How the new webshop of Vink VTS became an award winning project
What are the secret ingredients of building a successful webshop for a large European B2B company with a decentralized business-structure, selling large products that often need to come in custom sizes? In 2016, the global plastics seller Vink VTS and digital agency Youwe embarked on a journey together to solve this digital conundrum, implementing the Magento 2 open source solution and the Magento-AX connector, alongside with a range of custom-built modules. In 2018, both companies stood on the main stage of the Magento Imagine Conference in Las Vegas, receiving the Imagine Award for Best B2B Implementation.
Digitalization of a classic B2B company
In 2016, Vink Holding and subsidiary Vink VTS jointly decided to step away from their tailor-made e-commerce solution and to re-design their online environment building on a Magento platform. This step meant an enormous move into the direction of digitalization for the entire company. It would also enable Vink to use e-commerce as a fully enabled sales channel. “This organization has always been selling in a very traditional way, which means that we got the customer on the phone and basically helped the customer through the phone. Digitalization is something that we can’t avoid. I mean everything around us is moving in that direction. Our products are not really easy to sell online, because of the nature of it,” says Frank Klabbers, CIO of Vink.
An extra challenge was the decentralized nature of the company, consisting of 100 independent businesses throughout 6 European countries. Except for a central Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP solution, all decisions are made on a local level, optimally catering to the respective audiences. As local teams can make their own decision about e-commerce activities, the new central Magento Structure was designed to be adapted by local partners if needed. However, due to its smooth functioning and success, that did not happen to date.
Catalog, price list and knowledge hub
The new Magento platform went live in 2017 after a development period of eight months. The new website had to serve at the same time as a catalog, a price list, and a knowledge hub. For Vink VTS, the first company within Vink that directly moved to Magento 2, this meant immediate improvements of conversion, a 75% decrease in call-center workloads and many happy customers. Arthur van Koetsveld, Vink’s European E-Commerce Manager, is satisfied: “The connector between Magento and our ERP Microsoft Dynamics offers us the opportunity to show some specific prices, real-time stock and our online catalog to our customers.” The platform also offers relevant information such as an overview of all deliveries, orders, and invoices, even if those are not placed online.
On top of that, Youwe developed a custom tool for customers who need their material delivered in specific sizes. Van Koetsveld: “Our cut-to-size calculator offers our customers the opportunity to fill in their wishes, their length, and width per sheet, and gives them the optimal result in cutting fees.” In addition, the calculator reduces product loss for Vink by matching available stock with online requests in real time.
Building on success
The successful webshop of Vink VTS won the award for Best B2B Implementation 2018 at Magento’s Imagine conference in Vegas in May, and both Youwe and Vink were very proud. “We are so proud that we won this award! We just started with our road to e-commerce so for us it’s all pretty new. We chose for the Magento platform and then within these two years’ time we actually were able to do such great things that we were actually nominated for this award so it’s very exciting for our organization and basically also the strategy forward for e-commerce. It is an enormous boost that we won this award,” says Frank Klabbers. But also internally, the pioneering work of Vink VTS paid off: In June 2018, another branch of the company went live with their Magento based webshop: Vinkkunststoffen.nl.
The platform is easily scalable, which enables Vink to easily roll out other branches and countries. In the near future, Vink plans to launch webshops for several more countries based on the Magento solution.