Digital transformation in B2BBest practice: INDI

Digital transformation in B2B

While many B2B organizations struggle in order to digitally transform their organization, Kramp Groep BV decided to establish a new company for the industrial market. Under the name of INDI it serves the market of technical parts with a professional commerce platform, delivered by Intershop specialized in B2B commerce.

The industrial market was served by Kramp only in the Netherlands, however, it matched the European agrarian focus of the company less and less. Sybrand Brouwer, director of INDI: “Therefore, we have decided to separate that part which INDI has emerged from. We have opted for another business model which is progressive, especially when it is about our choice to be a pure e-commerce player.”

Progressive

According to Brouwer, most of the players on the market are traditional technical wholesale businesses: “They have another history, another business model and often also different dynamics. This often calls for compromises of a digital strategy. We had the luxury to abandon the whole history and to restart. This also gives us the chance of establishing a new organization on a very lean and mean basis and of creating a commerce platform which is flexible, quick and scalable. I think that we are currently the only company in our industry which is so progressive.”

Learnings

As expected, Brouwer found himself confronted with new challenges in the B2B-focused online marketing: “In practice it can be seen that there is still a large gap between knowledge and experience with regard to B2C.” Roelof Swiers, Country Manager Benelux at Intershop Communications, adds: “But particularly in B2B so much can be realized by means of the clever use of e-commerce and online marketing. A client often places several orders per week with a company, often has long-term appointments and a large need for service, but is also more at a distance.  Thus, it is logical to conduct business electronically.”

The digital transformation has also produced a lot of new insights. Brouwer: “Not really the fact of listening more to clients, but especially the better interim check has been an eye-opener. Checking whether wishes expressed by the clients are really meant like that and verifying this with facts and measurements. We have worked with client panels and gradually found out that things which were said were often meant differently. Therefore, the analysis of client data is that important.”

Process

INDI has put a lot of time into the preparation. Brouwer: “At first, we have searched for systems which met our requirements. We have searched for an experienced partner for this and Intershop turned out to be the best choice. Intershop offers standard solutions for the B2C and B2B with a lot of functionalities which we need. Their order management system is a major advantage. It completes our commerce solution, without having to use the established ERP systems. Intershop offers us the best solution for our international growth ambitions.”

The starting point was a well operating webshop. Brouwer: “The corresponding bar was already high and the clients were used to it. We would like to set our standard as high as possible. We preferred to have everything in the cloud and it had to be scalable, quick and flexible. Furthermore, it had to meet functionalities which apply both to B2B and to B2C so that we can serve both markets via the same platform. Furthermore, we would like to easily spread internationally from this platform in the future. User experience was an important requirement from the webshop and functionality. Therefore, the platform which the customer has to deal with was our central choice. From this starting point we have searched for other systems. Apart from the Intershop commerce solution and the Intershop order management system, we also use Exact online and PAYT offers us a cloud solution for effective debtor control. The Intershop business partner Salmon has played an important role for the implementation.”

Advantages

According to Brouwer it is clear that this platform shows profit: “The choice of a platform without a hard ERP system enables clients to directly sign up and order. Another advantage is that both the client and all of our employees work in the same system. Our NPS score is above average. INDI has grown during the past 15 months. The question ‘Does the client find what he is looking for?’ will always take center stage for us. This will remain the challenge with our approximately 500,000 products.”

Swiers adds: “This industry is traditional. Being able to place orders online is already a progress. The big difference with regard to B2C is that the reliability and stability of systems in B2B is essential. If a link does not work, this has direct consequences for the whole supply chain. You can do harm to the relation with your customer only one single time. Digital transformation works best, if the management has the vision and drive to take this path and dares to take steps. Opening an online sales channel is different from telephone sales and is nothing you do ‘additionally’. It is very helpful for a company in the field of efficiency and customer satisfaction, but it also needs attention in order to be able to grow. If the turnover continues to grow, we will have to invest more widely in order to remain progressive, to meet the customers’ needs and to be one step ahead of the competitors.”

Gerrit Enthoven

Director Sales EMEA West

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