerce grew faster than ever. Thanks to the exponential development of the direct-to-consumer operation coupled with customer willingness to buy online during the pandemic, the revenues surpassed everyone’s expectations. The DTC business became one of the biggest growth channels for Whirlpool Brazil, now being the principal market for DTC and ecommerce in general. Both VTEX and Whirlpool Corporation learned many lessons from this experience and now they’re applying them to all the other markets globally.
Now looking at the joint digital strategy for the customer journey, the secret to exponentially growing in the mature markets stays in learnings that they already have. It’s all about taking those learnings and incubating them into the markets that are less mature, together with all the layers of technical flexibility, marketing excellence, consumer engagement and customer excellence. This is Whirlpool Corporation’s lessons learned when it comes to building a successful digital operation in EMEA and Asia, all on a global scale.
Customer’s needs above everything
Consumer behaviour and expectations are some of the biggest macro factors in the digital realm. Whirlpool Corporation is looking to differentiate their products so that a consumer will buy wherever they want to buy, which is beneficial for everybody. It’s not a scarcity mindset, it’s more like a collaborative project to perfect the ecommerce strategy based on the customer’s needs.
When asked about the main challenges in achieving the future goals of Whirlpool Corporation, the digital strategy team will consider the maturity of the markets and the ability to put all the layers and capabilities in place to grow those markets. There are technical and human capital constraints in digital marketing, in IT, in third-party partnerships, but these are natural challenges. Yet, the key to overcoming any challenge in the next few years is developing a credible ecommerce strategy from approach, technology and data standpoints, future-proofing the ambition to provide to all customers’ needs.