Ahlsell is a leading wholesaler in the Nordic countries for products in the installation, plumbing, tools and machinery business. It is a pure B2B business with sales of roughly SEK 23 billion and 4800 employees. They are active in all Nordic countries and the Baltic States.
Ahlsell was looking to take the next step in the development of their digital offering. A work that was not just about technology but also about updating processes and work methods. The company's previous e-commerce was implemented in 2007 and worked as a web version of the ERP.
Ahlsell realized it was a good time to change e-commerce platform in order achieve their goals.
Ahlsell is the market leader in its industry and aims to be leader in e-commerce as well. The company wants to set the bar for e-commerce in the industry and created a plan for how they would achieve it.
For a long time, Ahlsell has had as a goal to stop publishing their physical catalog (printed in a larger edition than the IKEA catalog in Sweden). Therefore it was important to create a modern interface that could truly replace it.
Ahlsell’s e-commerce should be responsive and adaptive to all well-used interfaces such as mobile, desktop and tablet. One of the main demands was that it should be easy to manage product information. Therefore it was important that CMS and e-commerce were well integrated with each other.
It was not only a technical project, the whole company was facing a digital transformation. E-commerce should also be a great tool for salespeople in the field, customer service and other functions in the company.
In order to realize what is called omni-channel and seamless trading, the company agreed to acquire a platform that could both display content and products. It was difficult for Ahlsell to further develop the existing platform that had been implemented in 2007.
In the end the choice fell on Episerver several reasons. Especially used Ahlsell already Episerver CMS and did therefore not have to start completely from the beginning of the implementation process.
After choosing the platform, the company chose a consultant agency to carry out the mission. Avensia proved to be a good match.
"Avensia gave a good starting estimate. We were very humble and responsive. It was a complex project and Ahlsell needed an agency with deep knowledge and good skillset. They showed us a good model for how we would solve the problem", says Mårten Forssell, Head of eBusiness at Ahlsell.
Ahsell knew Avensia created solutions for Procurator and Kjell & Company, which was some of the e-commerce sites that Ahlsell looked up to.
Ahlsell is now the largest B2B e-commerce solution built on Episerver’s platform. The site manages 550 000 articles and 30,000 categories. There are several hundreds of different use cases to consider, where everyone has their own needs and requirements for how they want to shop. You can place orders via the buy button, upload Excel sheets and also via the punch out option. Everything can be tailored to the customer through order forms.
"The site is the primary part in a major digitalization project which includes all our operations, explains Mårten Forssell. We have a goal to be the best, not only at supply but also at availability and customer experience. Our new site serves as an incredibly talented digital salesman. It has an eye on every part of our range and can recommend the right products according to what suits each customer's specific needs "
So far this year, Ahlsell has grown 22% circulation on the Swedish web shop, 93% in Finland and 24% in Norway.
Mobile users have increased from 13% to 20%.
Total value per order rose by 3%.
10% are internal users. The site is heavily used by sellers which indicates that the digitalization plan has succeeded.