The bridge between ERP and e-commerce
At Intracto we believe in long-term partnerships with our clients. One of the best examples of this is High Demand Brands. We are proud to count such a company among our clients since the early years of Intracto.
What started many years ago as a B2B web shop has now grown into an entire ecosystem of digital web applications that have a positive impact not only on sales figures, but also on the efficiency of internal operations & product management.
High Demand Brands is the exclusive importer of various brands for the sectors of fashion, shoes, sports, bicycle and outdoor. Well known brands that High Demand Brands exclusively commercializes in the Benelux (and Europe) are Buffalo, FitFlop, Cristiano Ronaldo, Santini, Odlo and Sidi.
The need for expansion for online ambitions
The beating heart of the organisation is a Microsoft AX ERP system. A system that is perfectly organised for logistical processing, stock management, purchase/sales, etc. However, a lot of time and efficiency was lost in the day-to-day operation. And the ERP system did not meet all the expectations of the company's online ambitions.
Tailor-made PIM to complement ERP
The first step in the digital renewal was the addition of a PIM tool, which stands for Production Information Management. We went through many off-the-shelf packages, but the customer preferred a customised development by Intracto. This allowed the application to be fully tailored to the user's own wishes and needs, but it was also flexible enough to be linked to Microsoft AX without trouble.
Given the further plans for expansion and the online ambition, the entire PIM system was set up with a microservices architecture that allowed easy access to additional platforms later on. The PIM system allowed for not only further "commercial" enrichment of the products from the ERP, but also optimisation of SEO texts, collection of marketing material and so on.
The B2B web shop had to be renewed
The previous B2B webshop, where customers could place their orders, was very outdated and lacked many functionalities. Modernising the platform was therefore a high priority, with a view to a further digital transformation.
In addition, there were also many customers (cf. shops) who sent their orders by e-mail, by telephone (to a representative or customer service) or even by fax. This was a time-consuming and error-prone process, and in terms of stock management, often a nightmare when stocks were limited.
Speed, efficiency and ease of use come first
Moreover, High Demand Brands operates in a sector where orders often have to be placed at short notice because new collections and manufacturers have deadlines in terms of production. Speed, efficiency, reliability and ease of use were therefore key when we were contacted for a customised solution.
After consulting all stakeholders (IT, sales representatives, customer service, customers, marketing ...) we drew up a functional roadmap of what the online portal was required to do. A far-reaching integration with Microsoft AX for real-time stock & order management was one of the key pillars in this story.
In addition to an online web shop where dealers could order products and stock, we paid a lot of attention to the system handling the presale for new collections.
The results : more orders and more insight
Since the launch of the online portal, peak times have been calmer, orders are being placed at a higher value and all stakeholders have continuous access to the necessary BI data & insights. In addition, High Demand Brands' clients can also use the portal for order tracking, invoices, downloads of product photos, marketing materials and so on.
In addition to all operational systems and web applications, Intracto was also asked to create the corporate website for High Demand Brands. We opted for a Drupal CMS so that the High Demand Brands marketeers themselves could easily update their website.
Several technologies working together
The project of High Demand Brands shows that Intracto is not married to one technology, but that we always choose the most appropriate technology to suit the project. This is why the PIM system was custom built in an open-source PHP Symfony framework and the multisite webshop platform was built in Drupal (supplemented by custom development also in PHP Symfony).
For the corporate website we also chose Drupal, but for the development of the B2B web shop platform we opted for a combination of Vue.JS (cf. single page application development) and Microsoft .NET (in the context of the many direct integrations with Microsoft AX).
In the system architecture, extensibility, scalability and flexibility were central.
We are very proud of the projects that we have been able to carry out at High Demand Brands in the past few years as part of the digital transformation. It is nice to see how project after project we contribute to a smoother (internal) operation, better customer satisfaction and more sales.
Planning and thinking in the long term, but executing in the short term with the customer always coming first, has contributed to a successful set of scalable digital applications that has made High Demand Brands ready for the future.
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