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Hybris Baits the E-Commerce Hook for Wholesale Sports Outdoor Outfitters
A camping goods retailer creates a more personalized Web site using hybris's B2C Commerce
For the rest of the September 2015 issue of CRM magazine please click here

When Wholesale Sports Outdoor Outfitters (WSOO), a subsidiary of the United Farmers Association (UFA), decided to develop an e-commerce-supported Web site in 2009, it was an unusual move for a small Canadian retailer. With a total of 13 brick-and-mortar stores ranging from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet, the company had been operating primarily as a mail-order catalog, selling camping and hunting goods across the western provinces of Canada. There still wasn't a great need for a digital commerce channel, according to Adam Dorval, e-commerce and digital strategy manager at UFA. "Fortunately, someone had the forethought to set down that path."

The company discovered that expectations in the e-commerce business were no different from the mail-order business. "When [a customer] clicks an order to check out, they expect a product to be on its way," Dorval says. "But more than that, the Web site is quite important: It serves as a storefront."

So WSOO had to keep its Web site fresh. But by 2014, the retailer had updated the site to such an extent that it was getting harder to work in the updates its Web site engine was introducing. "Our site was not really keeping up with changing customer expectations," Dorval says. "Every year, those expectations are evolving faster and faster."

To meet growing demands for seamless navigation, a personalized interface, and sharper search capabilities, the company could implement an "iterative approach," Dorval says, or completely rebuild the site from scratch, integrating future "evolution into the road map." WSOO chose the latter, and after evaluating the offerings of a number of vendors, it settled on SAP-owned hybris's B2C Commerce solution, which is designed to help retailers create a unified, more customizable experience for users as they hop across channels.

B2C Commerce let the firm scale along with hybris as it introduced upgrades, and WSOO liked its business user interface, which would enable better communication between departments. "The ability for our content team, or merchandizing team, or customer service and fulfillment team to be able to quickly interface with ... products and content was hugely improved," Dorval says.

To implement the technology quickly, WSOO worked with Thinkwrap Commerce on integration and Cult Collective on a digital branding strategy, and the company used SAP's Process Orchestration to tool the back end. And WSOO focused on building a solid foundation, drawing out a several-year road map. The reconstruction effort included fixing outstanding bugs and avoiding placing too much strain on the system.

The site went live in January 2015, and the results came quickly enough: In the first quarter of 2015, the company reported a 27 percent boost in year-over-year conversions, and a 35 percent jump in year-over-year transactions. "There are three essential metrics we judge the success of our e-commerce business by, and that's traffic and revisits, conversion rates, and average order size," Dorval says. "All of those add up to the actual revenue that the business unit sees, so a jump in any one of those is going to mean a jump in our end sales."

And the momentum continues. Though Dorval doesn't have specific numbers to share, he says the company has actually done better in the second quarter of 2015 than it did in the first.

WSOO plans to introduce one feature upgrade a month and to keep its eye on upgrades as hybris unveils them. "They're developing the tool simultaneous to us developing the Web site," Dorval says. "In many cases there could be a scenario where we're looking at functionality that is built into the next version of the platform, in which case we would be upgrading [the entire site] instead of customizing [it]." 

THE PAYOFF 

Since implementing hybris's B2C Commerce, Wholesale Sports Outdoor Outfitters has seen:

  • a 27 percent increase in year-over-year conversions; and
  • a 35 percent increase in year-over-year transactions.

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