Still at the helm – shop relaunch
imcopex sets the course for the future with atlantis media
In order to ensure that its online shop remains viable in the future, imcopex office supplies commissioned the IT service provider atlantis media with an extensive relaunch. The full-service agency has made some new technological changes to the shop by implementing the shop system ‘Magento’ and has added a range of interactive features that will significantly improve usability. This has enabled imcopex to strengthen its customer loyalty, win new customers and increase turnover.
imcopex office supplies is one of the leading international distributors of office equipment. Besides an extensive range of consumables and spare parts, the company, founded in 1984, also offers hardware and service products from all well-known brand manufacturers in the printing and copying sector. In its online shop, imcopex offers its business customers and resellers from specialist shops and the wholesale trade its entire range of products and services. atlantis media, a full-service agency for the digitalization of business processes and for the design and implementation of modern e-commerce systems, developed the concept for the shop in 2008. Despite continuous development, the online shop increasingly reached its limits. As imcopex wanted to reposition itself and expand its customer service as well as its portfolio, atlantis media replaced the previous shop system.
Magento: modular and scalable
“The old system just wasn’t able to meet the growing demands anymore,” Lars Epp, Manager E-Commerce & Marketing at imcopex, remembers. “In order to provide a really future-proof and long-lasting solution, we had to change the online shop over to a new technological system that will remain stable and upgradeable in the coming years,” Denis Rathig, head of development at atlantis media, adds. With the open source solution Magento, imcopex and atlantis media have opted for a system that has a modular architecture, is freely scalable and is also extremely suitable for use in the B2B environment. In addition to selecting the new shop system, a comprehensive catalog of measures was also drawn up. A wish list of features maintained by imcopex since 2013 and the results of a customer survey carried out in the summer of 2014 formed the substantive basis for this. The standards for the new online shop were high: it was of major importance to imcopex to be able to offer its B2B customers a pleasant, interactive shopping experience in the future similar to that with which they are familiar in their private lives. This includes a form of address that is personal and tailored to the customers’ needs, and the purchase of supporting, interactive features. Last but not least, the relaunch was expected to lead to improved customer satisfaction, greater appreciation and stronger loyalty.
Once the requirements were analyzed by atlantis media to establish their technical feasibility and the economic necessity of such discussed with the customer, a priority list was drawn up. This enabled the resources to be optimally distributed over the twelve-month period scheduled for the project. In order to improve usability, the IT service provider initially adapted the existing layout on a step-by-step basis to make the transition as easy as possible for the user, followed by the individual implementation of the online shop and the integration of Magento into the company’s existing IT landscape. Thanks to comprehensive interfaces, which atlantis media developed specially for imcopex, it was possible to integrate various data sources and systems: Live replications of a total of 24 tables on product master data, prices, stock levels, customer details and address details were transmitted to the shop via an interface to the ERP system. The high-performance and comprehensive process of allocating devices to accessories, spare parts and consumables is performed via the import of compatibility data. The orders are transmitted to the ERP system using OpenTrans, an XML-based open standard for electronic data exchange. Varnish, the widely-used web accelerator, serves as a proxy cache. Last but not least, the shop system enables country- and language-specific versions to be easily developed, managed and updated: Apart from a German version, the shop is also available in English, French, Italian and Spanish.
Optimum usability for B2B customers
With the remodeled shop, imcopex has achieved its goal of providing its B2B customers with a shopping experience that is as convenient as possible: On the one hand, the individual purchase conditions in the ERP system are displayed to the customer in real time and, on the other hand, he/she can specify a target price. If this price is reached, he/she will receive a price alert. If a product is out of stock, the visitor will still be kept up-to-date thanks to a live availability message and availability alert. The new search function also significantly helps to make the shopping experience easier: Apart from a full-text search feature that uses Elasticsearch, the online shop now also has a model search feature with filters developed on the basis of the compatibility data. Once customers have found the product they’re looking for, they can place it directly into the shopping cart or add it to their wish list straight from the list of search results, with an optional comment. In his/her order history, the customer has a transparent overview of all his/her orders, including tracking details, an overview of all invoices, open invoices and any pending orders, including offline purchases. In order to simplify user administration, it is possible to allocate several users, who are collectively able to access all orders, shopping carts and wish lists, to one company customer. If the customer has any queries, he/she is shown the details, including e-mail address and call-back function, of his/her personal contact.
Special features for resellers
The new online shop has a few useful features especially for dealers. Resellers can, for example, fill different shopping carts at the same time and start as many wish lists as they want. They can also use and store their own article numbers. With the help of a configurator, they are able to define price lists and stock lists at a manufacturer and category level, select required product information and individually specify the frequency and type of dispatch. Last but not least, dealers can request information about prices and stock levels in real time via a web service.
“Thanks to atlantis media, we now have a technically mature B2B shop, which offers scalability for the further development of our e-business”, Epp explains. “Apart from the extended interfaces, the wide range of new and useful features for the business customers also helps make the shop easier to use. The customers are now able to use many of the service functions independently 24 hours a day.” imcopex itself benefits from this, too: The support and sales staff can attend to other value-adding activities instead. With increased turnover in day-to-day business and new international customers, imcopex has achieved the result it was aiming for with the relaunch.