STABILO - a shop as an emotional brand experience
How does one manage a global company that’s entering the B2C market for the first time after 160 years in indirect sales? That was the heavy question facing one of the market leaders for writing instruments, STABILO, at their headquarters in Heroldsberg, Germany.
STABILO is a brand that is loved by small and large around the world. From classic fine line to highlighter, STABILO offers ergonomic writing products in every sense of the word “colorful”. Up until the relaunch, distribution was carried out only through indirect trade, with the international brand page being their singular online presence. With the strategic decision to also take upon B2C customers, they chose to do so through online sales.
Online shop with “brand touchpoint character”
But after so many successful years’ operating purely in B2B trade, why would the company decide to follow this course? On one hand, the purpose of the STABILO digital relaunch was to provide its customers with a more emotional brand experience. On the other, it aimed to create a store that clearly represented the brand with a memorable “brand touchpoint character”. “Next to an eye catching design, it was important to STABILO that the online presence does not adversely affect trade, but rather create synergies,” explains Andreas Unger, Head of eCommerce at STABILO International GmbH. Moreover, through direct contact with the end customer and their needs, the company sought to expedite product development.
Searching for a modern shop system
During a rigorous, three-stage selection process, Shopware was able to convince STABILO: “As an owner-managed, medium-sized company, Shopware fits very well with STABILO. We value direct communication and that we know our representatives personally. The service here is truly outstanding,” said Unger, remembering the decision. STABILO eventually chose the Enterprise license, which guarantees exclusive and personal attention from Shopware through all phases of the project.
Cooperation between brand world and online shop
Together with the Shopware Business Partners SOWHAT! from Berlin, the project team faced a complex challenge: not only design a completely new online store, but also carry out a relaunch of the international brand page. Of course, such strategic changes also require internal restructuring. Unger recalls: “By integrating B2C markets, must of our logistic and accounts receivable management processes also had to be adapted. A newly established eCommerce department accompanied the change management process.” STABILO operates worldwide, however direct sales were to initially be restricted to Germany. This presented another challenge: the international brand and online shop had to be completely independent from one another on a technical level, however had to maintain seamlessness in external relations, from the customer’s perspective.
Content marketing to captivate visitors
STABILO now gives its digital customers insight into the company and infuses meaning into their range of colorful products. “About us” is one of the four subheadings in the brand world, where visitors can take a closer look into the company STABILO. This kind of transparency and credibility was important for the brand. Always with striking colors, STABILO grabs attention and exudes a fresh attitude. The three other areas, “Writing”, “Coloring” and “Highlighting” excite interest in visitors, as information about the product is only revealed to the customer as they scroll through the website.
With the focus on saying more with fewer words, images, animations and videos, STABILO not only authentically reveals the products and their practical application, but also gives the visitor an emotional experience with the brand. The visitor dives into this world of the brand and products, seemingly forgetting that these products are not actually available on the website. Enticed by the interaction with the products and company, the curious customer then enters the online shop by means of a clever cross-selling function. Since the new brand store has a clear emotional focus, the price of a product is not visible until the customer enters the online store.
United system environments
Both for the brand world and online shop, STABILO uses Shopware as the content management system (CMS). The brand world was rolled out into an additional 30 countries, with each county using a separate CMS. However, until the changeover to the new brand page, the country was to work with their existing CMS solution. Therefore, both the existing CMS and the new Shopware CMS had to be simultaneously accessible under the same address, stabilo.com.
Besides Shopware as CMS, STABILO uses its own SAP interface to the existing SAP system and the Shopware connector to plentymarkets, which functions as middleware between Shopware and SAP. This enables synchronization of product data, orders, etc. and can handle all of the backend processes, in-house. “Fluid responsive” guarantees that the STABILO website is perfectly represented on mobile devices.
Impressive Shopware standard
“There were absolutely no problems with the launch with Shopware. Consider especially that we use Shopware, for the most part, in its standard version. This clearly shows that Shopware is a sophisticated and professional system,” Unger about the project implementation. The short project turnover time – less than six months from planning to live – reflects the successful cooperation even further. “Shopware completely exceeded our expectations for a modern, modular and scalable shop solution,” Unger concluded.
To top it all off, the jury at the “Best in eCommerce 2014” was also impressed by the result. They selected STABILO out hundreds at the nationwide competition, which is held by the trade magazine ChannelPartner, as award winner in the “Best relaunch of a B2C webshop” category.“
STABILO International GmbH
- International brand world and online shop
- Own SAP interface
- Shopware Connector for plentymarkets
- Fluid Responsive Design
- SOWHAT! / Websling GmbH