Van Marcke: improving customer experience with a B2B portal

When expanding and upgrading its e-commerce solution, bathroom specialist Van Marcke put its professional customer experience first. So together with a brand-new webshop, the company also implemented a B2B portal. The result? Happy customers, strong business insights and increased efficiency. Win-win-win!

Van Marcke B2 B portal

Rethinking e-commerce

This isn’t Van Marcke’s first e-commerce rodeo. In fact, the bathroom experts were the first Belgian company to open a B2B webshop – over 20 years ago! Stijn Hoegaerts, CIO at Van Marcke: “For 10 years, we were the only B2B webshop around. Now however, competition is growing, and parts of our webshop had become outdated. Customers have also become more demanding: we needed a solution that was set up for next- or even same-day delivery. So it was time for a grand overhaul. E-commerce accounts for 20% of our group revenue, so it’s important we don’t fall behind. Of course, as pioneers, it’s a point of pride too!”

Facing the challenge

Building and implementing a B2B portal is no small feat. “The portal had to tick a lot of boxes,” Stijn confirms. “It has to be easy to use, even without training. It needs to empower customers, allowing them to find what they’re looking for and take action themselves. And it should be personalized: we want our customers to feel taken care of.”

Van Marcke B2 B portal2

In the end, the team at Van Marcke is very pleased with the result – even though the road to get there was challenging at times. Stijn: “For example: we had a lot of overlapping email addresses – over 10.000. Eliminating those from our data and getting the right email addresses, was an unforeseen obstacle. A word of advice: always make sure your data is up to standard, before you get too deep into the project.”

“Still, all those issues get solved when you’re working side by side with the right partner. We really appreciated the collaboration with Flexso on this project: our own IT team and the Flexso consultants worked in true co-creation. Sometimes this meant things took a bit longer, but we won that time back after go live: the in-house team knew the project inside-out, which meant we could provide better support.”

Stijn Hoegaerts

Because our in-house team worked in co-creation with the Flexso consultants on the entire project, we were well-equipped to offer support after the go-live.

Stijn Hoegaerts - CIO at Van Marcke

Under the hood of the Van Marcke B2B-portal

The goal of the B2B portal is to make the customer’s life easier: looking for new products, placing new orders or following up on existing ones, they can do it all at the click of a button. Registration is made easy thanks to the Van Marcke registration assistant, which is built with the single sign-on module. A far cry better than the previous registration system, for which you had to fill in a form, submit it, get it verified, wait for your loyalty card through post, get a code, go online again… The whole process took a week! Whereas now, customers can register in 5 minutes, tops.

“Once logged in, the B2B customers get a completely personalized launchpad with large buttons that guide them where they want to go”, Stijn explains. “Depending on the customer, that can be either the legacy webshop or the new webshop, for example. New customers are directly guided to the new webshop, of course, but we’re taking over our existing customers in waves – this way, we can also implement their feedback more easily.”

Van Marcke’s B2B portal contains:

  • Identity Authentication Services
  • Fiori Launchpad
  • UI5 apps to deliver actual value
  • HANA Cloud as a database
  • Cloud integration to connect with AS400

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