AIA Launches New Technology Platform
Cloud-based Experience AIA platform enables remote business and sales operations with integrated product search, order entry, billing, marketing and company store capabilities.
Appleton, Wis. (June 15, 2020) – AIA Corporation (AIA) today announced the launch of Experience AIA (EAIA), a best-in-breed technology platform built with customizations defined by AIA and implemented by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) on ASI’s ESP® platform. The platform, which is currently being rolled out to all AIA distributors, integrates ASI’s ESP system and infrastructure with AIA-exclusive tools and resources.
The aim of EAIA is to help distributors simplify, streamline and automate many aspects of running a business so they can save time, better serve customers and get paid faster. Using ASI’s ESP platform as a foundation, AIA integrated additional features, such as sales analytics, MVP supplier pricing and an expedited order-to-cash cycle, for a seamless experience only available to AIA distributors.
“Our goal was two-fold,” said Sharon Zarter, AIA’s vice president of Business Technology. “First, to provide AIA distributors with a comprehensive platform and toolset that supports all aspects of their business—from sourcing products and order entry and billing, to data analysis and marketing. And second, to anticipate and meet the evolving online shopping needs of end-users with capabilities like company stores and e-commerce sites.”
As COVID-19 pushes AIA distributors to quickly evolve their business and sales models, EAIA seamlessly provides real-time inventory updates for a large percentage of AIA MVP suppliers, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) keyword product searches and tagging certain PPE products to easily incorporate them in presentations or marketing collateral.
“In today’s all-virtual business environment, EAIA is enabling AIA distributors to operate their business remotely, stay connected with customers, and make smart buying decisions despite fluctuating inventory,” said Nancy Schmidt, CEO of AIA.
Additional platform features include:
- Building upon ASI’s upgrades to its presentation features, AIA distributors can brand presentations with their logo or the end-users’ logo on featured products––this includes virtual presentations which are proving to be an invaluable tool to reach customers in this environment
- eCommerce enabled and customizable websites that eliminate the need for multiple websites and catalogs––providing business content and sales all on one domain
- Preferred supplier pricing that appears in product searches, allowing distributors to compare pricing and reduce emails and phone calls with suppliers to determine the AIA-negotiated rate
- Order entry functionality that expedites PO delivery by creating shortcuts such as storing artwork for reorders, to streamline repeat orders with just a few clicks
- Flags to designate new orders, revised orders and repeat orders, as well as priority flags to differentiate between firm and flexible in-hand dates to effectively communicate deadlines to suppliers
- Order management functionality that provides continuous updates and is highly customizable depending on the workflow of a specific distributor
“AIA has been at the forefront of delivering advanced technology to better serve distributors and we’re thrilled they chose ASI’s ESP,” said Bob DeFord, ASI’s senior VP of distributor sales and marketing. “In addition to customizations on ESP that help AIA simplify order entry and processing, AIA has also leveraged their strong supplier relationships to integrate pricing and industry- and event-specific content so distributors can provide end users with tangible solutions they can use during this critical time of economic recovery.”
Following a trial launch and beta testing, AIA has migrated 95 distributors to the new platform, resulting in $65 million in sales processed through EAIA and over 50,000 purchase orders produced and sent from EAIA.
Initial AIA distributor feedback has been positive. According to Tina McNulty, Owner of Prime Promo in Amherst, NY, “In our first month with AIA we entered 1,000 orders and couldn’t believe how easy it was to use. What used to take 20-30 minutes to enter orders, now takes just a few minutes. As AIA continued its enhancements over the last year, we’ve benefited from the
intuitive and user-friendly shortcuts that make it easier to find products, process repeat orders and provide clients with quick turnaround on product ideas to meet their needs.”
AIA will transition its remaining distributors onto the platform in 2020. User training remains a priority to ensure a smooth transition and comprehensive understanding of all the ways the platform can improve productivity and increase sales.
AIA partners with distributors in the promotional products industry and provides them with the professional services they need to run an efficient and profitable business. With AIA, distributors maintain their independence, gain the support of like-minded entrepreneurs and are empowered to Be Boldly You. AIA distributors have access to advanced technology to streamline sales and operations; back office support and order financing; supplier relations; sales coaching and planning; and marketing programs. These business services enable distributors to work smarter, freeing up time and resources to focus on professional and personal goals.
For more information, visit www.aiacommunity.com or call 800-460-7836.