Digital touchpoints are becoming increasingly important for high customer satisfaction. Continuous improvements are indispensable in this regard. This is especially true for complex purchasing processes in B2B e-commerce. No sooner said than done – our customer, Hoval Aktiengesellschaft, is setting new standards with user-friendly ordering processes, thus supporting the shift from traditional to digital channels.
E-commerce as an Additional Channel
Since 2018, Hoval has had a powerful e-commerce solution based on SAP Commerce. The platform offers core products from the area of „heating, cooling, ventilation“ as well as accessories and spare parts which can be ordered or requested online. These online services complement the existing channels, which include in particular orders via the cost-intensive field service and classic paper catalogues.
Simplifying Complex Processes
Despite extensive digital offers and far-reaching functionalities, the original navigation, product access and general customer guidance in the e-commerce buying process proved to be suboptimal: A large number of the started buying processes were not completed, thus causing frustration and annoyed calls to the field sales force. In summary, the solution did not meet the expected response from B2B customers. In summer 2019, based on these findings, Hoval decided to fundamentally redesign the user interface together with Unic.
Focus on Customer Needs
Hoval's primary objective is to focus on the customer's needs throughout the entire process and to provide appropriate services and offers to meet the customer's wishes: The customer wants a simple shopping experience where he can quickly find his desired product with the relevant information and accessories at a glance. In addition, the product page and the underlying navigation to the product detail pages should be clear so that the customer can find his way around in a self-explanatory manner. Another must was that the shopping cart should be viewable and customizable at any time without interrupting the purchasing process.
Hoval would like to provide the best possible support for customers during the customer journey and offer additional added value through modern online services. The new „Way to Cart“ purchasing process has the potential to replace the classic catalogue business in the standard segment, although it is left to the customer to decide which channel is to be used in future to place the order.
Constructive Teamwork for Best Results
In workshops with Hoval, the requirements of the various stakeholders and customer segments were collected, analysed and prioritised. With the help of scribbles, conceptual solution ideas were developed and refined. The central idea? The customer should get where he wants to go as quickly as possible. Otherwise, frustration and bounce rates increase. This should apply equally to new customers (do not yet know 100% what they want) and to existing customers (know what they want). The goal was not only to simplify navigation and make the product page clearer, but also to reduce steps the customer has to take:
The product categories are visible at a glance.
On the product page there should be at least two to three different entrances to actually start the buying process.
Ultimately, the checkout process including the shopping cart overview must be simple.
Clearly Arranged Product Pages: Everything at a Glance
The first step in the purchasing process was to revise the clarity of the product overview pages and the accompanying navigation menu. Intermediate steps were incorporated to guide the user as far as the shopping basket in the best possible way. The different product categories at navigation level should enable the user to jump directly into the listing.
The whole thing was supplemented by a clever filter system. First you get to the product overview pages with filter, then you enter the "Way to Cart" process. You choose the product variant and the accessories that suit you best, then you can book services and at last get an overview in the shopping basket.
For each article there is de facto an own navigation bar with the functions shown above. Once you have selected a product type and placed it in the shopping basket together with its accessories, you can now easily jump to another product, which was not possible before.
At the same time the customer can continuously view the shopping cart with one click and delete or add products. This was not possible before either.
The existing design was further developed on the basis of Hoval's specifications. The process was optimised with existing modules in „Figma“ and was developed as a clickable prototype. On this basis, the technical implementation of the frontend and backend work was then carried out on the basis of SAP Commerce.
In Unic, we have found a partner who supports us in the further development of our online shop in a competent, reliable and sustainable manner. True to our customer centricity approach, it is particularly important to us to focus on the customer in all our activities, which is what the concept and also the technical implementation are geared towards.Daniel Bickel
E-Commerce Manager, Hoval
Review and Outlook
The KPIs from Web Analytics as well as the number of online orders speak for themselves: the targets set were achieved and in most cases exceeded! Since autumn 2019 (time of implementation), sales have more than doubled. In addition to the quantitative evaluations, customer feedback has also been systematically collected; a thoroughly positive conclusion can be drawn as well: Feedbacks such as „logical process“, „much clearer“ up to „You no longer have a lost feeling“ show that a high user experience can be achieved even with complex products and ordering processes.
And yes, it was worth it – together with Unic, Hoval will continue to invest in the expansion of user-friendly digital solutions.
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Are you keen to talk about your next project? We will be happy exchange ideas with you: Melanie Klühe, Stefanie Berger, Stephan Handschin and Philippe Surber (clockwise).
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Are you keen too discuss your digital tasks with us? We would be happy to exchange ideas with you: Jörg Nölke and Gerrit Taaks (from left to right).