SLV meets costumer demands by re-equilibrating digitalization strategy

A big project – with an even bigger network of partners.

A DJ envisioning a full-on lighting experience, combining electronic beats with rhythmic illumination, started the history of SLV 4 decades ago. SLV nowadays is still selling luminaires and light bulbs, but on top of that, we define ourselves as a service company, aiming not only to create the perfect products, but the perfect lighting solution for all kinds of projects. With enormous knowledge, our media creation department manages to publish a new BIG WHITE catalogue each year with almost a thousand pages, which has been the number one sales tool for a long time. However, times are changing and from electricians to architects or light planners, we want to incorporate these new findings into the digital strategy, making sure to still meet the demands of our customers.

Our old webshop was based on a content management solution, which no longer serves the omni-channel retailing strategy, nor the diverse customer target groups. Additional complexity comes with our 11 subsidiaries; amongst some of them even more than one main country language needs to be displayed. Finally yet importantly, SLVs large product portfolio with a certain range of variants and the general commitment to set up an agile and performant platform, as well as multiple interfaces that need to be customizable, have lead us to the decision to rebuild the entire IT-infrastructure.

With the new setting, we had to decide in favor of a solution, which would be agile and performant, yet enabling SLV to be in charge of the entire customer journey. A decision between micro-services with highly specialized partners that would need a higher degree of project management and programming, or an “out-of-the-box” shop-concept, with little necessity for personal adaption?

Whoever followed our journey, might already take a guess which of these two different solutions we favored: Micro-services, customized solutions and strong partners that are highly specialized and professional in their field. To downsize the complexity and time setting of the project, we furthermore defined the outline of our Relaunch by working with a MVP approach. Meaning “minimum viable product” and a focus on the most important features for the initial launch, which are to be extended successively afterwards.

This may like a trade-off, when in fact “most important features” means serious negotiations with multiple departments, a lot of situational awareness and back-and-forth communication to incorporate all the different stakeholders’ opinions. To compare, prioritize and analyze everything based on its technical-economic potential was one of the keys to success.

We are happy to have professional partners right by our side

Partner von SLV - ein herzliches Dankschön.

Target groups, customer journey creation and UX Design of the new online platform

Towards the end of 2018, we initiated the project “Relaunch with MVP approach” and the first partner has been contracted: dotSource – an agency with about 200 Digital Natives, who are re-thinking and re-designing e-commerce and content platforms, as well as customer relationships and product data management. Hereby, we started with analogue methods: a blank paper and a pen to sketch first ideas, always keeping in mind to focus on the costumer experience. Which navigation tree to set up? Where do we need to put buttons and which colors should they have? Any touchpoint on the new website has been created to guide the user intuitively.

After setting up the initial design draft, we continued working with Kuhrt Kommunikation, a creative Agency that supports us until today.

Finding the right service providers & agencies

As we decided to go with a micro-service solution, we automatically had to make various conversations with agencies and platform-providers. Luckily, we did not have to search for long to find the right company for our e-commerce platform: Spryker was the tool of choice, with its API-based model, promising agility and customizability. Our partner for the technical integration was another far-reaching decision, as we have been searching for an agency that was not only able to support us, but also guide us through the whole journey. Best IT was soon the only team brave and competent enough accepting our challenging timeline and requirement profile. The timeframe of only 4 months time for the entirely new system from backend to frontend, including the integration of multiple existing as well as parallel developed other tools and software, was definitely delicate.

Interfaces

As mentioned before, a project like this requires a lot of project management and transparent communication to fulfill all the different aspirations – not only from the different stakeholders at SLV, but also from all the service providers that have helped us to push boundaries and realize what seemed unrealistic to others.
One of the key components within an online platform like ours is the integration of a CMS system. One, that is clean enough to make its usage easy and its performance high, yet still offers the possibility to distribute responsibilities and incorporate for example our team abroad, enabling them to implement their own content for their website. The headless CMS Storyblok is our solution.

Another building bloc within our project was the integration of our current enterprise resource planning system (ERP system) SAP. Crucial to the success of our new online platform has been – still is a smooth trade and purchasing procedure. Kentivo is our agency of choice supporting the integration and further development.

Additionally, we are working with the Product Information Management Tool Akeno since 2018 and now bound to our Spryker-based platform. Our Digital Assetmanagement Tool Tessa by contrast is a software that we set up new, together with the agency Eikona.

Already at this point, it becomes clear that the micro-service solution was the ideal strategy for us…

SLV hat sich für die Mikroservice-Lösung entschieden - schaut man sich die Vielzahl der Schnittstellen an, weiß man wieso!

Yet, the list of partners supporting us does not end here. Another important element in terms of usability and customer satisfaction is the onsite-search. Our solution for a self-learning search comes from CXP with their tool SearchHub. Helping us to accumulate different search parameters and relate them to the respective synonym with the best output.

Another touchpoint along a customer journey are the Trigger Mails sent out automatically after using a certain service/ button. This means for example that a customer receives an E-mail subsequently to the purchase of a single/ various article/s, confirming that the order has been registered within our systems. As we want to be in control of the visual as well as the linguistic representation of these mails, we decided to work with Inxmail.

All these different systems and tools could not exist without the expertise of a competent hosting provider, who meets the specific requirements of a headless system and has quick solution for individual problems. ScaleCommerce was therefore the logical choice in terms of performance optimization.

Yet, our daily business around the BIG WHITE could not be neglected, while we developed this new online platform. To span the gap between our successful print catalogue and the digital channels during the development phase, we launched a digital version of the BIG WHITE and other publications as early as 2018. Including a connection to the shopping basket of the ‘old shop’, so that our customers could order products of their choice from the flip page catalogue – thanks to the intelligent solution Flipaio by our partner apollon, this was possible without much effort and is already connected to the new online platform as well.

Features & Future

After 4 intensive months we have finally launched our new online platform. Including all 15 versions of the online portal, which have gone live in August. Already in this MVP version, many features have been included:

  • Responsive & fresh design: Optimization for Tablet& Mobile
  • Multiple shopping baskets
  • Multiple watch lists
  • Product variants (playout via higher-level model)
  • Optimized check-out process
  • Optimized page structure & navigation
  • Restructured product detail page
  • New Content
  • Clean playout & structuring of the product listing
  • Optimized Search & Filter
  • Significant increase in performance (shorter loading times& Co)
Im Verlaufe des Projektes sind viele Features implementiert worden

The reward for all our efforts was not long in coming: In October we won the Shop Usability Award in the B2B category. An award that honours particularly user-centric websites and is one of the most important awards in e-commerce. Of course, this does not only make us proud, but above all, it shows that we have more than achieved our initial goal - thanks to the successful cooperation of all those involved.

But we are not resting on our laurels. Which is why we are continuously working on the technical and content development of the order portal to let our customers benefit from small and large innovations on a weekly basis. Although we have already seen an increase in the number of visitors, our backlog is still long enough to be able to offer the best possible service for different target groups in the long term. We are dreaming big!

A night we still remember- the Shop Usability Award ceremony

SLV's Online Plattform wurde zum besten B2B Shop gekürt
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