Business Challenge

To catalyze its growth in Italy and beyond, Iperceramica wanted to empower customers to shop its extensive catalog of flooring products from any connected device.

Transformation

Iperceramica worked with VAR Group to deploy an e-commerce store based on IBM WebSphere Commerce and integrated with its back-office systems for order fulfilment.

Results

50%

increase in website traffic just a few weeks after launch

Enables

customers to order anywhere, anytime—driving sales and lifting revenues

Supports

multiple languages and currencies, enabling international expansion

Business challenge story

Paving the way to international growth

One of the most exciting things about moving into a new home is choosing how to decorate it—and what better place to start than from the ground up?

Enter Iperceramica. For years, this Italian company has been manufacturing and distributing high-quality, low-cost flooring, tiles, and bathroom fittings and furniture.

Michele Neri, one of the company’s CEOs, takes up the story: “Traditionally, our clients are Italian home-owners who want to redecorate their house, and they used to come to our stores looking for the specific products or tools they needed.

“We recently implemented a more sophisticated logistics system, which enables us to ship goods all over the country as well as abroad. Being able to ship goods outside beyond Italy for the first time gave us the opportunity to expand internationally.”

To appeal to international customers, Iperceramica recognized that a strong online presence was paramount, as Neri comments: “We already had a well-designed website, which functioned as an ‘inspiration guide’ for our customers, but had no capability to actually sell any of our products.

“We wanted to give Italian and international customers the chance to order anywhere and anytime, and receive their items promptly and reliably. To achieve our goal, we decided to enhance our site with e-commerce capabilities—and we looked for a platform that could support multiple languages and currencies.”

We plan to extend our reach to serve customers across Europe—and our digital channel will be a highly effective way to realize our vision.

—Michele Neri, CEO, Iperceramica

Transformation story

Putting home-owners at the center of the buying journey

Iperceramica teamed up with IBM and IBM Gold Business Partner VAR Group to design its new e-store, powered by a B2C e-commerce platform based on IBM WebSphere Commerce. Fully integrated with Iperceramica’s SAP ERP business systems, the new solution enables the company to fulfill web orders efficiently and with minimal human intervention.

Neri explains: “For many years, we have used SAP ERP to manage our core business processes. For this reason, it was essential that we found a solution that could integrate seamlessly with SAP. Of all the e-commerce solutions we considered, only IBM WebSphere Commerce offered the tight integration we were looking for. We also have a long-standing relationship with IBM, and our positive experience with the company gave us the peace of mind that we were making the best decision for our business.”

Iperceramica’s new e-store includes the company’s full product offering, enabling customers to browse, compare, and buy products anywhere, anytime. The ability to support different languages and currencies means that Iperceramica can start making its products available to global markets, helping the company to expand its reach and win new customers.

To uncover opportunities to enhance the digital customer experience, Iperceramica has also deployed IBM Watson Customer Experience Analytics. By capturing data on real-world customer journeys, the company can identify and resolve potential sticking points—making it easier for customers to find products and check out their baskets.

Neri elaborates: “We increasingly see that customers jump between the online and in-store channels as they move along their purchasing journey. For example, a customer might see a tile they like while browsing our site on their tablet, come into a store to look at the product in person and talk through their questions with our staff, and then complete the order online back at home.

“We now have a more complete picture of the customer journey, which enables us to reach out with relevant, compelling content to encourage conversion. For example, if a customer requests a quote online or in store but doesn’t go on to place the order, we can proactively send them an incentive such as a pricing promotion to encourage them to complete the purchase.

“Similarly, if a customer with an open quote re-visits us at one of our bricks-and-mortar locations, our team can quickly and easily retrieve it—regardless of whether the customer requested the quote online or in store. The more information we have about each customer’s unique preferences and past interactions with us, the better we can serve them, and we’re very pleased with the improvements we’re making to the customer experience.”

For many years, we have used SAP ERP, so it was essential to find a solution that could integrate with SAP. Of all the e-commerce solutions we considered, only IBM WebSphere Commerce offered this tight integration.

—Michele Neri, CEO, Iperceramica

Results

Stepping forward to grow the business

Iperceramica is already reaping the rewards of its new e-commerce store. Neri continues: “The previous version of our website was already quite popular among customers, who used it to find ideas and inspiration. Our new e-store is proving to be even more of a hit. Traffic has increased by 50 percent just a few weeks since the re-launch—an exceptional result!

“Crucially, the increase in traffic has contributed to a significant increase in orders, which helps us to boost our revenues. In fact, our sales on the digital channel are three times larger than the average revenue at one of our bricks-and-mortar stores, and we predict we will achieve return on investment in less than one year of our e-commerce launch.”

Whether customers visit in-store and online, Iperceramica can help them complete their purchase quickly and easily, offering a smooth journey that encourages loyalty. Better still, the company predicts that it will be able to use data from the digital channel to identify the optimal locations for new physical stores.

“By overlaying the geographical location of our website visitors with a map of our stores across Italy, we will be able to identify hotspots of customer demand that don’t have a physical store nearby,” adds Neri. “Without a doubt, this kind information will be valuable in our decision-making process.”

Iperceramica is in a strong position to pursue its ambitious international growth plans, and hopes to grow its customer base across Europe.

Michele Neri concludes: “We are very happy with the outcome of our work with IBM and VAR Group. Looking to the future, we plan to extend our reach to serve customers across Europe—and our digital channel will be a highly effective way to realize our vision.”

About Iperceramica

Headquartered near Modena, Italy, Iperceramica is a manufacturer and distributor of high-quality, affordable tiles, flooring, and bathroom fittings and furniture. The company operates 70 stores in Italy, as well as an online shop.

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

View more client stories or learn more about IBM Watson Customer Engagement

Headquartered in Perugia, Italy, VAR Group is an IBM Gold Business Partner with more than 10 years’ experience delivering solutions for e-commerce, omnichannel marketing and enterprise collaboration. To learn more about products and services from VAR Group, please visit: www.vargroup.it