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Unite and RS: Three solutions for more online sales

More online sales. More customer contacts. More sustainability. These were RS’s objectives when choosing Unite’s solutions. RS is the world’s largest distributor of electronics and maintenance products. As such, it helps customers design, maintain, repair and operate safe and sustainable industrial facilities and enterprises. Based in the UK, RS relies on Unite’s integrated Mercateo Marketplace, BusinessShop and BusinessShop Plus solutions. The result: significant domestic and international sales success.

RS company picture showing the RS warehouse in Bad Hersfeld, Germany. A truck stands in front of one of the many loading docks.

The success story at a glance

The challenges

  • Sell 650,000 items across 13 countries
  • Become more competitive online
  • Customise offer to the procurement needs of individual customers
  • Provide customers with a one-stop shop

Unite’s solutions

  • Mercateo Marketplace
    For more reach
  • BusinessShop
    For direct sales and branding
  • BusinessShop Plus
    To fulfil individual customer needs

The result

  • Increased sales and exposure across the existing 13 target markets
  • Fulfilled an array of customer requirements
  • An expanded sales strategy
  • Achieved visibility in ERP and e-procurement systems
  • Set up consistent processes across all countries

Solutions for ambitious sales targets

Digitalisation has long been a game changer in the world of procurement, driving more and more customers to the web. To stay competitive and profitable, suppliers need online marketplaces to offer their customers a one-stop shop.

As an electronic, electromechanical engineering and automation technology distributor, RS recognised this early on. RS has been relying on Unite’s Mercateo Marketplace for many years. It also uses the BusinessShop and BusinessShop Plus catalogue solutions as digital sales tools. The number one goal for suppliers is to always be exactly where customers search for and buy products – whether that’s on the internet or via their preferred procurement solution. The second goal is to set up fast, cost-saving procurement processes with Unite’s digital catalogues to drive business, both domestically and internationally.

Consultant, partner and platform all wrapped into one

Having customised offers is what sets suppliers apart from their competition. And Unite is very aware of that. That’s why it works with suppliers on its e-procurement platform, providing them with a direct contact person and strategic advice – no matter which catalogue solution is being used.

Be where your customers are

Unite graphic illustrating the easy buying process. A woman infront of a plus sign clicks on a buy button.

It didn’t take RS long to figure out where its customers place their orders and then meet their digital procurement needs. Today, customers can choose from up to 650,000 RS items on the Mercateo Marketplace.

Data transparency gives way to dynamic decision-making

According to Mirjam van der Most, corporate account manager at RS, shipping conditions are the most important factor for customers on the Mercateo Marketplace. Suppliers get access to reliable product data, favourable conditions and real-time information on product availability or partial deliveries per order, giving them a competitive edge. RS runs a dynamic sales strategy: based on the given product, the company decides on the best pricing and availability strategy as well as delivery time. Transparent, automated data on current demand, competitors’ prices and availability help RS make these decisions.

The right solution for every customer

Mercateo’s Marketplace and Procurement Portal are ideal for small and medium-sized companies. It covers their entire indirect procurement on the web while providing access to a wide range of products. It also comes with useful features such as user and cost management as well as approval processes.

Customers with their own e-procurement system can connect their solution to the Mercateo Marketplace via API or punch-out and still keep their own approval and budget control processes. Most customers cover their indirect spend using this procurement method – which is a good reason for suppliers to meet their customers at this point in the buying journey.

A branded online catalogue

RS was one of the first suppliers to activate our BusinessShop solution. With a BusinessShop, RS’ sales team can map existing customer relationships under its own brand, digitalise them and connect them with a dedicated contact person. At its core, it’s a branded online catalogue enabling a direct sales approach featuring personal contact with maximum transparency.

Measurable success with digital turnover

The company’s experience with the Unite BusinessShop has been outstanding. In Germany, RS has recorded a significant increase in e-shares in sales, high access figures, many active customers as well as steadily high demand and customer satisfaction. The Unite BusinessShop has already established itself as an everyday go-to for RS customers. This success has led RS to roll out its catalogue solution to 12 more countries. Bonus: the revenue achieved can be assigned to individual sales reps. Adding a digital dimension to traditional sales offers real added value.

Unite graphic illustrating the administration of BusinessShops. A man infront of a laptop screen is surrounded by icon graphics with a wheel, envelope, shopping basket and a person.

BusinessShop Plus:
For star customers

Unite graphic illustrating the partnership-based collaboration. A man and a woman shake hands.

Many suppliers feature key accounts in their sales portfolio, i.e. those that are crucial for their revenue and reputation. With BusinessShop Plus, RS can offer its key accounts a customised catalogue and range of features to serve their high-revenue demands.

Customer focus

Customised offers are especially important for large accounts as they’re largely responsible for predictable turnover. With the BusinessShop Plus option, RS can offer customised assortments and prices as well as payment and return options. It also lets customers define their own catalogue specifications, such as item identification or product group mapping. Unite makes sure that RS’ systems are compatible with their key accounts.

Unite’s solutions in a nutshell

Mercateo Marketplace

  • Access to a large customer base
  • Suppliers sell anonymously and only have one debtor
  • Customers book all their orders to one creditor
  • Mercateo is in charge of credit assessment and customer service and assumes non-payment risk


  • Brand shop connected to Mercateo or the client’s own ERP or e-procurement system
  • Direct sales with a customer service rep
  • Customer loyalty and development
Unite partnership rules

BusinessShop Plus

  • Digital solution for framework contract catalogues
  • For specific needs, including individual prices, assortments, shipping and return conditions
  • Extra benefits such as catalogue management with approval and change history features

14 countries. 1 platform.

One end customer, one supplier and one procurement solution – no matter the customers’ location. Unite’s solutions are already available in 14 countries. If customers based in one of those countries want to switch to buying online, Unite’s already there and can offer the exact same processes that the supplier has come to appreciate.

RS also benefits from Unite’s international presence. As a global player, the parts distributor strives to consolidate its online sales at an international scale. That’s why RS will also start using the Marketplace, BusinessShop and BusinessShop Plus options in countries where customers want or need access to e-procurement. This will allow RS to set international standards and establish new digital sales channels.

Portrait of Mirjam van der Most, Corporate Account Manager at RS (Germany)

We’re an omnichannel provider, so Unite won us over immediately. The low upfront cost for SMEs gives our customers quick access to digital supplier management. A win-win for everyone involved.

Mirjam van der Most, Corporate Account Manager, RS (Germany)

RS Company picture of a high-bay warehouse from the inside perspective, showing the different levels and an assembly line.

Unite: it’s up to the customer

With Unite, RS has been able to expand its reach and market presence. It’s now relevant to customer groups that had only shown little interest before. The customers get to decide which solutions suit their requirements best. “Our customers are still our customers – whether they take the indirect or direct purchasing route,” says Mirjam van der Most. Quick availability is and always will be a key factor for maximum levels of customer satisfaction with C-parts. With Unite, RS can handle any online sales scenario, serve different customer needs and provide personal support to its customers. It’s the perfect combination of traditional and digital sales.

RS corporate image showing a bird

About RS

  • Sector: C-parts distribution
  • As seen in image: German warehouse in Bad Hersfeld
  • Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
  • Headcount: over 8,000 worldwide
  • Unite’s solutions: Mercateo Marketplace/BusinessShop/BusinessShop Plus across 13 countries

Get in touch

Would you like to know more about optimising your procurement processes with the Unite platform? We’re happy to walk you through it.