Trusting his intuition that the Internet would become the world’s largest marketplace, Paul Smith - founder of Hantex Ltd - pioneered on the net with an on-premise B2B e-Commerce website in 1995! As a UK based wholesale distributor of fabrics, haberdashery and products for the creative sewing industry e-Commerce provides Hantex with the ability to reach a larger audience and facilitate the buying process for their customers. Transitioning from desktop software to SaaS e-Commerce allowed Hantex to streamline its business processes resulting in doubling the productivity of the teams.
Paul Smith talks about the reasons behind Hantex’s B2B e-Commerce success:
- Increased customer satisfaction with a fast and reliable Cloud-based SaaS e-Commerce solution designed to tend to retail customers.
- Efficient business management by piloting the e-Commerce site from an integrated ERP system.
- Indirect lead generation and improved brand awareness thanks to integrated marketing and SEO features.
Oxatis: in January 2017 you decided to take your e-Commerce to the cloud with Oxatis, how did this impact your business?
Paul: Our success lies in working with a partner capable of providing a site that tends to the specific B2B needs of our business and simplifies our day-to-day tasks, so we can concentrate on delivering our clients the excellent service they seek. Heavy maintenance costs, costly updates, clunky site management and technical issues were a real obstacle in reaching our 5-million-pound growth ambition.
“We have been able to double our business without doubling our admin time at all”
The choice to move our e-Commerce to a SaaS solution was one of the best we’ve made for our business. Within three to four months we tripled our site’s turnover. Our e-Commerce site functions as an ordering portal for our retail customers who place large volume orders on-the-go. With on-premise e-Commerce software, the more orders we received the longer it took for those orders to reach our warehouse. This was of course very frustrating for our business as it could lead to dissatisfied retailers, which is harmful to our brand. Now, with our SaaS e-Commerce solution it doesn’t matter if we receive 1 or 1000 orders at once, the time it takes for the orders to reach the warehouse is the same. This has had an enormous impact on our productivity: by automating our order processes we have been able to double our business without doubling our admin time at all.
“It doesn’t matter if we receive 1 or 1000 orders at once, the time it takes for the orders to reach the warehouse is the same”
Oxatis: What do your customers say about your new B2B e-Commerce site?
Paul: We provide a faster and more personalised user experience to each of our trade customers, which increased overall customer satisfaction and ensures we work with a loyal customer base! Working in a B2B environment means we need a different set of features than regular e-Commerce sites. I can set-up up to ten different prices per product and apply complex pricing and discount rules to customers, customer categories and products or categories. I can also restrict catalogue access to certain customer groups. Our customers regularly tell us that being able to place an order quickly - even when they are still talking to their customer – makes all the difference.
Oxatis: How did you automate the order and management processes?
“We can upload entire catalogues in one click!”
Paul: In terms of our order processing and stock management processes, an effective ERP system is our number one priority. It allows us to have scalability and significant increases in productivity.
As a wholesaler in a B2B environment, we work with batches of orders that are sent to our fulfillment centers for immediate dispatch. Four times a day the Oxatis DataPlug – a data management tool that automatically exports or imports data – automatically updates our orders and stock. The information the DataPlug extracts from our e-Commerce site’s back office contains every possible information our accounting system needs to pilot the business, like orders and prices, but also allows us to update product descriptions and images, rework categories, add a new characteristic to a group of products and much more. We can upload entire catalogues in one click!
Oxatis: What are the advantages of having the connection between your Enterprise Resource Planning solution and your e-Commerce site?
“Integrating the two systems increased our productivity 100%+”
Paul: Integrating the two systems increased our productivity 100%+: we can focus on our business whilst the Oxatis site and ERP systems function as a reliable single system.
Our EXACT ERP system seamlessly integrates with the Oxatis administration area eliminating the need for our staff to perform time consuming data-entry tasks, while securing data continuity as data-duplication or entry-errors are a thing of the past.
Oxatis: How do you reach your customers?
Paul: The SEO features the solution provides are impressive! We reach first page on Google and we increased our traffic by 80% since we’ve been working on improving product titles, descriptions and categories and even page URLs right from the back office. Although we only sell to stockists, we create an ever-increasing demand for Hantex’s products by allowing our end-users to browse our catalogue and discover our products. The Oxatis consultants made it possible for us to replace the “Buy Now” button with a “Find a store that stocks this item” button redirecting this potential customer to our retailers.
Oxatis: What other marketing features do you use?
Paul: The marketing features we have at our disposal make our e-Commerce solution complete. We convert on average 30% of abandoned shopping carts with the recovery tool available in the back office. Keeping in mind that our retail customers may leave a cart worth £1,000 on our site, this tool is extremely valuable to our business.
On the front-end of the site the marketing tools help our customers choose their products or discover new products and trends: Our best-selling products list is updated automatically for example. And our customers are automatically reminded of related products that may interest them on the product pages or in the shopping cart, efficiently increasing the average order value!
Oxatis: Your website functions as a showroom for your customers and end-users…
“B2B customers are just as demanding as B2C customers when it comes to user experience”
Paul: B2B customers are just as demanding as B2C customers when it comes to user experience. Our website features the same functionalities and delivers the same user experience as a B2C website does, and more! We have built almost 200 landing pages with the drag & drop editor the solution provides. After our retail customers sign in to our website, the first thing they see is our ‘What’s new’ page. It allows us to tell the story of our business and products to our customers, building both customer loyalty and broadening brand awareness.
Oxatis: What’s Next for Hantex?
Paul: We wanted to put in place the capacity to reach our 5-million-pound-turnover threshold and now with Oxatis we are well on our way to reaching it. I would recommend considering the Oxatis e-Commerce solution to any business wanting to start a successful B2B e-Commerce site.
- An ideal solution for B2B sales:
we take advantage of all the necessary features for an efficient website and shopping experience: personalised customer portal, complex pricing schemes and discount tables etc.
- Powerful data integration with the DataPlug
allowing us to save valuable time in managing the site on a daily basis, providing us with possibility of focusing on our business and continuously improving the customer experience
- An easy-to-use and flexible e-Commerce solution.
A fully functional, full-featured e-commerce site that provides a multitude of features we can activate in one click.