Navigating the eCommerce Frontier with U.S. Air Filtration

We have an impressive lineup of industry experts joining us, including Chris Watson, the General Manager of U.S. Air Filtration, Noah Oken-Berg, the CEO + Co-Founder of Above the Fray, and Timothy Lee from Adobe.

In this event, we will delve into U.S. Air Filtration's eCommerce transformation journey. Discover the ins and outs of their path to eCommerce success, gain valuable insights on what manufacturers should consider when planning their own eCommerce strategy, and explore the fantastic features Adobe offers that are tailored to the needs of manufacturers.

Don't miss this opportunity to learn from the best in the industry and stay ahead of the eCommerce game!

Key Highlights 

•    eCommerce solutions for B2B manufacturers. 11:53
•    Adobe Commerce features for B2B manufacturing. 17:50
•    eCommerce investment and education for manufacturers. 26:28
•    eCommerce platform selection and integration. 31:02
•    Adobe Commerce for Manufacturers and Enterprise Customers. 35:34
•    eCommerce journey, marketing strategy, and Adobe implementation. 46:38
•    eCommerce and digital transformation in manufacturing. 49:08
•    Challenges and excitement of launching an online store. 52:58


B2Btail – Stop Being the Best Kept Secret! Click here for more resources and guides.

Get Your FREE SEO Report

You Have Only One Chance to Make An Outstanding First Webpression

Stop Being the Best Kept Secret: Manufacturing eCommerce Strategies

Grab these FREE B2Btail Resource Guides to help you on your eCommerce journey

Exit Your Way– Helping owners create businesses that make more money today and they can sell or succeed when they want.

Damon on LinkedIn

DMG Digital – Scale your business by creating a digital self serve experience for your customers

Nicole Donnelly on LinkedIn


Curt Anderson 00:00

Hey, hey, hey, we're live Nicole. Happy Wednesday. How are you?

Nicole Donnelly 00:04

Happy Wednesday? I'm doing great I'm here in the Big Easy today. Hey

Curt Anderson 00:11

man, I was gonna say it doesn't look like you're in Virginia like you're hanging out in the Big Easy like what's going on The Big Easy what do you what are you doing?

Nicole Donnelly 00:17

Yeah, I'm here for an amazing content marketing conference. We've been learning all about AI and video short form video. So it's been really great. It's been a really good conference. My brain is just full of knowledge. Yeah, I love it. It's awesome so

Curt Anderson 00:32

well, I'm gonna be a sponge can't wait to get all that information out of you so everybody out there this is this is week number two man this is like our maiden voyage more or less for manufacturing eCommerce success on Wednesday. And so just absolutely honored and just thrilled to be here with everybody. So we're gonna go around the horn we have a really exciting deep dive eCommerce project that we're going to unpack and so he let's start let's say that we have a really great batting lineup. It is a baseball playoffs for any baseball fans out there. So hey, let's go down to Texas. I think Texas Rangers are in the playoffs. So Chris Watson from US Air Filtration my friend. Happy Wednesday. How are

Chris Watson 01:07

you? Doing Walker? Thank you for having me.

Curt Anderson 01:11

Absolutely. So you know what will come I'm gonna Batting second. You know what? We're sliding up to Portland. Noah Oken-Berg my friend from Above the Fray. Happy Wednesday. How are you doing?

Noah Oken-Berg 01:23

Doing great. Better better in front of your face, Kurt.

Curt Anderson 01:27

Oh my god. See? That's all the guys know us. Oh, thank you. I appreciate that. So hey, let's go down to the that's Hey, Nicole was laying right down to your old stomping grounds. We'll head down to LA for a little bit right your Southern Cal guard girl. So Timothy Lee from a gentle Adobe Timothy. How are you?  happy Wednesday.

Timothy Lee 01:45

Happy Monday uh, just absolute pleasure to be with you Curt. So appreciate them like

Curt Anderson 01:50

Hey, thank you. It's an honor privilege and Nicole wait to hear Timothy's background So Timothy I did a little stalking I met did I say stalking I did a little checking you out you your eCommerce powerhouse. So appreciate you being here. So of course we've gotten to Nicole Donnelly from DMG Digital Nicole, how exciting. How excited are you for this little conversation?

Nicole Donnelly 02:10

So this conversation has been years in the making. I am so excited to be here with Chris man Chris we have some real we have some scars don't we? You and I when it comes to eCommerce a few

Curt Anderson 02:25

just you know you put like little was a vitamin D Vitamin E you put on one of those and it just takes those scars right away. You bring no oak and Berg from those scars has vanished quickly. So I so we're gonna do introductions guys. Let's get who's on stage here. Chris Watson, my friend. Uh, you are the grand Pooh Bah, if you will. That's my title for you. But you are US Air Filtration and Tyler, Texas. Please share who and what is US Air Filtration.

Chris Watson 02:56

Yeah, so we're an industrial dust collection, manufacturing company. So we manufacture, design and install dust collection equipment, baghouses cartridges, collectors events, as well as providing replacement parts for our collectors as well as other brand collectors of all types. So, one of our one of our specialties, kind of the differentiator for our company is our, our commitment to a level of higher personal service. And so it's one thing that really drove us to ecommerce, you know, and something we're hoping to, can really help us provide that level of service that our customers have come to, to love and expect from us. You know, what, all hours of the day.

Curt Anderson 03:45

All right, fantastic. And that's exactly what ecommerce does, it makes you you know, you're in business. 24/7 Nicole, what do we love to say? How can we help those ideal buyers make a buying decision on a Friday night at midnight without having to wait for us to open up the door on Monday morning? And you know who's the best at that? Is this handsome devil right below me? So Noah Oken-Berg? Who in what is Above the Fray? Dude, you came in to save the day for us air filtration, share a little bit about who is Above the Fray?

Noah Oken-Berg 04:15

Yeah, first of all, i i Take none of the credit for saving the day on either side of the equation, all of the blood, sweat and tears that were poured into it by Nicole and Chris to get to the point to bring us in the door. And then my team that did all the work afterwards. So I just helped connect the dots but you know we're above the fray is gone about six years now but have been in the eCommerce Industry for for much longer than that. We are a fully integrated ecommerce agency that specializes in working with b2b sales, specifically manufacturers and producers. That's really just a personal thing. I like to work with the folks that are making things, building things and putting things out To the world, as does Aaron, my business partner, and our chief creative officer. So we decided that's who we wanted to work with. The other piece of it too, is, you know, we spend so much time in front of computers, you know, we like to work with people that are that are actually building things and making things, you know, in the physical world. And so, you know, I always say, spend enough time with your head in the clouds, I like to have my feet in the dirt. And so, you know, that's just a little bit on us. Again, you know, the joy of something like this is getting to walk in when there has been so much work that's been paved, ahead of time that Nicole and Chris and their team have done to actually make it possible and Kurt, not to minimize your role in all of it either. So and we'll get to that later, though. Well,

Curt Anderson 05:47

thank you. Thank you for your thank you for the acknowledgement. Thank you for your humility. And so just firsthand, I've had the honor privilege, dude, Brian, like our third year anniversary, Noah. So we've been working with manufacturers for the past several years, multiple projects, it is truly an honor privilege, working with you, my respect and raishin off the charts. I just love working with your team. And so that was just great, you know, having a little party coming together with the folks down in Tyler, Texas at US air filtration, and Nicole and her team at dmg. So let's slide over to our friend in LA. So now Timothy Lee, you work for this really tiny company. I don't know if anybody's ever heard of that before, called Adobe. So can you please share Adobe Magento? What's going on in your world being the E commerce extraordinary that you are?

Timothy Lee 06:32

Yeah, no, I appreciate that. Curt. I mean, we talked about the opportunity here at hand with US air filtration, it was really a right timing with yourself, Curt Noah, great partnership and kind of delivery of what Adobe has been working on strategically for the past three to four years. So when we talk about the investments that Adobe has made, we really look at the b2b feature set, as well as features that we're using to evolve the core commerce functionality and its ancillary services, things like third party catalog services to allow true b2b merchants to expand their catalog services or volumes upwards or quote unquote, scalable to limit unlimited scalability, quote, unquote, you know, we've all heard those terms. So it's really exciting to see what Noah and the partners are doing Adobe commerce as a whole. You know, if we talked about the roots with Magento really began as an open source solution with the ability to connect into desperate systems, giving users the ability to create one off customer experiences or unique ecommerce websites that drive basic function, basic baseline functionality with connected services into things like your CRM, or ERP, which are really important for us air filtration. So, you know, it's really great to see the technology investments that Adobe has made are still resonating with businesses today. And moving forward, we see a lot of that with our AI and different feature sets that are coming up on the roadmap.

Curt Anderson 08:10

Well, I absolutely love that. So now Nicole back to our batting order, like our powerhouse, you are batting cleanup. So now you're going to take the charge here. But what I absolutely love No. When we pulled you into the project, we're like, you know, there's a lot of different shop shopping cart solutions. Timothy, we'll dig into that little little later. But you know, your team came in said like, hey, we need to bring in the big the big dogs, we need to really get some muscle behind this project you pulled in a team from Adobe commerce. This was great. Nicole, as you mentioned, you this you are totally invested into this project. This was super deep. Taken away. Let's let's get a conversation going with you and Chris, and how this process got going.

Nicole Donnelly 08:47

Yeah, so Chris, I think I think we need to share a little bit about your you know, what inspired you led you down this past that ecommerce? And what were some of the problems that you were really wanting to solve? I think you talked about a little bit, but maybe you could share a little bit more about what what led you down this journey? What were you hoping ecommerce would do for us air filtration? What problems specifically did you want it to solve for the business?

Chris Watson 09:10

Yeah, so one of the things that we we realized years ago is that, you know, the personalized service, you know, that exceptional customer experience, as we call here in the office, was something that our customers really appreciated. You know, both on the equipment side and the replacement parts, you know, when you're, you're talking about industrial equipment, it's not something that is, you know, especially dust collectors, it's super flashy, you know, it's something that most people don't like to think about until there's a problem. But when there's a problem, it's important. And so given that level of service to our customers, they really appreciate it. We're helping them organize their parts, we're helping them keep things in line so that when something comes up, we can solve problems quickly. And so, you know, that being one of our core principles is higher level of personalized service, we wanted to find a way to extend that beyond just the normal business hours, you know, we have a team dedicated team of people in here. And they can only take so many calls, right? They can only help so many people, and we didn't want to limit our customers to, you know, to that to, we don't want our customers give voicemails, we want them to have to have somebody to be able to help them. And we said, Okay, well, how can we extend that to 12 hours? Right, a lot of the projects that our customers are working on happen, the night shift, so the bag house can be up and running the following day or weekends, holiday weekend, stuff like that, you know, times when they may not have somebody that can they can call and get on the phone right away, and help find the solution. So we looked, well, first, we looked at a handful of things, you know, working weekends, that got shut down pretty quick, you know, 20 hour days that didn't go over well. But, you know, you know, so So we've looked at a lot of different different things. But we landed on eCommerce as a way to kind of extend that. That level of service, right. So now, anytime the day, somebody can can log on, they can use or they can access our, our resource center, try to troubleshoot things that may pop up, they can order order product products, right there, check that off their list, they don't have to worry about that come Monday. The requisition lists are things that help people organize, organize the parts for specific pieces of equipment. So now they can order things quickly, or request quotes for things quickly. And confidently knowing that yes, this is the correct part that goes to, you know, the one of the 15 back houses that I have on hand, you know, all those type of things are the things that I believe our customers value about working with us and things that we take pride in doing and helping our customers with. And, you know, luckily, we were able to offer a lot of those services through our eCommerce Store.

Nicole Donnelly 11:53

I really love that I think that really speaks to I think one of the challenges that a lot of b2b manufacturers are grappling with is how to have an E commerce solution, while also maintaining the tradition and the legacy of that sales rep relationship, right. And I think at US air filtration, what you guys have really been able to do, and so well is to really position e commerce as supporting that sales rep relationship, it's really elevating the sales reps to be able to handle more, you know, complicated custom orders offline, and allowing them to do more by having this this e commerce Store there. So rather than E commerce competing with the sales rep, it's really there to support them. And I think that that is a mindset that a lot of manufacturers are really, really struggling with as How can you marry this with that traditional business model? What do you keep, and what do you throw away. And I think that's what's really exciting about this is that you've really been able to come up with a solution here, that really is able, you're able to preserve that wonderful tradition, that US Air Filtration has been built on that relationship, while still, you know, being able to modernize and allow your meet your customers where they are and that way so it's very cool. Yeah. Awesome. Well, no, we're coming to you are coming over to you. What were some of I love what you said earlier about how you know, you're, you're just passionate about supporting manufacturers. I love it, too. It's so cool to see these wonderful companies making all this cool stuff. What do you think? What was some? What were some of the unique challenges that USAF had? As you and your team were planning for this project? What were some of those unique, like b2b manufacturing challenges that you feel like? You were dressed to the store that that was really exciting for for your team? And for the project?

Noah Oken-Berg 13:45

Yeah, and, you know, in the spirit of full disclosure, you know, I'm not an engineer. And, you know, I don't develop code. I work on developing business. And so my approach my answer to that is probably going to be seen through that lens a little bit more. You know, and I think, as far as challenges and you know, the way things that that I enjoy working with manufacturers and to help solve, and similarly with, with US air filtration, is is less on the specific, like, nuts and bolts of it. And it's more on that transformational side. You know, and that's kind of going back to what I was saying, you know, in the beginning, when Kurt was unfairly trying to give me credit for, or Nicole was trying to get on fairly give me credit for saving anything here. But you know, there's, there's so much that needs to be done to change a business that has been offline entirely to online, even partially, and that that is the biggest obstacle. You know, we come on site and we do full discoveries where, you know, we sat down with you, Chris, and Nicole and Curt, you were there. And, you know, we have some of the best and brightest folks like looking at all the ways that business systems interact and the workflows and processes, the manufacturing and getting to tour the site there and kind of see the challenges and see the sort of idiosyncrasies, and also the winds and the ways that you solve problems uniquely, that's all great. But none of that really matters unless you know, you can get get that mindset of the entire team, and it takes a full buy in to, and it's not like a waving of a magic wand. It's not like, abracadabra, you're online, and you're all good with it. You know, it's definitely, you know, it's

Nicole Donnelly 15:32

right Christofle.

Noah Oken-Berg 15:36

Back to the scars, back to the scars. And I think actually, it's actually I wrote some of the original copy for our website back in the day before we had actual copywriters and stuff to help us like, but and I wrote that I was like, you know, we're a product of our scars. And that's true. And that's what it's built out of. And if you if you and Chris hadn't, you know, put in the work and been in the trenches to get those scars, it nobody, it would be impossible for us to walk in and do what we needed to do. And and, you know, and Kurt as well, I mean, you you mentioned how long we've worked together, Curt. And we've worked together with with folks that are manufacturers, this is not a one off thing, this is actually the rule, it's not the exception, that you know, there needs to be that those challenges need to be approached first. And so, you know, before any of the other things can happen. I know that was a really sort of pie in the sky answer. Bu

Nicole Donnelly 16:27

yeah, you totally, you totally hit the nail on the head, you know, there needs to be an internal ecommerce champion, if you will, that is really invested in kind of leading and getting buy in from the team and helping to influence but really listen and understand, I think, first and foremost is like you really have to know the business that ecommerce champion really needs to know and understand the business deeply and commit to that. So that that solution is is made fully aware and inclusive of everyone that's a part of that company,

Noah Oken-Berg 16:56

then, as an agency that's coming in as a partner, we also it's so easy to see through these lenses of like, we do this all day, every day and forget that this is like completely uncharted territory for folks. And you know, even with people that have been doing it all day, every day, everybody sees through a different lens in the universe, that's just the way it works, right. And so, but imagine, you know, like, you know, somewhere that you've lived in, and, you know, the terrain, there's mountains, you've hiked in for years, and you've hunted in or whatever, and like you bring somebody in for the first time. And they're just like walking real slow, like, Oh, my God, you know, where am I? So it's like, you know, and you're like, what's wrong with you, I don't, you know, this, so you can't have you have to understand that and be able to sort of, you know, work around that. And, and sort of go through the paces, together in a collaborative way. And, you know, that's the to me, that's, that's the most important piece of it. But again, that's seen through, you know, business development, less than software development. So,

Nicole Donnelly 17:50

yeah, but I think one of the things I think that, you know, because as as, as, as Chris can tell you, we have our scars of you know, several partners we worked with prior to ATF and Adobe. And one of the things I think we really valued about our partnership with ATF is that you really, your team didn't take the time to make that investment upfront to come out and understand the business, see how it worked, and all of that. And I think for anyone out there who's considering an E commerce partner or considering a project, especially manufacturers, where this is like, such a new world for them, they don't understand it. They don't understand ecommerce, and they need a partners and who can help them, educate them, teach them and take the time, really to understand and listen and guide them along that journey. Because it's, it can be overwhelming, it can be very, very overwhelming. And yeah, I'm sure Chris can talk about that.

Noah Oken-Berg 18:40

Yeah. It takes a lot of patience and trust. Rinse and repeat, you know, so.

Nicole Donnelly 18:46

Absolutely. All right. Well, we're gonna come over to you, Timothy, walk us through some of the features like we're talking all about b2b manufacturing. What are some of the features of Adobe that you feel like are most important that you're seeing are most important to b2b customers? What are specifically some of the functionality that folks manufacturers specifically could benefit from?

Timothy Lee 19:06

Yeah, no, I appreciate that. I mean, Chris brought up some great ones already, including requisition lists, which allow customers to very quickly reorder based on existing lists, add and create different types of ordering or reordering behaviors. And so if we talk about kind of, thematically, I think, where Adobe really helps b2b businesses, I would bring it down to maybe four or five key areas. One would be the ability to have customized catalog and pricing now having that baseline functionality allows us to extend ourselves into your ERP where you might have customer specific pricing and have that baseline functionality for great partners like Noah to create that unique work experience that you're looking to have or that pricing type of functionality. Second, I would say would be the customer, the fast and efficient, I guess, purchasing options. So when we talk about the ability to reorder skews comprehensive order histories, reordering from past orders or negotiating quotes. Adobe commerce really offers a lot of purchasing options that b2b users might tend to want to have available to them. And that also kind of lies in I'd say with a third theme, which is this idea of performance personalization. Adobe Commerce has really been one of the only key one of the only ecommerce players in the space that has had a long standing relationship with the ability to execute on both b2b and b2c. And what we've seen trending over time has allowed our b2b merchants to expect more to that b2c Like experience where they would like frictionless purchasing, they'd like intelligent suggestions, quick order in and out, they're not looking to have the long standing processes where they go through printed catalogs anymore. And while they want that option, we really are seeing and loving a lot of these kinds of b2c like behaviors with baseline b2b functionality. And the final one, I'd kind of say is the ability to make advanced Account Management settings. So the ability for companies, I know that this is important for different users at different levels to have Workflow Approvals, that customers can have the ability to have company account structures, so they have purchasing roles and approval workflows again. So I didn't mean to mention that twice. But I'd say those are kind of thematically the Big Four in my head that I see resonate with a lot of our b2b, including our manufacturing uses in the space today. I love that

Nicole Donnelly 21:35

I think that last point is really key because the purchasing decision so much and manufacturing for these deals is by committee, and there are several people that can be involved in it. So having a workflow in place where that will happen online, is really beautiful. And then I think, from the b2c experience to one of the things that I think is really been great about I'm just thinking about you SAFS ecommerce store specifically is the wonderful integration with like a shipper HQ where now customers can get instant freight quotes, not you know, which freight is a huge beast as, as Chris will tell you, he was the one in his team that did all the legwork to figure that out. But the fact that someone can come on the store, click the part that they want, and be able to get an instant free quote and have that all integrated is a really powerful, b2c functionality that I think has been it's, it's really challenging in a b2b environment to be able to replicate. All right, let's keep let's keep the party going here. We're coming back to Chris, Chris. All right, now that you've been going through this journey, and if you're thinking about like any other manufacturers, who are just starting out with E commerce and are thinking about it, and they're thinking about investing in it, what's something What advice would you give to them as someone who's kind of like been through the trenches? And, and is now kind of like, you know, you're you're on the other side a little bit? I mean, e commerce is a process, it's, you know, it's always going to be evolving and growing. But like, now that you're off, now that you've completed this first real phase, what advice would you have for anyone else? Who might be concerned? Yeah, so

Chris Watson 23:07

I guess my biggest advice would be, figure out the purpose of your eCommerce store. First, right. And I think one of the things that we went into the very first time we, we even took a baby step into this, which is, well, let's just, let's just do it, let's just go put some prices up, right? What could happen? Or what, What harm could it do? And it just wasn't very successful. And I think just this time with, with the help of ATF and, and dmg marketing, you guys, we we all got together and figured out okay, well, what is really the purpose of the e commerce Store? Like what are we what are we trying to do here with E commerce? You know, it could be, you know, fairly straightforward of like, we just want to put stuff online to the people can buy but for us, it was a little more complex, right? We wanted to have, you know, the requisition list, we wanted to have the customer portal, and we want to do all that, because that supported, you know, the way that our company operated with our, with our core goal of that experience that personalized service. And so understanding that that helped us guide that helped us when we were trying to figure out what what address we wanted to do, what features were important to us what features weren't, which things we needed now, which things we could push off to later. And without understanding, you know, the what the purpose was, I think that can be pretty difficult, pretty daunting.

Nicole Donnelly 24:28

That is such great advice too. And also, it helps you prioritize, because I think as you're going into an E commerce project, there's so much you can do and if and a lot of times, you know we've worked with companies where they're just like they have this shiny object syndrome and they just want to do it all they see their competitors website, they don't realize like how much went into building that right and they're like, I want my website to look like and yeah, realize like it's a it's a definitely a process. And so to your point if you have if you're a manufacturer to understand that purpose can help you prioritize So what are we? If this is our goal on our purpose? What do we start with? And then how can we evolve from there rather than trying to, you know, eat the whole elephant all at once? Yes.

Chris Watson 25:10

That'll get that'll get complicated quick.

Nicole Donnelly 25:16

Are you gonna say no?

Noah Oken-Berg 25:18

Yeah, no, I mean, I just something that Chris, you said and that you you picked up on, Nicole that struck kind of a thought that I think is super critical is, you know, understanding a lot of folks think that, oh, this is a website, this is just our website, it's a new business, really, inside your business. And when you were mentioning, you know, what that end goal is, you know, sitting back and saying, you know, what's the purpose of this? That's what you have to do with any business, you have to like, what's your vision, and that becomes your Northstar. And so just like a business unit, within a business, you have to have that Northstar, or else I was in this world, back when mobile apps were, you know, the, the rage, right? I was, before Aaron and I started our company, we actually worked somewhere that did e commerce, custom software, and native mobile apps. And everybody was like, we got to do a mobile app. And we're like, for what, you know, because it's a mobile app, you know, it's like, I ended up doing that, but they didn't know why. And you get some of that, too, with the E commerce world, it's like, well, we got to do e commerce, because everybody's telling us to do it, you know, you know, and that's the flip side of the coin. Other people that are like, we're never gonna do e commerce and hyper resistance is the people that are like, well, I guess we got to do it, let's just go do this e commerce thing. But you have to approach it like it is its own distinct business. And have that vision and know why you're doing it. Like otherwise it falls apart.

Timothy Lee 26:39

Can I throw in like one or two things as well, because I just think this is like a phenomenal idea that Chris is talking about, which is, and no, and I want to kind of talk again, to the fact that eCommerce, especially in the manufacturing space is not a one size fits all. And given how manufacturing and b2b relationships have evolved over time, you have to work with not only an eCommerce platform that's extensible, but a partner that understands what kind of business relationships and priorities are trying to push forward. You know, understanding your vision is critical in not only just giving yourself a differentiated vision, but really investing in eCommerce, not just as an additional revenue stream, but as an actual, what I would equate to, you know, in the 80s, as opening up a brick and mortar a key, you can't just set it and let it go. This requires time, effort and dedication to constantly improving the customer experience, and getting them committed to what your website and and what your business offers.

Nicole Donnelly 27:45

That is such a great point. You're, it's it's, you're always going to be optimizing and having to continue to work and evolve based on the feedback that you're getting from the market. Very, very true, man. Go ahead. No, I keep going. I was gonna

Noah Oken-Berg 28:00

say, but that's, again, back to that sort of, you know, like folk, if you haven't done that before. It's brand, it's uncharted territory. And it's, you can say that up front, but you know, as as flexible and as, you know, immersive as the experience you have, there's still times Chris, you know, and Nicole, like, all of us have had friction points where that lack of understanding was like, Wait, what's happening here, and, and it's just because it's uncharted territory. So, you know, if folks are watching this, and you know, want to take away something that's not just like the, the glossy, shiny thing, it's that, you know, be prepared for friction, ahead of time, no matter how, diligent front, trustworthy, you know, hardworking, everybody is in the equation, when you're doing something new. The best humans in the world will see things differently, because they have maybe it's something they haven't seen before been before. So that patience and that understanding, but also just knowing that like, like Timothy said, like, I mean, it's, it is a brick and mortar. And I think that mindset is so important that it's like, this is not a product, you know, this is an ongoing relationship, it's, you know, you wouldn't just like put up a storefront and then not staff it not, you know, pay for the lights and, you know, not change the window clings and, you know, not not really, you know, restock inventory, you know, some of the same types of things, you know, you wouldn't if it was making money, you want to, you know, expand, maybe buy the empty, you know, store next door or rent that out, you know, so all those things, you know, just know that that's coming to do it right? To do it the right way. If you don't want to do it that way, then you can do it however you want. But

Nicole Donnelly 29:39

that's not true, because I think I think that what I'm hearing what I love about this is that there's such an education that needs to happen before an investment is made in E commerce. And that's what's I think there's there's a gap there for these manufacturers they just don't know or understand. Like, this is a long term investment and here's why. And here's the things that you need to be thinking about it and how you can figure out what the purpose of your store is and what needs to change and what needs to stay the same? And what questions should you be asking through that journey. And I think there's definitely an opportunity from from an education perspective that can be addressed there before, during, after and I think partners like ATF and others who really take the time to, to not only just build the store, but also to educate like, there's such a need for that education so that manufacturers can really make the most of the investment and understand what it is that they're, they're getting

Noah Oken-Berg 30:30

into, I would say, it's not even a need. It's a requirement, because there's, there's folks we look at. And you know, we do our best to educate, but we need folks like you, Nicole and Kurt that are doing that much more actively and proactively before we come in, because we can we can take that baton and work from there. But if that hasn't, we've seen what happens. And it just it doesn't end well. No matter what. And really, like I said, Great humans can end up, you know, at odds, because they're just, it didn't start in the right place together.

Curt Anderson 31:02

I think, you know, the big challenge. I love what you're saying there know what the big challenge is manufacturers, God bless them, they, you know, they're the heroes of our economy. They are the backbone country, and you know, just making innovative and just great products on a daily basis. The challenge is they just don't know, ecommerce. And why would they? They have no, right. You know, they bought on Amazon, they know their experiences. So they're like, Well, hey, why can I bring that to my business? And so unfortunately, they're, you know, Amazon is kind of like, you know, you know, credit such a high bar, or maybe Granger, or some of the major marketplace, the industrial marketplaces that they're buying on. So they're like, hey, or even worse, or certain, see their competitors. So what, you know, no, I want to slide in here for a second. So like, it's like building a house without hiring an architect first, you know, like, hey, Noah do just tell me a house like, well, Curt, do you want, you know, a couple bedroom? I don't know, just build me a house, I want it to look like this, you know, like, you have a budget in mind. But let's go here. I love when working with you. You wish you would use the word agnostic. Even though we have like a little there's a little party going on next week that we might talk about in New York City. You're very agnostic with the shopping cart selection. Okay. So in we'll talk about how amazing how wonderful Timothy, plug your ears how great Adobe is. But talk about when you work with a client, you know, and I've been front row seat with you, and you're diagnosing it with your team. How, what's that shopping cart selection process? How do you walk people through that? Then Timothy, we're going to come back to you and I'm going to dig into what's going on at Adobe,

Noah Oken-Berg 32:30

deeper. Yeah, I mean, it's, it's a super important element of it too. Because just like Timothy said earlier, you know, one size does not fit all. And, you know, we are platform agnostic. I mean, there are a couple that we focus on. And we've traditionally, you know, the majority of folks we work with are on the Adobe commerce Magento platform, but our job is to bring the right solutions to bear for, for who's in front of us. And, you know, I think one of the things that can happen a lot in this industry that I've seen inside the belly of the beast, is you work with a partner and agency that maybe only does you know, one thing, and so that becomes the only thing that's the right thing for everybody. And you can get yourself in a lot of hot water. Adobe commerce knows who they are, they're clearly differentiated, they know that there have, they win, you know, 10 times out of 10 for certain demographic and certain requirements of a client. And there's some that just don't fit their their platform and their needs. And so and so we want to make sure that you know, that, you know, the shoe fits. And so, you know, we we actually walked in thinking that maybe a different size solution might fit for us air filtration. And you you guys are all part of this conversation, you remember this earlier, and because of some of these elements, that you know that that everybody is brought up that Timothy that you've been highlighting, and Chris, you know, we realized that there was no other solution in this case. So there's times where it's a little bit more of a gray area. But But usually when you get down to the end of it, you know, you'll and we can typically do this through a pre discovery phase, you know, before we actually come on site and do a deep dive and you know, we do some stuff before any contracts are signed, where we get enough information that we can do that. Occasionally we do have some of our clients. Just recently, we had a client that hired us to actually paid us to do an evaluation because they needed a much deeper dive into that a platform evaluation and so you know, it kind of again, the rigor that's applied to that evaluation is not one size fits all either. Sometimes there is more gray area and you need to kind of do a deeper dive sometimes it's it's obvious and after one conversation, you can say there's no way it should be anything else but this but it is an important piece of it. Just just like everything else. And it's not just for the E commerce platform, but you know when you're talking about other business systems I'm working with somebody yesterday who is looking to right size and ERP, we're not ERP implementers, per se, but we are integrators. We have a team that could implement it. It's just not again, speaking of creating a whole new business, not a business that we've gone down into. And so, you know, we being a solutions integrator, which is really technically what we are not a, you know, a software agency or whatever, but I think that's what Adobe commerce calls us, right? And so, you know, and that's I, that's, that's what we have to do, we have to look at all the different solutions and figure out the best ones to integrate.

Curt Anderson 35:34

Well, fantastic. And thank you for walking through. And again, if you're, if you're just joining us, and you're like, Man, I am chomping at the bit to get an E commerce boy hit that rewrite button and go back and just get that little replay of what Noah just said, Now, Timothy, I don't know. My mom thinks I'm for everybody. But you know what? I'm just not. It's just not, you know, so God bless mom, but I'm just not for everybody. Now in I don't know if you're comfortable going here now being if I'm a USC grad, do Can I can I be can I be an Adobe customer? I'm just curious. But anyway, so I know he's a great, well, Timothy, other than USC, alumni and graduates and fans, who is Adobe for or maybe like, are you comfortable saying, like, who's not a great fit, right? Like, who's if I'm a manufacturer out there, and I'm listening to a wonderful, amazing conversation. And I'm like, I want to be where Chris Watson is, you know, like, I'm Chris Watson a year and a half ago, I want to get caught up. So who are you for who? Or maybe you're not for? How was that for a question, Timothy?

Timothy Lee 36:36

I love it. I mean, the setup, you have me still spinning right now trying to think of how to respond to that. My Bruin pride is, is hurting, but I'll figure it out. When we talk about businesses that are really well aligned with what Adobe commerce is doing, I think it really depends on what segment we're focusing in. I've spent the majority of my career in the solution lead kind of segment where we're focusing on businesses that are really looking to acquire ecommerce, not necessarily, maybe for the first time, especially in b2b, with manufacturing, verticals from a homegrown platform, or some from a special type of one off instance, that they've may be used for online portal type purchasing. But then we've also seen a lot of uptick in kind of large manufacturers looking at this in the telecom service, like T Mobile. So really, though, where my analysis has kind of fallen into is super inline, I was doing a little bit of research into just kind of doing years and reviews, we round out our fourth quarter, looking into where we found the most success over the past two years. And oddly enough, it's actually been in manufacturing. And we've seen quite a large uptick from fiscal year 22 to fiscal year 23. In the merchants, not just adopting, but also staying on the platform. And a big part of that commitment comes from our partners such as the two of y'all, Kurt and Nicole, know over at ATF making sure that these commerce platforms are successful in the space. And then the other half of it is the baseline technology that Adobe commerce comes with which again, as kind of know, was alluding to does fit in some scenarios. 10 out of 10, where we see that really making the right mix is when customers are highly invested into their customer experience, whether that be online or offline, or they're invested in creating a customer experience that creates either more attraction or a unique type of relationship with that online customer. Oftentimes, users who are coming to Adobe commerce when we talk about one size fits all and again, I know, Noah is above the fray is a platform agnostic systems integration partner, and they've been a great partner to Adobe commerce, as I'm sure they have for all the other platforms they've implemented, which I think is really a phenomenal value add. But when we talk about where kind of our bread and butter is, and where we're seeing that going, I do see with things evolving, and maybe we see in the product development, things like evolution and catalog and pricing edge services I'd mentioned a little bit earlier where we're quoting, you know, upwards of over half a million skews per minute indexation handling, you know, sub 100 millisecond retrieval times for catalog and pricing data from arc edge Catalog service so getting it into that catalog service and calling it to the customer experience having that reduced performance in that call to action. Have you uniquely price catalogs or different sorts of services such as that so I really do think that and I apologize if I'm missing the point here again, this might be this is perfect. Yeah, yeah. There's no I you know, when we come when it comes to where we see the business heading, I do think it's really important We understand that Adobe commerce is designed to get you, you know, 80 90% of the way there with the baseline functionality. But what makes this platform unique is those are those use cases and those customized, not customized, but those special specific or specialized cases, that your business handles that, quite frankly, you should not be looking at an E commerce platform to replicate. If that functionality comes out of box, it means that everybody in the space is doing it. So looking at something to create that flexible one off behavior that has made us air filtration so successful, something that I think we're going to continue offering, including just creating adjunct services to make that more scalable and performant for our manufacturers, as well as our higher enterprise customers.

Noah Oken-Berg 40:46

That's the part you need to rewind right there.

Curt Anderson 40:51

I think the whole program and I know we could be geeking out all day I could sit I could listen to this all day, Nicole, I know we're, we're coming up against time. Why don't we I know you want to take us on a little tour of like a unstrapped a curtain on this wonderful, magnificent new website. Thanks to our friends at Adobe and above the fray. And of course Chris Watson and the team just really rolled up his sleeves. Joyce and team at you, Jason. dmg, do you want to share your screen and let's take a little look? Let's let's

Nicole Donnelly 41:22

let's do it. Let's do a tour. No, I

Curt Anderson 41:26

do have a little drumroll for our from our DJ.

Nicole Donnelly 41:33

I am so excited to share and showcase this beautiful, beautiful, amazing store that ATF has built with Adobe and and with Chris Watson. It's really quite exciting. So if you can you guys all see my screen. Okay. Looks perfect. Not very good. So, one of the things I just wanted to add to Timothy to what you said is I think that's what's beautiful about Adobe commerce is just it is such a long game that the the the the flexibility of the platform really allows for, you know, that long term approach to maybe the you know, the features that you have that you want to build today. You don't you're not fully utilizing an Adobe, but you know, down the line with the integration capabilities and all the things that you can and will do, there's just a lot of power there. So anyway, here is US air filtration, isn't it a beautiful, beautiful place that we all want to go and buy for US air filtration. So okay, so this store is, if you come here, US air filtration cells, replacement parts, the first thing that I think is amazing here is the search bar. More and more people, they want to get what they want quickly, easily. They don't want to have to search through catalogs. So what's amazing about this as if someone knows, for example, that like I need an EVO cartridge, and they just type in EVO, the search functionality here, just amazing. It'll just pull up anything with that specific requirement. Or if I want a specific material, a filter media, for example, you can just pull in, oh, look, I spelled wrong. Just pull it up. And it'll just pull up all the products of that filter media. So all of these variants here on the left hand side, you can you know, the user who's coming here, if they need something quickly, there'll be able to search. So I love that this is front and center. I think that's from a purchasing user experience. That's huge. And then looking at the catalog itself, if it you know, for each replacement parts, we have this wonderful filter option here on the left hand side where you're directed to the main, you know, category page where you can see all the all the products within that category. But here on the left, you can filter by a number of different variants very quickly and easily. So if you're looking for a specific filter media, like I said, you can just click here and it's going to filter down those options. And this you know, speaking to like the b2c functionality here, just the various the simplicity of just simply adding adding to cart and, you know, updating your order here. It's just very, very seamless and straightforward. And one of the things that I love that's very beautiful about this process is that this is integrated with ship shipper HQ, which when you set up you know, freight shipping is a huge problem for b2b manufacturers huge. It's complicated, figuring out how to palletize these orders that are heavy and have crazy funky dimensions and you're ordering large quantities to be able to figure out and get a freight quote instantly for products is it is a huge barrier that Chris and the team at us are filtration really took a lot of time to build out but what's beautiful about this is that someone can come and literally instantly be able to get a quote for shipping. And they can choose their their their shipping method right there. And then the other beautiful thing is that you can order by purchase order by credit card which is huge for b2b purchasers just to be able to have the flexibility there. So that is how the store is designed for the the standard stock items that US air filtration has. And then the other beauty of this is just the amazing customer portal aspect Davitt, which for for manufacturers repeat orders are so huge, so huge they're made, they're having to make these orders over and over and again. So to be able to have a place where customers can go, and very easily be able to see their past orders, but even more cool to have like a requisition list, which is like, here's your master list. For example, we have one here for this particular piece of equipment where a purchaser who hasn't made hasn't purchased their parts, it's time for them to purchase. Again, they don't have to go and look and figure out what's my part number again, or take a picture of the part and have to figure it out, they just log into their account here. And they have a nice easy list of all of the parts, the specific skews, and the quantities of what they need for that specific piece of equipment. And so from a user perspective, that just makes them so it makes it so easy for them to just very simply just add to cart those items and reorder in a very simple way. So that is my very Oh, and then we have our Learning Center, which I have to talk about the learning center. So for for anybody who's just like new trying to understand and learn and understand what's next. You know, this was really the first step for us air filtration was to have some sales and marketing enablement and create this really robust learning center to help build educate those customers so that they were ready for E commerce right. And so that's what this Learning Center really allows for is to help answer a lot of those questions and get them to the point where they're ready to make that purchase. So that is my tour. That is the tour of the beautiful US air filtration at a very high level. There's a lot more meat there, but

Curt Anderson 46:38

a round of applause and let's give you know, and let's give some credit. Big shout out to our friend there. Let's give a shout. Yes. Chris Arslan Aaron. So the entire that's the team that above the fray. Timothy, thank you, for everybody behind the scenes at Adobe, there's a lot of muscle that came into the project. So thank you to you guys and your team. Chris Watson, my friend. Kudos to you, Tim, everybody, you know, we're we when we came down for discovery process, we had months into it prior to even that you've had a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I know we're coming into time. So Chris Watson, any final thoughts, words of wisdom, anything that you want to share going through this ecommerce journey that you want to share with everybody today? Are you on mute Chris?

Chris Watson 47:28

Just, again, understanding, you know, the purpose of what it is you're trying to do, and then just know, like, like Noah's said and intimidate it's once it's up, it's not over? Right? I think that's one of the mistakes we made early on, is that, okay, it's up, we're done, we can walk away now. Just let the money roll in. Right? Not how that works. So, but it's good. It's, you know, and again, understanding why we're doing it, we understand like, okay, you know, we don't want it to just be done. Like, we want to develop them more like the the areas that the customers are using the same value and like we want to reinvest in that we want to build that out more, we want to give them more resources. So it's, you know, it's going to be an ongoing process, but it should be a positive, positive process.

Curt Anderson 48:13

Yeah, and just, you know, look at what you've done for a competitive advantage putting us here and just a great position, you know, making it easy for your customers. Timothy, you mentioned like, I love that word, frictionless. We use that all the time. And so just you know, the future's just looking so bright, just we're just so helpful, just full of gratitude for like, everybody takes a village. And what I love a big theme, again, if you're new to e commerce, and you're like, hey, you know, how do I get this started? No, you're hitting the nail on the head, man. Like, it's like that gym membership. When you get that new website up. It's like, Alright, here we go. Here come the orders, we certainly want them to come in. But that's where you need to dmg marketing team. You know, it takes SEO, there's a lot of advertising needs to be behind the scenes. But it's like having that gym membership, no parting words, words of wisdom, anything that you want to share with folks kind of this project with us air or for others that are considering going down that Adobe route or ecommerce?

Noah Oken-Berg 49:08

No, I'm just I just come shocked right now. And then a new revelation that you know, that gym membership I bought and haven't gotten one. That's why I'm not Hey, man.

Curt Anderson 49:16

Why don't I see the results? were reflecting close. Like, why don't I see results? Right? And that's like, every website, that's what it is. You got to hit the gym. And you guys do an amazing job of like, you know, that I call it, you know, kind of like that healthcare service, that ongoing relationship, you know, so it's not like you're just kind of like, yeah, here you go. Good luck with that. And we'll see you guys later. You know, just and I know, we're coming into time, just less parting words on your end. Thanks. Yeah.

Noah Oken-Berg 49:44

I mean, I kind of use that analogy. Sometimes you said health care, but like, you know, Zoom care versus like a family practitioner, like, you know, you know, a primary care doctor that's worked with your family for generations. You know, that's, that's the difference and there's a place for zoom care and the rode, but it's, you know, and I go to zoom care for things but you know, not not for something like this. And really, I would love to, there's a bunch of sound bites and quotes from this from both Timothy and Chris, the call yourself, Kurt that I think are just fantastic. There's actually been a really great discussion, I think, you know, folks can get a lot from this. I don't think we were just glad handing each other here. I think we were talking about some of the hard truths. And if I'm, if I'm listening to something, that's what I want to hear, I don't want to just hear the, the, you know, the wins, I want to hear where the challenges were. So I think, you know, I don't have much more to say other than, you know, rewind this and listen again, there's some really good stuff. I'm going to do that myself. Also come to New York next week.

Curt Anderson 50:42

Yeah. We'll give a shout out. And that's, you know, the thing is, like having those healthy, tough conversations of like, hey, you know, raising your hand, I don't understand this, like this. You know, Chris Watson, we've had that, you know, many times like, I don't miss, like, you know, Kurt, that's what you're here for, like, no, like, you know, you and I've had multiple, we have a great relationship where I text you like, Hey, dude, we need to have a talk. And like, you know, we have a situation and how can we get through this. And the thing is, it's like, we're on the same page, we're on the same team, we're trying to get in the endzone together. And so you know, when we're, it's just making magic to get to the other side, Stephen Covey's seven habits like, you know, have the end in mind. Right, always have the mind, Timothy Lee, my friend, parting words, words of wisdom, anything that you want to share with folks as we wind down.

Timothy Lee 51:27

I'll keep it to a few cliches, one of which is if you're if you're not thinking about eCommerce you're behind. The reason I say that is because the trend, especially in manufacturing, when you talk to merchants and clients, or consultants in the space, anybody on this call, we see a driving adoption or individuals who have adopted ecommerce. And that goes on to my second cliche, which is that if it was easy, everybody would do it. So you know, if this was a million dollar business, I would be doing it today, if I could just set up a dropship business downstairs and automated, I'd be doing it today. That's not the way it is. But that doesn't mean that that's not what it can become. So the idea is that we start investing in a solution that gives us this baseline functionality to transition that relationship online. And then we continue to build the experience so that it does become that revenue generating and then also revenue increasing arm of our business, but it does take work and drive. And I know Chris, no occurred. Nicole, you all have been putting in the blood, sweat and tears. So I'll give you that. And then the final cliche I'll I'll kind of end it out with is just that there is well, I forgot it, but no time like the present. I guess that was the first one. But yeah, we'll leave it at that.


We have an impressive lineup of industry experts joining us, including Chris Watson, the General Manager of U.S. Air Filtration, Noah Oken-Berg, the CEO + Co-Founder of Above the Fray, and Timothy Lee from Adobe.