To increase customer satisfaction, attract new business and drive incremental sales, industrial standard components manufacturer Elesa aims to help customers find what they need and place orders fast.
Elesa worked with IBM Gold Business Partner Tecla to empower customers to place orders rapidly via a responsive B2B e-commerce experience powered by IBM WebSphere Commerce.
40kproducts now available to purchase online, enabling customers to place orders 24/7
99%faster ordering process enhances the customer experience
Helpsencourage incremental orders, supporting Elesa’s business growth
Business challenge story
Taking the business online
Elesa manufactures industrial components in plastic and metal such as handwheels, knobs, handles, hinges, levelling feet and castors for industrial products manufacturers in many diverse sectors. To capture incremental sales and win new customers, the company aims to make it as fast and easy as possible to order from its catalog of more than 40,000 products.
Carlo Bertani, Managing Director at Elesa, begins: “We operate in 60 countries worldwide, and continuing our global growth is one of our key goals. In recent years, the exploding popularity of B2C retail has started to raise consumer expectations in the B2B space—and our customers increasingly expect a faster purchasing experience.”
Fabio Invernizzi, Marketing Manager at Elesa, continues: “Like many leading enterprises in our space, we mostly relied on catalogs (printed and digital) as our primary route to market. Customers would leaf through the catalog to identify the items they needed by their product codes, and then call, fax or email us to place their order.”
To improve customer service, Elesa decided to make the move to e-commerce—enabling customers to explore its offerings and place orders from any connected device, 24/7.
“Many of our customers are original equipment manufacturers [OEMs] themselves, and require components with precise specifications in a timely manner to meet their own delivery deadlines,” adds Invernizzi. “We realized that embracing the e-commerce model would help boost the efficiency of our fulfilment process—increasing customer satisfaction and facilitating our growth.”
Helping customers order faster
To support its new digital channel, Elesa selected IBM WebSphere Commerce—an enterprise-class platform that enables businesses to build online stores that deliver seamless ordering experiences.
“In the past, we relied on open-source platforms for web development,” recalls Invernizzi. “We knew that the time and effort required to build the kind of digital experience we wanted using open source tools would exceed the time and resources we had available, and we were clear from the outset that we wanted a mature, well-supported solution from an established vendor.”
He continues: “Of all the solutions we considered, we were most impressed with IBM WebSphere Commerce. We realized that we could use starter store templates to quickly customize the look and feel of our new site based on best practices for web design.”
Elesa worked with IBM Gold Business Partner Tecla to digitize its product information in preparation for the e-commerce initiative.
“Throughout the project, the guidance we received from Tecla has been invaluable,” adds Invernizzi. “From the beginning, it was clear that the Tecla team were experts in e-commerce and possessed deep expertise in the IBM Watson Customer Engagement solution portfolio. Working closely with the team, we collated accurate, comprehensive descriptions and specifications for around 40,000 products.”
With support from Tecla, Elesa launched its first e-commerce site for customers across Italy.
“Our go-live was a great success,” says Invernizzi. “We registered the first order just two hours after we went live—an excellent result which gave us the confidence that we’d made the right decision. We’ve even started to see industrial products manufacturers placing orders in the middle of the night and at weekends, which came as quite a surprise to us!
“In the months since we launched our new store, the reliability and performance of the IBM WebSphere Commerce solution has been excellent. Most importantly, the site makes it easy for customers to find the products they need and place their order quickly.”
Boosting satisfaction and enabling growth
With an e-commerce platform supporting its ordering process, Elesa is confident that it will accelerate order fulfillment—helping to increase customer satisfaction, attract new business and drive its growth.
“Without a doubt, our IBM WebSphere Commerce store will help increase our competitiveness,” comments Invernizzi. “In the past, customers would call us to ask for a quotation, evaluate our estimate and then call back to place an order—a process that took around 24 hours. Today, the process is 99 percent faster: customers place their orders through our online store in minutes, and we start processing them immediately.
“Many of our customers have embraced our e-commerce site, and each month we’re measuring significant numbers of repeat customers placing orders on the site—solid confirmation that they were completely satisfied with their initial ordering experience.”
He continues: “We have also automated our back-office order management processes, which enables us to handle higher order volumes even more efficiently. As a result, we can process a greater volume of orders without increasing headcount in our sales department.”
By offering a direct sales channel to customers across Italy, Elesa is already increasing its share of the market.
Invernizzi adds: “Our work with Tecla also enabled us to identify the optimal keywords to use on our site to attract visitors with a high propensity to purchase. This activity enables us to boost the number web sessions across our global business by 22 percent, which has increased requests for quotes by 24 percent.”
He adds: “Another benefit of our digital platform is the ability to dig down into our data to uncover sales trends that might otherwise have been invisible. By extracting these insights using analytics tools in IBM WebSphere Commerce, we aim to identify and capitalize on new marketing opportunities.”
Based on the success of its work with Tecla, Elesa is planning to deploy e-commerce sites across its entire global business.
“IBM WebSphere Commerce is an extremely scalable platform, and we do not anticipate any challenges rolling out additional instances to support all our geographies,” says Invernizzi. “For example, we expect to add further instances to the e-commerce platform for subsidiaries in France, the UK, the US and Sweden without any reduction in performance.”
Bertani concludes: “Our work with Tecla continues to be a valuable partnership, and we are very satisfied with what we have achieved so far. By opening an e-commerce site for customers in Italy, we’re in a strong position to ship faster, drive incremental sales and grow the business.”
Headquartered in Monza, Italy and founded in 1941, Elesa has grown to become a world leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of plastic and metal components for the mechanical industry. Offering products including lift and pull handles, position indicators, latches, vibration damping elements, transfer units and accessories for hydraulic systems, the company operates in more than 60 countries worldwide through 11 subsidiaries and qualified distributors.
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM WebSphere Commerce solutions, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/marketplace/websphere-commerce
Headquartered in Faenza, Italy and founded in 1998, Tecla is a digital system integrator and an IBM Gold Business Partner specializing in digital experience and e-commerce solutions. With an experienced team of engineers, developers, designers and marketers, Tecla serves B2C and B2B enterprises across the country. To learn more about products and services from Tecla, please visit: tecla.it