Nadine Hutter
Magazine

Froneri’s way from B2B to B2B2C

To respond to the changing needs of its customers, the Swiss joint venture between Nestlé and the British ice-cream manufacturer R&R Ice Cream has modernised and optimised its digital strategy regarding the distribution of its ice-cream, frozen food and chilled dairy products.

An interview with Nadine Hutter, Digital and E-Commerce Manager at Froneri Switzerland S.A.

Performance & Usability first 

How was your company positioned online?

Nadine Hutter: We have been on the market with our B2B web shop since 2014. This was our first step in the world of e-commerce. With our former Generation Webshop 1.0, over 2.5 years we gained a lot of experience and focused strongly on the market and customer needs. We did this because only one thing matters for us: the satisfaction of our customers. The need for e-commerce in the B2B environment was underestimated for a long time and companies paid little attention to it. Aside from this, at the beginning greater emphasis was placed on rational aspects rather than emotional ones. In recent years, this has changed noticeably.

When we decided to go online, we expanded our business operations from three to four sales channels, which has made our activities increasingly complex. This is why today it is all the more important for Froneri to move forward with its specific cross-channel strategy and adapt flexibly to changing market needs.

What special requirements have you identified for the new web shop?

Performance and usability. In today’s business world, time is a factor that is always scarce. In the hectic everyday life of our customers, a user-friendly and high-performance web shop is the key to success. We are basing on user behaviour we know from our B2C handling of our web shops and in everything we do we rely on standards rather than customisation. So far, this strategy has proved itself and promises the success we desire.

In our first step towards Webshop 2.0, we deliberately decided to completely abandon new functionalities. We focused on creating an ordering process that would be as user-friendly and high-performance as possible. We based our efforts on the catalogue of customer requirements and I think we did a good job. This was also possible thanks to our partners: we received external support for the implementation of our new online shop. Unic supported us in the phase of conception and implementation as well as during hosting and operation of the web shop.

Unic supported us in the phase of conception and implementation as well as during hosting and operation of the web shop.

Growth in revenue & user numbers after launch

What positive effects have you noticed immediately after the launch of the shop?

I am happy to say that since the froneri-shop.ch went live on 14 August 2017 the response has been consistently positive. The feedback we received from various customers confirms that the relaunch was the right move. Our web shop sales have been growing by 20 percent month after month and we have also noticed a major increase in the number of users. We could have hardly imagined this better.

The improvement in the company’s self-awareness should also not be underestimated. The launch has had a very positive effect on the image of the online shop as a new sales channel in the market and on the implementation of the cross-channel strategy as a whole.

What has been the share of online sales in your company’s turnover so far and how big should this share be?

After 3.5 years, our online sales account for approx. 3.5 percent of the company’s turnover. Aside from the turnover, the quality-related aspects of the web shop should also be mentioned. We have recorded a clearly positive development in the number of customers we categorise as channel-hopping customers. These are customers who, as soon as they are notified online about our product range, discover new categories and goods they have never bought before. Even if they continue to place their orders via the traditional ordering channels, we still see a positive development in sales figures and in the variety of products these customers buy from us.

From a holistic point of view, our goal is not only to push through a shift in turnover figures from traditional to online sales channels, but also to maximise the company’s overall financial performance. But if we were to translate our desired online sales share into figures, then our 3-year target would be to boost online sales from 3 percent to 20 percent.

Using synergies with “One face to the customer”

What next steps in the digital transformation are planned?

Our digital strategy is based on the slogan “One Face to the Customer”, which means that we intend to combine the B2B and B2C business, use synergies and create transparency. We analyse the entire B2B2C value chain; from the “retailer” to the end consumer and his needs. It means that our image will be uniform at all touchpoints of the shopper journey.

Further in the project, we will focus on ensuring that the interaction in our cross-channel business model works even better and that we continue to improve the interaction between the sales teams by way of targeted digitisation of processes. In 2018, we will implement the “One Face to the Customer” approach through fully integrated systems for both our customers and consumers. We will also encourage our employees to think digitally and anchor new technologies and processes. The development of digital services in the field of customer care is another issue of increasing interest to us. We will not be bored! 

New B2B shop for Froneri

Unic developed a new webshop for Froneri based on Magento technology. The result is a comprehensive product in a responsive design, in which users can access their products and the information individually tailored to them with just a few clicks.