A winning e-commerce strategy, combining inspiration and the sales force.
Fermob turns to Adobe Commerce to create a new B2B sales channel that uses the best of both worlds - inspiration and the latest trends - combined with sales support.
Build a B2B e-commerce platform in French and English aimed at Fermob’s and Vlaemynck’s business customers
Allow customers to act independently to simplify and speed up the purchasing process for existing items
Identify leads to help the sales team canvass new customers
Support both brands’ growth and brand awareness internationally
A new e-commerce site developed with Adobe Commerce
A personalised customer experience that combines a traditional B2B product offering with the inspirational approach and content of B2C sales
Personalised management of customer accounts with special pricing deals
A platform that connects to the existing ERP and PIM systems
Make e-commerce the foundation of a B2B business strategy
“Our business customers now represent 25% of our turnover. The e-commerce site highlights our commitment to supporting this fast-growing market and driving international business growth,” explains Benjamin Balatin, Director of Transformation at the Fermob Group.
From the retro Bistro table to the Luxembourg or Montmartre chair, Fermob furniture is a must-have and has successfully established itself as part of the French art of living. With its distinctive colour palette, original designs and high-quality manufacturing, Fermob has become the key outdoor furniture specialist for both individuals and businesses. More than just a well-known brand, Fermob is a group that also owns another emblematic brand in outdoor furniture - Vlaemynck, which helps catering professionals, hotels, businesses, local authorities and healthcare facilities to fit out and equip their outdoor spaces.
Create a new digital sales channel to support the sales teams
E-commerce is the key pillar of the Fermob Group’s digital and sales strategy, both in France and internationally. The purpose of creating the site was to support the commercial development of the B2B market, which had been identified as a high-potential growth lever. Until now, the group had relied on its sales force, with a series of digital initiatives.
“Our aim is to be 100% present in the field and 100% digital. Initially, the purpose of this new sales channel is to support our sales force by helping them to identify new leads and removing the need for them to carry out certain transactional steps,” adds Benjamin Balatin.
The decision to develop the e-commerce site with Adobe Commerce, in collaboration with the Synolia agency, was based on three criteria:
- The technical quality of the response to the invitation to tender, which covered all the required points, made Adobe Commerce the preferred choice for developing the new sales channel.
- The project team at both Synolia and Adobe had a clear understanding of all the Fermob Group’s requirements and showed boldness and creativity, immediately establishing a climate of trust.
- The financial proposal was consistent with the group’s objectives and requirements.
The e-commerce site was developed in agile project mode, in collaboration with IT, Digital Services and the business. “Our trust in the Synolia and Adobe teams was a decisive factor: they immediately understood what we wanted to achieve. The relationship was transparent, with real team spirit and a sense of shared responsibility when it came to finding solutions. One year on, everything has gone to plan, despite a fairly tight timetable,” explains Florence Vanet, Head of Digital Services at the Fermob Group.
Streamline the purchasing journey by fully integrating Adobe Commerce with the IS
Adobe Commerce is fully integrated into the group’s IT system, with product information automatically provided by the PIM. As a result, customers can find datasheets and information on the features and materials of each product across all the collections. Adobe Commerce also links to the ERP and CRM for customer relationship management, quotes, transaction rules and access to customer information. “Tracking the purchasing journey is key to offering a personalised experience that allows customers to take advantage of special offers and know when their order will be delivered,” explains Benjamin Balatin.
Implementing Adobe Commerce as part of the group’s IS makes it easier to share information and pick up leads. It has allowed Synolia and Fermob to work on the purchasing journey, on identifying and classifying the group’s various types of customer and on promoting the product offering. “The site has been designed for desktop and mobile use at every stage, to offer a fully optimised customer journey and experience,” he adds.
Combine the best of B2B with the inspirational trends in B2C
Fermob Contract targets not only hotel and catering professionals, but also influencers. The customer journey has been expanded, with more content and increased tracking.
The site thus combines the best of B2B in terms of functionality and the purchasing journey, with access to inspirational content. There are articles, recommendations, product groups and examples of previous projects, where B2B customers can get advice, inspiration and information on the latest trends to help them to conceptualise their plans more clearly.
“As well as products, we offer a design service for outdoor spaces and advice. Offering inspirational content about the latest trends, for example, means we can offer our customers an experience that is creative as well as transactional. As a result, we stand out and that can prompt them to complete the purchase”, adds Florence Vanet.
Make customer satisfaction the driver of lead acquisition
The issue, always, is lead acquisition, conversion and retention. With the e-commerce platform, Fermob Contract can help its customers act independently by offering them an attractive, inspiring experience. Once they have logged in, they can access their personalised account. Here, they can order existing or new products, track their delivery or be inspired by the brand’s design advice. The advantage of this independence is that orders are received more quickly and that customers can place them at any time and can adjust their purchasing journey based on brand recommendations. It also means that the sales teams do not have to deal with this transactional step, so that they are free to focus on providing advice and helping their customers turn a design idea into a tangible project.
“The question we always ask ourselves is how we can best serve our customers, at every stage of their purchasing journey. Our digital offering complements the work of our sales team and the human relationship with our employees in the field and is designed to identify when a customer or prospect needs to talk to a sales person, either before or after their purchase,” explains Benjamin Balatin.
An e-commerce strategy with an international focus
The new e-commerce sales channel, which has just been launched in France and Germany, has ambitious objectives: the acquisition of 80% of new customers, 50 leads converted in the first year and 100 in the second and projected revenue of €1.2 to €3 million in its European markets.
Going forward, Fermob Contract is already planning to internationalise its e-commerce site, which has been designed to underpin its digital business strategy. “The international roll-out is a strategic issue for us and one of the advantages of Adobe Commerce. Now that the platform has been launched in France, we are moving into the roll-out stage and are turning our attention to rapid launches in the Benelux countries, Italy and Germany, as well as the UK and USA,” explains Florence Vanet.