eCommerce worth €750 million gets an upgrade

We’ve helped Solar, one of Europe’s leading sourcing and services companies, rethink their business-critical digital platforms. The redesigned eCommerce platform boasts double-digit conversion rates.

Solar makes customer experience a priority

With a revenue of more than 11 billion DKK (1,47 billion €), Solar is major player in the sourcing- and service industry – especially within electricity, heating, ventilation and sanitation. In 2017, more than half of the company’s revenue was generated through eBusiness channels. This makes Solar one of the largest eCommerce companies in Northern Europe.

Fair to say that we were somewhat awestruck back in 2016 when we initiated the process of renewing and redesigning their digital client solutions. Fortunately, Solar considers digital platforms a fundamental part of their business strategy, on par with procurement and developing the right service portfolio for their clients.

As a sourcing company it has always been necessary to understand market trends and adapt to customers’ needs. Globalization and digitalization mean that mastering this has become even more vital. Solar’s new digital platforms play a key role in the ongoing efforts to continuously stand out as the company with the best and most relevant solutions for their clients.

Research: from big data to building sites

When an eCommerce platform has an average, daily revenue of close to 2 million €, you want to take extra precautions before cleaning up the menu, adding new features, and moving around the buy button. That’s why we conducted a thorough research phase prior to the redesign.

We held more than 20 internal work shops across Solar’s primary markets - Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands. The purpose was not only to understand the business but also to uncover similarities and differences in the customer needs across markets. We visited 32 construction sites, site huts, and vans to interview craftsmen and observe how they used the existing web shop. Last but not least, we data mined more than 15 GB of ERP data and more than 100 GB of web data, identifying patterns in usage and purchasing behavior.

Research is however one thing, reality another. To make sure that customers understood the new solution, we made a strategic launch plan in which we performed ongoing beta tests on selected target groups and clients. This enabled us to make sure that all potential mistakes were eliminated, and that the overall design was tweaked and improve before the big release.

Digital transformation on multiple levels

Solar is in the midst of a transformation from a product- and process-oriented organization to a company which must thrive on service, knowledge, and innovation. This significant strategic change is manifested in the company’s strong efforts to improve their digital interface towards their customers.

For several years, Creuna has been supporting Solar’s evolution. We’ve helped define the digital strategy as well as conceptualize and prioritize their efforts. We’ve designed the new corporate website and developed services to simplify workstreams for their clients. Last but not least, we have played a key role in the overhaul of Solar’s billion-euro eCommerce solution – the very backbone of their business.

We’ve introduced a complete redesign, simplifying the entire customer journey from logon and product search to filtering and purchase. Needless to say, we have taken on a mobile first approach, as the platform caters predominantly for contractors and craftsmen on the go. The solution is multilingual and includes intelligent customer segmentation.

Finally, the web shop is not only integrated with the public website and Solar’s mobile application, but also with a wide range of Solar’s customer-facing services such as the much recognized FastBox concept, which ensures rapid delivery directly to the construction sites.

Award-winning solution with significant results

The new web shop is currently being rolled out to Solar’s many customers and has up until now shown remarkable results with double-digit conversion rates and a more than 50 % decrease in the average session duration. This result can largely be contributed to Solar’s strong focus on creating an intuitive and accessible solution based on their clients’ true needs and behavior.

The solution has been built on Episerver in close corporation with Solar’s internal IT department and the technical subconctractor Netcompany. Together, we won Episerver’s ‘Commerce Site of the Year 2018’ award, which praised the solution for providing customers with an intuitive and seamless experience.