One of the fastest growing e-commerce companies in Sweden, Bygghemma.se provides Swedish home improvement brand to the do-it-yourself home builder market. In 2009, Bygghemma.se outgrew the capabilities of its e-commerce platform and needed to re-architect for future growth. The company worked with Microsoft partner Avensia, a specialist in e-commerce solutions, to build a new site on the Microsoft® Commerce Server 2009 platform and MVC.NET framework. The new Bygghemma.se e-commerce site has increased sales, improved customer experience, reduced unnecessary administration time and allowed the company to expand into new markets. Situation
Bygghemma.se—which means “Build (at) Home”—has witnessed nearly double annual growth since its inception in 2006. One of Sweden’s fastest growing e-commerce companies, Bygghemma.se provides online and over-the-phone shopping. It offers do-it-yourself (DIY) home builders with the tools and materials needed for their construction efforts.
In 2008, traffic loads resulting from growing market interest in DIY home improvements and the success of the company’s first TV commercial proved too much for the young company’s e-commerce platform to handle. A victim of its own success, Bygghemma.se found itself unable to expand its business as staff wasted an inordinate amount of manual tasks and administration. “The Web site had a lot of issues and we had a lot of angry customers,” said Johan Uddh, Chief Technology Officer, Bygghemma.se.
“The site also wasn’t performing the way we needed it to. Customers would just leave after accessing pages that didn’t work.”
Worst of all, Bygghemma.se faced rising customer dissatisfaction due to shipment lag times and product mismatches. Customers occasionally found themselves with products that did not function properly together – a door and frame with different sizes, for example.
A lack of smooth integration between front-end and back-end systems further complicated matters, forcing countless hours to be spent simply receiving and inputting the company’s growing orders. Trapped within the confines of an inflexible e-commerce platform, the company was unable to grow its inventory beyond 10,000 products. These challenges served to hamper the CEO’s vision for international growth. Solution
Bygghemma.se attempted to work with its technology partner to modify the e-commerce platform. When it became clear the software could never meet all its current and future needs, the company looked elsewhere.
- Beyond handling current and future Web traffic levels, the new solution needed to:
- Support improvements in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Improve user interface and search functions
- Offer multilingual and multicurrency support
- Support complex product sets, and correctly link associated products
- Automate and improve administration
- Support a large and growing inventory count and allow for easy pricing and product information changes
- Automate the workflow between Bygghemma.se customers and its suppliers responsible for delivering the products
Uddh turned to Microsoft® partner Avensia for a turn-key overhaul of the company’s e-commerce site and business back-end. Specialists in e-commerce, the partner implemented its Avensia Commerce Server solution, based entirely on Microsoft Commerce Server 2009 and the Microsoft .NET Framework. The Avensia Commerce Server solution has a web layer coded in MVC.NET, and integrated content management system, and a search and prediction engine that optimizes the customer experience.
|Because Microsoft Commerce Server 2009 is so flexible, it just does everything I want it to. I never run into a change or challenge now that is not possible to meet with ease.|
|Johan Uddh, CTO and IT Manager, Bygghemma.se|
In addition, the back-end administration systems were transitioned to Microsoft Dynamics AX™ 2008 to allow for near-seamless integration with product and transaction information, and Microsoft BizTalk® Server 2009 was implemented to make it easier to exchange data with suppliers.
Time to market was crucial, since Bygghemma.se could not afford downtime or incurring further lost time dealing with its business pains. Both the Commerce Server 2009 and backend business systems were deployed in just three months from order to launch. Benefits
Microsoft Commerce Server 2009 has not only helped solve the problems facing Bygghemma.se, it has opened the door for future applications and opportunitiesStaff who once spent entire days bogged down with the processing of orders, can now spend that time reaching out to customers and fostering goodwill by helping them improve their projects. The company has plans to expand into Denmark, Norway and Finland thanks to the enhanced support for multiple languages, currency and channels in Commerce Server 2009.
Plans are also in the works to create new delivery channels, including smart phones and social networks. Based on these improvements, the company expects July 2010 sales to hit US$4 million, an improvement of at least 80 to 90 per cent over performance in the same month last year.
“Each time we embark on a new e-commerce strategy, we know we can handle making those changes in-house in one or two days,” said Uddh. “Because Microsoft Commerce Server 2009 is so flexible, it just does everything we want it to. We never run into a change or challenge now that is not possible to meet with ease.” Increased sales, reduced administration
Improvements to the navigation of the site plus additions of video and how-to advice, made possible through use of Commerce Server 2009 and the Microsoft .NET Framework, helped to quickly boost sales. After only a month, sales increased by 25 per cent, while organic traffic to the site increased by over 50 per cent. Traffic improvement found through search engine optimization has freed up Web-based advertising funds to be allocated to other marketing opportunities.
Because of the integration between servers, staff who once spent an hour handling as few as 20 orders, can now handle more than 150 orders per hour. Most spend their time double checking to confirm that customers’ complex orders are shipped correctly and their products will work together.
The ease of navigation and more attractive product presentation has led to a reduction in most costly phone-based sales. Now, 90 per cent of Bygghemma.se transactions take place over the Web, further reducing transaction time. All this has reduced the time spent on administration by 70 per cent and on service and support by 60 per cent.
Besides freeing up staff resources, customers now receive their goods at least one day sooner. The system has also eliminated countless e-mails back and forth to suppliers. Orders are now sent to suppliers to fulfill using BizTalk Server, further speeding delivery to the customer’s door.Error-free product orders
Each time a DIY home builder buys a product, there is an opportunity for Bygghemma.se to sell tools and accessories related to that specific piece of home hardware. Microsoft Commerce Server 2009 has helped best match its products and meet the needs of its customers.
Each category is now able to be presented in a manner best-suited for that particular product category. Support and help is available both from other customers via online forums, via Bygghemma.se representatives, or by video. An “Add To” tab instantly provides customers with other affiliated products appropriate for use with one they are purchasing. This ability to up-sell is a source of revenue, but also a method for improving customer service and strengthening the relationship, Uddh says.
“That was one of the things we couldn’t do before and it didn’t make sense. If you go onto our site and you want to buy a window, why couldn’t it tell the customer the accessories that fit that window perfectly. Since we’ve released the new Web site, it has that support and we have had no orders where customers have mismatched products.” Split second changes in products and price
Microsoft Commerce Server 2009 has also enabled Bygghemma.se to more quickly respond to changes in supplier pricing. When one of its largest suppliers changed its pricing in 2008, it took the company approximately 108 hours to make these simple updates.
With so much time spent on every little change, the company had to whether it could afford to make pricing changes, or when it made more sense to assume the costs of leaving a price the same.
“Now to do the same thing, it takes about fifteen seconds to upload the changes,” Uddh says. “In total it takes maybe an hour to input what used to take over 100 hours.” Multiple channels for growth
This year will see Bygghemma.se not only expand outside its borders into neighbor countries, but also potentially onto various mobile device platforms and, quite possibly, onto the Facebook social network.
The company hopes to deploy an application on the social networking site this year that will allow Bygghemma.se customers to share and discuss their purchases and projects with friends, and create a reward program that treats them like affiliated sellers. The plan will take word-of-mouth marketing to a new level as customer enthusiasm for their new kitchens or bathrooms could help drive even more traffic to the newly improved site.
If all goes as planned an expansion into Germany and southern European countries is in the works for 20112012. An English site is also in development -- all part of the company’s plan to be the global leader in supplying home improvement products online.
“All these exciting improvements have only been made possible because of the openness and flexibility of Microsoft Commerce Server,” Uddh says.