Instant help instead of lengthy shopping.
Boehringer Ingelheim conquers veterinary e-commerce with Adobe Experience Cloud.
International expansion in B2B e-commerce for animal health products
Higher scalability and better customizability of global store systems
Easy networking of heterogeneous IT systems and modular add-on applications
Since launch of Adobe Commerce in veterinary medicine segment, online sales have increased from 3 to 30 percent in the US market.
Group-wide platform with customizable country instances successfully implemented.
Integration of ERP systems and Adobe solutions enables data-driven customer experiences.
Individualized animal health in the digital age
C. H. Boehringer Sohn, known worldwide as Boehringer Ingelheim, follows the conviction that the lives of animals and humans are connected in deep and complex ways, staying true to the old adage that the healthier the animals, the healthier the people. That is why the company supports doctors, clinics and the pharmaceutical trade in their efforts to promote animal welfare in an increasing number of countries – as well as providing uncomplicated access to health products and services via the Internet. Tailoring digital content and services to the individual needs of B2B customers is a key factor in developing the best possible online healthcare. To grow with data-driven personalization of customer experiences, Boehringer Ingelheim relies on Adobe Commerce, part of Adobe Experience Cloud.
What is the best way that help for animals can reach people?
Since the mid-2010s, Boehringer Ingelheim has been increasingly expanding from the USA into the global online market for animal health. Via the Internet, the company reduces the procurement effort for customers through self-service offerings, while at the same time ensuring the same individual advisory service as in personal contact with customer service.
In 2018, it was clear that an e-commerce solution previously deployed on a small scale was not capable of supporting growth plans. It was neither globally scalable nor diversely customizable. But it is the latter that is business-critical in the B2B animal health environment. Boehringer Ingelheim supports a wide range of customers with products for many animal species, taking into account different regulations for pets and livestock in different countries. The aim is to show only relevant products to the buyers and thus enable them to procure efficiently.
"Our B2B customers don't want to shop around, they want to buy something specific. So delivering an efficient and seamless buying experience that's tailored to their needs is always a top priority for us. Adobe Commerce makes it easy for us to flexibly reduce complex procurement processes to the essentials for the individual customer view," explains Nathan Voss, IT Capability Lead responsible for the digital transformation of e-commerce activities at Boehringer Ingelheim.
Based on previously convincing experiences with Adobe applications for other corporate tasks, Boehringer Ingelheim also shortlisted the e-commerce solution from the outset. A detailed feature comparison with alternatives justified the leap of faith and resulted in the decision to go with Adobe Commerce as part of Adobe Experience Cloud in 2019.
The solution fully met all technological requirements, specifically those for scalability, many interfaces for contacting heterogeneous IT systems, a built-in CMS, and a headless approach. Headless-style storefronts built with Adobe Commerce offer Boehringer Ingelheim the agility to quickly change the front end of a website according to customer requirements - without affecting the back-end data infrastructure. This facilitated implementation in the company's heterogeneous IT landscape, which had grown significantly through acquisitions.
“Our B2B customers don't want to shop around, they want to buy something specific. So a seamless buying experience is always a top priority for us. Adobe Commerce makes it easy for us to flexibly reduce complex procurement processes to the essentials for the individual customer view.”
Nathan Voss, IT Capability Lead, Boehringer Ingelheim
One solution for many new connections
Store systems implemented with Adobe Commerce have been a key component of Boehringer Ingelheim's e-commerce strategy since spring 2022. To date, personalized web content for customers in France, Mexico, and the United States has enriched the shopping experience for animal health products. Online stores designed with the same approach are to follow in many other countries.
Adobe Commerce's headless approach and connectivity accelerate the creation and maintenance of new store instances. "Because the Adobe solution fully complies with our API-first approach, we can very easily connect the ERP systems of the national companies and tailor the store system for the respective market," explains Nathan Voss.
In addition, the intuitive, template-based CMS allows the shopping environment to be adapted to market conditions. This makes it a matter of a few clicks, for example, to provide the shopping cart views, the conditions for returns or the T&Cs for each store instance with the right fields, defaults or text modules on a modular basis.
In one of the next development steps, Boehringer Ingelheim also wants to add other aspects of an online customer experience, such as the integration of a loyalty program - which is easy with Adobe Commerce. And through seamless integration with other Adobe Experience Cloud applications, store systems can be expanded to include personalized email marketing campaigns with Adobe Campaign, for example.
Right out of the gate, Adobe Commerce proved to be the desired solution for tailoring e-commerce content to different needs and delivering compelling online experiences. "Adobe Commerce makes it very easy for us to create a self-service environment where all customers can get immediate, accurate solutions to all their unique procurement concerns without having to call customer service or contact field personnel," reports IT expert Nathan Voss.
“Adobe Commerce makes it very easy for us to create a self-service environment where all customers receive immediate, accurate solutions to all individual procurement concerns.”
Nathan Voss, IT Capability Lead, Boehringer Ingelheim
Digital customer experiences that benefit everyone
Although the company-wide rollout of Adobe Commerce is still in its early stages, success is already clearly measurable. Busy B2B customers in the healthcare industry are benefiting from a significant simplification of the otherwise sometimes complex procurement process for veterinary products. For Boehringer Ingelheim, the focus on personalized e-commerce customer experiences is proving to be a driver of business success.
In the U.S. market the share of online sales in the total sales of animal health products increased tenfold from three percent in 2018 to 30 percent in 2020. The company increased that to about 35 percent in the intervening years. Direct sales have a positive impact on the trade margin. The number of shopping cart abandonments has decreased and that of orders per customer has increased. The proportion of returning customers has also increased. Satisfaction surveys attest to convincing shopping experiences. These are clear signals that Boehringer Ingelheim is using exactly the right "active ingredient" in the e-commerce era: a personalized customer approach as a binding agent for long-term brand relationships.