Why Transfer an In-Progress Project?
This project was initially contracted to another supplier, but the scale and level of difficulty involved prompted Leifheit to transfer it to e-point. For us, not being in on the project from the start presented its own issues. We often did not know the context or bases for the decisions made by the former provider, and best practices and documentation procedures were lacking.
How We Handled the Leifheit E-Commerce Project
Keys to a Successful E-Commerce Pilot
Katarzyna Bronowska, Leifheit Polska’s E-commerce and Marketing Manager, explains how the pilot project went:
"Changing our technological partner to e-point was a milestone for Leifheit’s branded online store. We had a partner who made it possible for us to implement our planned actions and helped our e-commerce efforts quickly become successful".
What was key to this e-commerce pilot’s success? Several things.
Key 1: Communication
In every project, communication is vital. Everyone involved should be able to see how the work is progressing. Because this project had several dispersed international teams, we had to think carefully about how to keep everyone connected. To facilitate such distributed communication, we decided to use Google Hangouts and Jira’s project-tracking tools instead of email. Regular video conferences between us and Leifheit also enhanced our information exchange and allowed both sides to clarify any questions or uncertainties. Having a Project Coordinator in Leifheit Polska also provided us with a lot of great support.
Key 2: Cleanup
Our initial workload involved a thorough analysis of the existing code and a reduction in Leifheit’s technological debt. In a two-month timeframe, we eliminated code errors and got the platform working correctly. We also removed ERP-to-e-commerce communication problems, e.g. issues with payment and product return procedures.
Key 3: Project Support
We made the project support process as transparent as possible. This meant regular status meetings, followed by lists of the actions and decisions necessary for us to meet the scheduled deadlines. Such openness and clarity allowed us to build confidence and partnership in the project.
Key 4: Choosing the Right Platform
Leifheit’s online store was built on SAP Commerce, which provides stability and security and also supports international e-commerce. SAP Commerce allows the creation of local stores on a common platform and lets users manage product catalogues and product availability for particular markets. Plus, there is broad support for many currencies, tax rates, and languages.
Another great advantage of SAP Commerce is that it is not a scratch-built platform but a set of elements that can be assembled as desired. The time required for implementation is much less than that of a tailor-made platform. Further customization can be provided by various extensions, including those provided by e-point.
An additional factor was that Leifheit uses SAP ERP and SAP Marketing; an e-commerce solution in the same ecosystem was a natural choice. Plus, SAP has an excellent reputation for service and stability; it provides technical support to clients and is built on proven technologies like Java and Apache SOLR.
E-Commerce Success Requires UX Optimization
While a lot of this project was technical in nature – we cleaned up a lot of code and implemented various optimization techniques – true success required more than just coding. We also strove to improve the customer experience. Our design team and UX specialists put in some sterling work and helped craft a solution that increased both conversion and sales volume.
Overall, we think the results speak for themselves.