Swiss electrical specialist Winterhalter + Fenner sheds the rigidity of its previous commerce system and waves goodbye to article searches with the feel of rifling through an industry catalog. With Spryker Commerce OS, Winterhalter + Fenner was able to rapidly develop an MVP and later an entire B2B platform for 5 stores. This solution now sets a new standards in the industry with its customer-centric navigation concept.
Winterhalter + Fenner by the numbers
Introducing Winterhalter + Fenner
Winterhalter + Fenner AG is one of the leading electrical wholesalers in Switzerland. Over 450 employees provide excellent service at their 14 locations. With its subsidiaries, Dysbox SA, ElectroLAN SA, Electroplast SA and Fabbri SA, Winterhalter + Fenner forms Sonepar Suisse. Sonepar Suisse is part of the French Sonepar Group, which is active in over 48 countries and employs about 48,000 people. More than 220,000 items are on offer by this electrical specialist. The wide range includes electrotechnical components, installation materials, products for data networks and photovoltaic systems from leading national and international suppliers.
A promise of quality in e-commerce
Winterhalter + Fenner is committed to winning the trust of its customers with a promise of quality and innovative strength. This electrical specialist therefore also pursues the highest technical standards in e-commerce. Unfortunately the previous commerce system of the company was quite old and inflexible, unable to adapt to the changes of the dynamic industry. A replatforming project was therefore important for creating a new, sustainable and innovative technological foundation that would enable Winterhalter + Fenner to adapt to the individual needs of its customers at any time.
Rethinking navigation in a customer-centric way
Winterhalter + Fenner aims to be perceived as more than just a standard store. The user interface of the company´s previous system and particularly the navigation structure was unable to complement these goals. The challenge was to present the enormous product portfolio of 220,000 products in a user-friendly way as well as to rethink the navigation. Products needed to be catalogued in the way that customers search for them, not as the industry catalog dictates that people should search for products.
In addition to the customer focus, the quality of the technical implementation was also of utmost importance to Winterhalter + Fenner. A future-oriented and easy-to-maintain system was to be created that can be easily adapted and optimized according to Winterhalter + Fenner’s ideas.
From MVP to large B2B platform
Winterhalter + Fenner used Spryker to create a commerce platform that manages five stores from a single instance. Along the way, the electrical specialist relied on the MVP approach. To allow for an early go-live date, a web store was first built as an MVP and then tested and further developed. This initially resulted in a beta platform before the entire B2B platform went live in May 2020.
In addition to the five interfaces, this platform also integrated the entire Winterhalter + Fenner website and incorporated a new CMS for this purpose. A dedicated app is also connected via the Spryker LINK middleware. And customers benefit from an optimized search function, an intuitive assortment structure and numerous B2B features such as role-based workflows, customer-specific pricing and multi-carts.
Thanks to this successful collaboration, our first-class platform is getting a new look. By focusing on optimal user guidance, the usual outstanding range of functions can now be used even more efficiently and offers our customers individual administration options and tools for self-management.
Navigation concept as USP
A highlight of the new B2B platform, with which Winterhalter + Fenner strongly differentiates itself from the competition, is the new navigation concept. Operation was designed according to a one-click philosophy and is thus very efficient and streamlined. In addition, the search is always supported in a customer-friendly way by intelligent search, filter and configuration functions.
- Configuration tool: Customers can configure individual electrical switches and sockets as they wish. Simply select the preferred manufacturer and then put together the desired combination themselves using drag & drop.
- Lamp finder: Guides customers quickly to the right illuminant. Filters such as bases and shapes are displayed as images in an easy-to-understand manner, and with each selection made, the combinations that are still possible are automatically calculated and displayed.
New standards and new possibilities
Winterhalter + Fenner has been on a growth path for years and already generates up to 80 percent of its sales online. The new platform ,as the heart of the e-commerce strategy, is extremely fast and efficient and sets new standards for a customer-centric UX with its navigation concept. The fact that customers also see it this way became clear as the new solution initially went live in parallel operation and more and more customers switched to the new platform.
Most importantly, Winterhalter + Fenner’s digital development is far from over. The optimized and partially automated maintenance process and the modular architecture now give the electrical pioneer the flexibility to further develop the platform precisely and quickly according to their ideas.
By using future-oriented technologies, we have laid the foundation for a sustainable and progressive solution and can adapt it individually to the needs of our customers at any time.
Valantic as a key implementation partner
The collaboration between Winterhalter + Fenner and Valantic was key to enabling replatforming on Spryker and laid the foundation for follow-up projects. Valantic, the agency implementing Spryker, supported Winterhalter + Fenner in the development of strategy, technical realization and implementation, and in the ongoing development of the B2B platform. The design and UX expertise of Valantic was particularly helpful in the area of the upgraded and highly intuitive navigation, which stands out today as the unique selling point of the platform.