The Crimsonwing team initially implemented Watco’s eCommerce site for the UK market in January 2010, using Magento Enterprise Edition. The site proved to be a great success with Watco soon expanding their eCommerce presence into several countries within Europe, and even went global in 2011 by launching a site in the US.
The company supplies highly technical products, so full product management, content management (CMS) and live chat tools were key considerations for selecting Magento – Why? To ensure customers are given all the information they needed in order to make an informed choice.
Each of Watco’s B2B online shops is customised to the needs of the local market including localised content and languages, currencies and tax rules – all being managed by Watco from a single instance of Magento Enterprise. Watco also run a B2C brand, Floorpaint Express, from the same instance. The solution provides a strategic platform for the Watco Group to streamline internal processes, increase sales and provide ever more product information. In addition, the solution also includes real-time integration with Watco’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, for order injection and pricing.
Established in 1927, Watco is the leading direct supplier for building maintenance, floor coatings and anti-slip products in the UK, with a sales network that spans the globe. Watco’s eCommerce presence covers UK, Ireland, Germany, France, and the USA, with the US eCommerce shop being branded as Rust-Oleum. Following continuous success, Watco intend to roll out more stores for both Watco brands and Floorpaint Express. The company’s investment in innovative new products, supported by a dedicated technical advice team, has enabled them to meet the needs of their customers.
background & requirements
Crimsonwing is a Magento Gold Solutions Partner and a trusted implementation and development partner for complex IT solutions for the B2B and B2C markets. Crimsonwing’s expertise in both eCommerce and ERP systems means that solutions work seamlessly with existing business systems and processes, which was a key objective for Watco. Alex Barbier, Group Marketing Director, said “with Crimsonwing as a leading Magento reseller, we were confident that this was the best choice that we could have made. Also, Crimsonwing’s solution was much better value for quality than the other solution that we were considering.” With with an ever growing team of Magento Certified Developers, Crimsonwing is one of the largest Magento Gold Partners in Europe.
There were several reasons for choosing Magento Enterprise. Alex Barbier explained “we needed a multi-store platform, which would allow us to roll out the websites quickly and efficiently. We needed the eCommerce platform to be easily customisable, for example when it comes to quote and sample requests as well as personalised designs. CMS functionality was also a big factor, as was time to delivery and scalability.”
This eCommerce solution allows Watco to manage all their country stores from one instance of Magento Enterprise – one platform for 8 websites. All stores went through extensive user acceptance and integration testing. The first delivered site, Watco UK, formed the baseline site for the rest of the international Watco sites. “We didn’t want to have to reinvent the wheel every time a new country specific site was to be launched. Each time we develop a new website, the platforms remain the same. That means we know what we have to do to make the system work, how much it costs and how long it takes” explained Alex Barbier.
Magento Enterprise has enabled Watco to introduce business process change, to collate and centralise product information. Traditionally, this information has been stored offline and depended heavily on members of staff’s expertise. Information was duplicated within the organisation, with each country working as an independent silo. The new solution has collated this information centrally, allowing information to be re-used, increasing accuracy and productivity.
The new solution is seamlessly integrated with Microsoft Dynamics NAV, meaning all online orders are pushed into the ERP system, and any price or product update in the ERP is pushed back online automatically. This facilitates customer specific pricing and removes the need for back office order re-keying, further increasing accuracy and productivity.
Watco is continually updating and progressing their sites to meet the needs and changes in the marketplace and deliver a great customer experience. For example, all the sites include YouTube videos, where Watco’s unique “How-To-Videos” are hosted and accessible for their customers.
Crimsonwing has provided Watco with a number of essential functional features within the online shop, which improves the customer’s shopping experience and empowers them to make an informed purchase decision. The new site supports:
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) improving natural search results and visitor numbers
- Multiple stores in multiple languages and currencies to fit the local needs of each site – read blog entry on this
- Easily manage products and customers for each individual storefront at different levels, either at category or product level
- Localised website tax rules to meet national jurisdictions and requirements
- Addition of new features to help users locate their product faster
Before switching to the Magento Enterprise platform, Watco was using different systems for each of their country-specific websites that were not integrated to the ERP system. This incurred significantly higher costs than the Magento platform, which uses only a single instance to integrate the back-end system to multiple storefronts. Alex Barbier, Group Marketing Director, explained: “Considering that the solution is not just used as Watco’s eCommerce platform, but also as our Content Management System (CMS) which integrates with the back office system, the value for money is exceptional.”
With the new solution, Watco can offer its customers unprecedented flexibility in the ordering of their products. They now have online promotions, which can be timed and tailored to the customer. Each country has its own marketing team looking after communications and promotions, which means the marketing strategy can be tailored to the individual country’s requirements. Magento’s out-of-the-box marketing tools greatly empower the core marketing teams by enabling them to own the site content and implement promotions without having to involve the IT developers.
This overall online strategy and approach has brought many positive changes to the Watco Group. It allowed them to achieve an excellent online presence and strong ROI. The proportion of Group online turnover compared to the total Group turnover has increased from 7% before the roll-out of Magento to 22% in November 2011.
Looking back at the first Watco eCommerce site, the UK store set a great benchmark for all other Watco online shops and brands and is a great example of what can be achieved when implementing a solid eCommerce strategy on Magento Enterprise.
“When we’ve launched the UK site, we have achieved our 3 months turnover target within the first month (+150% turnover growth compared to the same month last year)” stated Alex Barbier. Four months after the launch, the site also received significantly more unique visits with a 68% increase, comparing the same period in 2009 and 2010. By the end of 2011, visitor numbers were still rising steadily, increasing by a further 38%, which is assisted by SEO and PPC. Most new customers are acquired online now. Alex Barbier, Group Marketing Director, explained that with “Magento being SEO friendly, we increased the number of 1st positions on strategic keywords. The uplift on organic visits is an astonishing 53%.”
The number of orders has more than doubled, as a result of a 35% increase in new online customers per month, but also thanks to long-standing customers utilising the site more, due to improved user-friendliness, functionality and design. Overall, the online revenue has increased 40%. At the Meet Magento UK Conference, which was held in October 2011 in London, Alex Barbier held a joint presentation with Crimsonwing’s Sales Manager, Barry Thorn. During his presentation, Alex pointed out that “The website is today the most powerful tool to recruit new customers. It used to be the Watco catalogue and now it’s the website. 65% to 70% of new customers now are created from the website, which is quite powerful.” To watch the full presentation, just scroll down & press play.
The Floorpaint Express site had a similar success story, having achieved its 2-month target for orders after only 6 weeks and having generated more than twice the turnover (+108%) than was forecasted, mainly because of a higher number of visits (+34%), but also thanks to a higher average order value. Floorpaint Express was developed in 26 days with only a very small development team working on the project at Watco. The US site for Rust-Oleum represented 30% of the global turnover just two weeks after its launch in September 2011.
David Simonds, eBusiness Solutions Manager at Crimsonwing, said “The statistics speak for themselves, using a combination of Magento and Crimsonwing has allowed Watco to enter new markets, target new customers, and grow their online sales significantly. The Magento and Crimsonwing cost models have provided Watco with excellent ROI.”