“Today, customers want B2B companies like Elektronabava to match the speed and convenience they’re used to receiving from B2C retailers. Thanks to IBM WebSphere Commerce, we can meet and exceed those service expectations.”

Sebastjan Jaklic, Head of IT and Digital, Elektronabava

Targeting more responsive services

Elektronabava has served Slovenia’s electrical equipment industry for more than 70 years, keeping wholesalers’ shelves stocked with high-quality products and equipping contractors working in the field. To strengthen its leading position, Elektronabava aims to make it as quick and convenient as possible to order from its catalog of over 100,000 products.

Sebastjan Jaklic, Head of IT and Digital at Elektronabava, begins: “We go to market through a network of nine retail branches across Slovenia, as well as via our contact center and field sales teams. The customer experience is always at the front of our minds, and to ensure we’re supporting them effectively, we run an annual satisfaction survey. In recent years, our surveys have shown that the popularity of B2C e-commerce is influencing the expectations of our B2B customers.”

Miroslav Lukic, Digital Marketing Specialist at Elektronabava, continues: “In the past, our online presence was limited to a basic catalog, which listed products by their part number. As well as lacking details such as images and technical specifications, customers were unable to use the site to reserve products or place orders.”

Elektronabava decided to sharpen its competitive edge by delivering a transactional e-commerce site.

“We see that online retail is about more than the way we accept orders,” comments Jaklic. “The digital channel is also a powerful opportunity to educate customers about our products and make it easier for them to engage with our business—fostering lasting customer loyalty. To achieve our goals, we decided to deploy an e-commerce platform.”

Designing a future-ready e-commerce experience

Elektronabava selected IBM WebSphere Commerce—a platform that enables businesses to deliver seamless online ordering experiences across all customer touchpoints.

“From the start, we knew that we wanted a B2B-oriented solution,” says Jaklic. “Of all the vendors we assessed, IBM was the most sophisticated in the B2B space. In particular, we value the enhanced search functionality, which enables us to deploy search-based merchandizing rules as well as capabilities such as spelling correction and autocompletion.”

He adds: “Electricians spend a great deal of their time working in the field, so it was essential that we delivered seamless, high-quality journeys on mobile devices. Responsive templates in IBM WebSphere Commerce will enable us to create a mobile-first experience. In the future, we plan to enable customers to navigate to our product pages by scanning QR codes.”

To provide implementation, hosting and support services for its IBM WebSphere Commerce environment, Elektronabava engaged IBM Business Partner Creatim.

“We have complex pricing contracts with our customers, and we wanted to ensure that we could reflect those prices accurately on our e-commerce site,” recalls Lukic. “Working with the team at Creatim helped us design the ERP integrations we needed to display the appropriate contract prices to each of our customers. Tight integration between IBM WebSphere Commerce and our inventory management application also enables us to surface near-real time data on product stock levels—giving our customers the peace of mind that the items they’re ordering are available for purchase.”

Working with Elektronabava, Creatim helped implement the new storefront and design the user experience. In parallel, Elektronabava formed a team to bring together product data for the site, including images, regulatory certifications and technical specifications.

“We wanted to focus on making our most popular products available online first,” Jaklic explains. “At the moment, we have around 20,000 products listed online, which represents approximately 90 percent of the products we sold last year. Over the next three years, we aim to offer all 100,000 of our products on the e-commerce site.”

Delighting customers with faster journeys

By building its e-commerce experience on IBM WebSphere Commerce, Elektronabava is empowering customers across Slovenia to place orders from anywhere, 24/7.

“One of the main goals of our e-commerce project was reducing friction in the customer journey, and by working with IBM and Creatim we’ve achieved exactly that,” says Jaklic. “If a customer places an order before four p.m., we aim to deliver it to their local branch by eight a.m. or to the site they’re working on by two p.m. the following day. Currently, we’re using a single warehouse to fulfill all online orders—but we plan to introduce ship-from-store capabilities to boost inventory availability.”

By encouraging more customers to place their orders online and on mobile, Elektronabava is freeing its teams to spend more time assisting customers with complex orders.

“Our high quality of service is one of the keys to our success,” comments Lukic. “By focusing on customer support, we are confident that we will increase customer satisfaction, encourage incremental purchases and nurture long-term loyalty.”

Jaklic adds: “Although our journey with IBM WebSphere Commerce is just beginning, we’re already measuring a substantial uplift in our e-commerce revenue. By 2020, our goal is to drive 50 percent of our total revenue via the digital channel.”

As it continues to add new products to its online catalog, Elektronabava is exploring the potential of AI solutions such as IBM Watson to accelerate the process.

“Our product marketing managers need to upload thousands of images over the next few years, and tagging those images accurately will be essential to manage such a large volume of data effectively,” comments Jaklic. “The faster we can add products to our site, the sooner we can start driving digital sales—so we’re very interested in using IBM Watson to tag our product images automatically.”

He concludes: “Today, customers want B2B companies like Elektronabava to match the speed and convenience they’re used to receiving from B2C retailers. Thanks to IBM WebSphere Commerce, we can meet and exceed those service expectations. Our e-commerce site is an important source of competitive advantage, and by continuing our collaboration with Creatim, we’re in a strong position to strengthen our market-leading position.”

Take the next step

To learn more about IBM WebSphere Commerce, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/marketplace/websphere-commerce

Since 1999, Creatim has been helping online businesses to optimize their operations. Specializing in highly customized web development solutions powered by IBM WebSphere Commerce, Creatim helps companies across Europe develop B2B and B2C platforms that deliver exceptional customer experiences and support business growth. To learn more about products and services from Creatim, please visit: www.creatim.com

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