„We wanted not just a simple web shop. It should allow all our members to share a common catalog, product assortment, and all relevant IT processes.” – states Michele Aloise, CEO at Elex Italia.
Elex Italia is a consortium that consists of 11 companies distributed in 330 locations across Italy. Established in 2001, Elex Italia currently represents one of the most important purchasing groups in the electrical equipment sector in Italy. The combined turnover of its members exceeded 1,5 billion euros in 2019 and their combined market has been following a constant growth over the past years and currently sits at around 27%.
Their main goal is to distribute electric material, but not only this. The core idea behind the foundation of the consortium is a tight integration between the associates, to increase sales and create one of the most important and influential purchase groups in Italy by continuously improving the competitiveness of its members with different marketing and commercial activities promoted and coordinated by the group.
Determined to provide simple and innovative solution built around the real customer needs, Elex trusted Intershop’s partner SMC Consulting with the implementation of Blossom Commerce, a B2C e-commerce solution that proves to be very scalable and highly performant, and is based on the Intershop platform.
SMC Consulting is a Digital Company that implements and promotes Digital Transformation, with focus on e-commerce, marketing automation and User Experience Design.
What Elex wanted to achieve was not just a simple web shop, but a solution allowing all member associates to share a common catalog, product assortment, and all relevant IT processes. Therefore, it was a project not only aimed at Elex itself, but rather at its members, allowing each associate to open its own e-commerce channel very easily, using an infrastructure already tailored for the specific market.
“We love our solution. It offers an extensive range of backoffice functionalities and a comprehensive management of a centralized catalog. And we have a team of experts in all fields of digital commerce, allowing us to take advantage of all possibilities offered by a true Digital Transformation”, Paolo Rabinelli, CTO states.
In order to achieve customer satisfaction, SMC Consulting started with a deep analysis of the existing processes of management of sales, in order to create an implementation that would not impact on the daily activities of the associates, but made them more efficient instead.
Three aspects where particularly interesting:
- The high number of products
- A very high turnover of product names
- The possibility to share e-commerce processes with other associates
As of today, Elex Italia has 100.000 products in catalog, - all of which undergo regular updates. To ensure the best customer service, an inventory check runs several times per day upon different backend systems to update the stock information in the front end. In order to ensure that this process could run smoothly, SMC Consulting designed a cloud infrastructure that could handle this data volume without problems.
The Elex marketing department needs to change product names often. While this may seem odd to some readers, this simple activity has a significant impact on the SEO of the product pages and their URLs. SMC Consulting created a solution that automatically manages the redirect of the product pages, minimizing manual work and by this improves the customers’ SEO strategy.
Elex wanted to create a shared and centralized catalog and order management, for an intuitive and easy management by each associate. “We wanted to give our associates the possibility to launch their own e-commerce channels with a click”, Bas Vernooijs, Digital Growth Lead reflects. “The Blossom commerce solution based on Intershop proved to be very efficient.”
After the initial phase, some associates wanted to have more autonomy and the possibility to handle their own local range of products, and be less dependent on the consortium regarding their product data. “This was no problem for the platform, for its modular architecture allows to manage different catalogs at once. Now both approaches are available for our associates, each serving their individual sales strategy.”
The project continues today, helping all associates to easily get to the same level of innovation and to be integrated in a coherent digital strategy of the consortium. An important step, thanks to Elex ‘s vision – and turned to reality by the right technology and skilled people.