Case Study: Interior Store Expands Digital Commerce with PIM Platform

Zelfbouwmarkt opened its doors in 1980 and soon grew into a specialist store with personal advice for building, remodeling, and interior & decoration products. The store is known for its extensive and high-quality products for fair prices, but also for the professional advice of skilled employees.

Business Needs

E-commerce: ready, set, go!
Zelfbouwmarkt opened its doors in 1980 and soon grew into a specialist store with personal advice for building, remodeling, and interior & decoration products. The store is known for its extensive and high-quality products for fair prices, but also for the professional advice of skilled employees. They bring seven specialty shops under one roof in Ninove.

Zelfbouwmarkt initiated their e-commerce plans after a shout out from Wouter Torfs to keep e-commerce business of Belgian stores in Belgian hands. Stijn Desmet (Commercial Director at Zelfbouwmarkt): "We know the online and offline market is changing and evolving continuously, and we felt the need to contribute to that change. These days, offering the best service is only possible when products and interior advice is also offered online.”

Besides their goal to keep offering the best service in every possible way, they realized they had to approach a broader audience. Stijn: "With our physical store in Belgium we mainly focus on real interior lovers in Belgium, but with an online store we can expand this and target the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France.

Pimcore Solution

„Pimcore can display content in a structured and nice way, which is ideal when the customer wants a well-organized online catalog.“
Lien Lemberechts, Project Manager

Multiple objectives in 1 system
Zelfbouwmarkt approached Studio Emma thanks to a referral of an existing and happy Studio Emma client. They decided to join forces and to tackle the challenge, realizing Studio Emma had the PIM and e-commerce expertise needed here.

At first stage, the main focus was on two objectives: an online catalog for the customer and obtaining a bigger online consulting role, by getting a platform for professional advice (such as a blog, interior tips, and tricks...). Soon it became clear that this project could best be realized in Pimcore, given that this platform could meet the expectations.

Robust catalogs are just about the thing the platform Pimcore is very known for. Lien Lemberechts (Project Manager at Studio Emma): "Pimcore is a tool that can display content in a structured and nice way, which is ideal when the customer wants a well-organized online catalog." In addition, Pimcore is a flexible product information management system, which makes it easy to manage that catalog. Lien: "The extra benefit of Pimcore was definitely the usability."

Stijn: "We are known for our expertise and advisory role, and we find it very important to continue this practice online." It thus was an additional challenge for Studio Emma to convey this message online.

Lien: "With the Pimcore content management system, Zelfbouwmarkt can give interior advice in a user-friendly way using blog posts, articles, etc. With an easy drag-and-drop system, Zelfbouwmarkt can communicate their professional advice in a visually attractive way.”

Pimcore and the ERP tool of Zelfbouwmarkt interact for the online catalog.

The ERP system of Zelfbouwmarkt puts files with all product data on the server of Studio Emma. Pimcore automatically reads these files and creates new products or changes existing products based on the data obtained from the ERP system. The processing of this enormous number of products is done in a few minutes. The same synchronization runs for product brands, product categories, product images and product documents (such as a technical sheet or a manual).

More than an online catalog
In the second phase, Zelfbouwmarkt decided to go for the next (e-commerce) level. Stijn: "After the first successful phase in which we built a structured online catalog and platform to offer advice, we decided that we were ready for the next step: a real webshop, in which customers can purchase items online from the base catalog. A new challenge…".

Where previously only product information flowed from the ERP system to Pimcore, a synchronization was also set up from Pimcore to the ERP. One way became two-way communication. As soon as a customer purchases a product online in the Pimcore webshop, this results in an order. The order is sent from Pimcore to the ERP system, where the order is offered as a file. In the ERP system, there is an order export script to “digest” the order.

Great features in this project
Lien: "It was a real challenge to realize the delivery options of Zelfbouwmarkt. When buying a product in the webshop, Zelfbouwmarkt offers multiple delivery paths: pick-up at the store, pick-up at the warehouse, home delivery or a combination of both."

Stijn: "We needed a clear overview of the check-out procedure, in other words, the challenge lies in offering a clear choice platform to the online buyer: delivery methods of all his / her purchased products."

Therefore a smart selection system was developed, in Pimcore, that determines the delivery possibilities based on a number of rules. Offering a nice mix, the user now has the choice to pick up a part of his order and/or have a part delivered, or to collect the entire order. If a number of products can only be picked up in the store or warehouse, the user will receive a clear notification. The delivery option choice determines the further course of the check-out, such as the determination of the shipping costs. This results in a happy customer who has all the delivery option information needed, and a customer that can make his choice thanks to the clear overview.

Another challenge was a customized system to calculate the shipping cost. The cost depends on the type of shipment (from small transport to pallet transport) and the distance to the customer. Stijn: "Instead of a fixed price, we wanted a customized price for the customer." Studio Emma decided to build a Pimcore based matrix, depending on the type of transport and the postcode.

Lien: "The steps in the check-out process of Zelfbouwmarkt are structured in a way that the transport type and the shipping addrFess are known before the shipping cost is calculated via the matrix." Also, the matrix is constructed in such a way that Zelfbouwmarkt has the freedom to add postal codes and to adjust the transport costs in this matrix. In addition, when the customer specifies a shipping address but cannot (yet) be delivered in that country, he or she is urged to provide a different shipping address. In their wish to be online, Zelfbouwmarkt tries hard to get the products to the customer, instead of getting the customer to the products.

Business Results

Collaboration and result
For Zelfbouwmarkt, Studio Emma was the right partner with matching expertise and professional assistance in both technical and graphic aspects. Stijn: "Few webshop builders have such experience in retail, which makes Studio Emma a strong technical e-commerce partner for us where price and quality are in balance with each other."

The result is a unique, robust and performant webshop with an attractive design. Stijn: "Thanks to the highly skilled graphic and technical team at Studio Emma and the use of Pimcore, we are proud of our beautiful webshop."

The webshop is also scalable to multiple languages and multiple countries. One of the main goals of Zelfbouwmarkt to approach international markets was realized with this Pimcore webshop.

Future plans
The cooperation between Studio Emma and Zelfbouwmarkt is a continuous and long term one. And 2019 looks promising. Zelfbouwmarkt wants to guide the customer in associated and additional sales when purchasing a product. They also want to improve the customer journey by optimizing their client account platform. Last but not least, Zelfbouwmarkt wants to make progress in the efficiency of their online discount policy.

Stijn: "With Studio Emma as an e-commerce partner, we can conquer the world! But let's start in Europe." (laughs).

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  • Zelfbouwmarkt
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