Channel partner events, IT distribution, MSP

Pax8’s Next Gen Marketplace Puts MSPs in the Driver’s Seat

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At Pax8 Beyond this morning, chief product officer Libby McIlhany officially announced updates and enhancements to the Pax8 Marketplace, including a redesigned homepage, a new Solutions feature, multi-cart capabilities and an AI-powered Opportunity Explorer.

The redesigned homepage, McIlhany said, is the gateway to the Marketplace's new shopping experience. A new, more intuitive vendor solutions catalog with smart search, advanced sorting and more granular categorization makes it easier for partners to see and choose available solution options for their customers, she said.

Then, she showcased the new Solutions feature, which enables partners to see how various products can come together to address customers' needs.

"With this tool, you can become a solutions architect of a library tailored specifically by you for your customers," McIlhany said. "You can build a solution one time and sell it over and over. So, imagine you pinpoint the perfect products that align with your customers' needs, but they're from a bunch of different vendors. With the intuitive interface, Solutions simplifies configuration and you can drag and drop offerings into a stack and then present those to customers," she said. Partners can customize the targeting so it aligns with how partners already present products.

Shopping Cart Frustrations and Fixes

McIlhany explained that the Pax8 product team wanted to address the challenges partners faced with the traditional shopping cart experience.

"Sometimes, you're pulling together a solution in a cart for one client, but before you finish, another client needs something. Previously, you had to completely ditch the first cart in order to build the other. This is pretty cumbersome and inefficient," she said. "With this new power, you can have multiple carts simultaneously so that you can serve multiple customers simultaneously. These carts can then be held until you're ready to submit the order on behalf of the client."

When multi-cart functionality is combined with Solutions, McIlhany said, it becomes a seamless fulfillment process.

Identifying Opportunities for Cross-selling and Upselling

Finally, McIlhany talked about Opportunity Explorer, which uses rich data and precise customization to identify solution gaps and give MSPs opportunities for cross-selling and upselling.

"How do we identify those customer product gaps?" McIlhany asked. "Through AI-powered recommendations -- you can now fill out your bingo card," she joked. "Through this recommendation engine, you can now see where your customers might be underserved so that you can provide them with relevant tools and see the costs," she said.

There's also a revamped quoting tool which addresses what McIlhany referred to as the MSP space's "lackluster" approach to quoting tools.

Quoting Tools for a New Era

"Quoting can be expensive, poorly executed and often you're using a generalist tool that's not designed for the channel," she said. "Imagine an out-of-the box alternative that is purpose-built for IT professionals. Our quoting tool means a seamless quoting experience; no more disjointed processes or clunky transitions from platform to platform."

She added that partners can also brand and customize reporting templates and create new quotes and publish them easily. Finally, to enthusiastic applause and cheers from the audience, she announced that partners could publish those directly to their "very own branded customer storefront."

MSPs Can Create Custom-Branded Storefronts

The custom-branded storefront feature works on a self-service model, she explained. Customers can get support, make a payment and, if the partner chooses to enable it, customers can even order and manage products and solutions themselves. They can purchase and manage their licenses, as well, she said.

"You can customize and operate a storefront stocked with a catalog tailored specifically to your audience. It's as unique as your business itself. You don't have to have just one storefront; you can have many storefronts based on customers, line of business, region, country that you want to target. ... Not fully comfortable setting your customers free in a storefront? That's no problem. You have the option to require approval of any orders before they can purchase, or you can completely hide pricing and drive customer inquiries into your existing sales workflows," McIlhany said.

Usage, analytics and storefront data is available and that data feeds back into Opportunity Explorer to start a “virtuous cycle” feedback loop so partners can see trends and determine what is and isn't working for self-service customers and where they can best target cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

"This information continuously flows through our ecosystem, improving your experience and feeding right back into Opportunity Explorer for updated recommendations," McIlhany said. "This feedback creates a 'virtuous cycle' of insight, action and infinite potential for you."

The new Pax8 Marketplace will be generally available for all partners in the Americas and Europe June 17, but Beyond partners attending the event could access the updates starting today.