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From offline to online sales in 3 phases

What if you are in the not-so-sexy field of professional hygiene products? And you don’t have a digital channel? But do you want your customers to shift online? Be innovative, be brave and succeed. Learn from Groupe PAREDES.

This article has been written based on a live presentation. Visit “All eyes on B2B” to enjoy the recording and other inspirational videos.

No pure player around? Grab your chance and expand!

In PAREDES’ field, there are hardly any digital pure players. This gave room to expand on digital. Their digital transformation journey started in 2018. They formulated two clear goals:

  1. Increased customer satisfaction

  2. Being a severe online player

The transition took them three years, which were spent well. Since 2021, PAREDES has had a fully functioning website and customer portal. The results are impressive: From no digital channel at all, they transferred 20% of their business to digital. The margin on digital carts went up by 12%. Customer satisfaction increased as well. The goals are met, to say the least.

So, what is PAREDES’ secret? Read further for the three steps on the path to digital success.


Step 1: Define prerequisites before the implementation phase

It starts with formulating the prerequisites – before implementing an e-commerce system. Digital transformation requires data. Check whether the data are sound and performing well in customer satisfaction. Data are often siloed; this can be a challenge. For PAREDES, it meant deep cleaning (pun intended) their customer database (70% of the database was thrown away) and restructuring it for two years. This reduced the invoice claims invoice by 25%. Also, the customer contact base completeness went from 15% to 99%.

Second, PAREDES looked at pricing. They discovered that one-third of their pricing was not in the ERP: It was in data mines or in Excel sheets. This did not contribute to customer satisfaction. PAREDES rebuilt its pricing model: It became structured and part of the ERP. This helped them reduce the price claims by two. The order management time was reduced by 10%.

Third, they attacked the product database. Like in many companies, lots of information was in pdf format – and therefore not exportable. PAREDES structured the data. They went from 80% of unstructured data to 20%. This helped to reduce the product enrichment time by 25%.


Step 2: Work on a precise & targeted customer roadmap

So, after the initial phase (step 1 as described above), you must work on a precise & targeted customer roadmap. Decide for which kind of customer you want to be a digital player and what the ROI could be. For PAREDES, it meant rebuilding their segments and defining an MVP in terms of features. So before selecting an e-commerce platform, they knew exactly what they wanted and who their customer would be. This will be effective when you look at deployment time because the targets are known, and you know exactly how to address them.


Step 3: Change management from another perspective

How will your salesforce react when you are in the middle of digital transformation? Simply put, do not limit change management to sales and customer service only. PAREDES decided to open an employee shop before deploying the website to its customers. Now, the employees could use it, learn how it worked, and cast a critical eye on the categories. Also, PAREDES introduced the digital channel as a minor technical change. PAREDES presented the shop as just a layer of the display. By letting all employees use the website, it could be used as a sales tool as well.


PAREDES’ 8 tips for a successful journey to implementing an e-commerce platform

  1. Make sure your salesforce knows everything about your customers’ needs and requirements.

  2. Are there hardly any digital pure players in your industry? Grab your chance and invest in digitalization now.

  3. Make a list of prerequisites before the implementation phase. Next, check your data: are they okay? Analyze them well and use them well.

  4. Cast a critical eye on pricing.

  5. Structure your product database and reduce product enrichment time.

  6. Work on a precise and targeted roadmap: Where are you heading, and for whom are you doing it?

  7. Implementing change does not have to be scary for your employees. Involve them in the process.

  8. Stay close to your e-commerce platform supplier and implementation partner. Strong commitment on both sides is necessary. Share a vision of the global roadmap with all team members from the beginning. And: Keep your head up and stay positive. PAREDES’ website went live during COVID lockdown. Anything is possible when you work closely together!

Would you like to see the expert’s video presentation or read about other e-commerce topics? Then benefit from our content collection “All eyes on B2B”!


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PAREDES is an 80-year-old family-owned, independent unlisted company. With more than 650 employees, they are a distributor and producer of professional hygiene products. PAREDES has innovation in its DNA. First, by inventing B2B services in the 80s and inventing products, like auto cut and end whipping systems. PAREDES distributes products for hand hygiene, body care & incontinence, wipes & absorbents, lavatory hygiene, floor & surfaces hygiene, laundry hygiene, protection equipment, waste & order treatment, and kitchen & restaurant hygiene. Their customers are, e.g., hospitals, agronomic and pharmaceutical industries with specialized high-standard hygiene needs. This asks for a salesforce with knowledge of the needs and requirements in these industries.