tng worldwide proves that B2B eCommerce can be beautiful…and integrated
Looks are important to tng worldwide – a global leader in professional beauty supplies. It’s what they sell. But, function is important too, and the two need to work together. In early, 2012 they weren’t.
Disconnected systems, manual data entry
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In early 2012, tng worldwide hired Dustin Holmstrom, VP of eCommerce & IT, to modernize the company’s eCommerce offering.
“My first day at work, I found multiple sites that were completely disconnected from SAP. We had no live inventory feed, no live pricing, and PCI compliance issues,” Holmstrom said.
“And we were paying three full-time employees to enter web orders into SAP.”
We’re beauty experts, not integration experts
“Our previous eCommerce director had been working on SAP integration for four years, but never got further than batch updates.”
“At first, I thought I wanted to build the SAP integration myself. I think that’s a natural instinct for technical people like me. I wanted to build it. I wanted to own it.”
“But, then I looked at the tagline on my business card. It says ‘We are the beauty experts,’ not ‘We are the technology experts’. That was a great reminder of our core focus. So, we started looking for vendors.”
The search for partners
tng looked for eCommerce partners that would:
- Provide real-time, two-way integration with ECC 6.0
- Enable complete control over the user interface design
- Support custom business rules
- Support an industry standard eCommerce platform
“SAP is at the core of our business. Our website is the public face. We needed a solution to glue the two things together.”
“We selected Magento as our eCommerce platform because it allows us total control over the site design and it has a huge developer community.”
“We chose b2b2dot0 as our integration partner because they have a proven, cloud-based solution that met 80% of our needs out of the box. They also bring many years of eCommerce experience, which enabled us to get all of our custom SAP business rules integrated into the new site.”
“Another reason we picked b2b2dot0 is their agile development process. We weren’t handcuffed to a rigid predefined statement of work, which would have prevented us from embracing change, capitalizing on emerging opportunities and leveraging newly acquired knowledge. Plus, their business model means we have a cloud-based integration partner that’s not going away.”
Supporting a B2C-like Demand Chain
Most of tng’s customers own and operate nail salons, hair salons and beauty supply shops. Many are first-time buyers and place small orders of $100 or less. Repeat buyers may only come back once or twice in a year.
tng needed a way to:
- Minimize the time and resources the company had been spending on manually processing thousands of new B2B web orders
- Enable new B2B customers to register online and place a new order — all on their first visit.
“By far, the biggest customization that b2b2dot0 created for us was the ability for new customers to self-register. Most B2B eCommerce systems assume that the customer master already exists in SAP. But, our customers behave more like B2C customers. That means we have 50,000 users placing one or two orders a year, instead of 5,000 dealers that log in 20 times a year.”
To facilitate the self-registration process, b2b2dot0 created a web service call that creates a new sold-to account in SAP at the same time a new user registers on tng’s site.
Customizing the SAP integration
b2b2dot0 tailored tng’s SAP integration to accommodate the company’s unique business rules. Customizations included:
- Enabling newly-registered b2b customers to shop, add items to the cart and checkout without any automatic delivery processing. Instead, web orders from new customers are placed on a delivery block, pending validation of business rules.
- The ability for customers to change their shipping or billing address during checkout. Similar to a B2C shopping experience, users can add one or more delivery addresses and specify their default location.
- Integration with a 3rd party web service for address validation so that new addresses are standardized and complete
- Custom logic to handle different incoterms for PO Box addresses
- Custom functions that enable customers to indicate whether a purchase is for use in the salon, or for resale. This allows customers to specify if a transaction is taxable, directly from the shopping cart.
- Integration of product licensing information from SAP into tng’s Magento catalog. (Certain products require special certification and state-by-state licensing before customers are allowed to purchase them.)
- Pre-ordering of certain items, and scheduled delivery blocks, with custom messaging to let customers know the SKU and future availability date.
“For us, this is a win-win-win. A year ago, we had three full-time salaries dedicated to manual data entry. Now, we’re much more efficient, our customers are happier, and we have a beautiful, responsive, interface design. That means we have one site to maintain that works seamlessly on desktops, tablets, iPhones and Androids. And it’s all integrated with SAP – two-ways, real-time.”
Read more from our portfolio
The Portfolio section of our site highlights just a few of the customized solutions we’ve created to solve real-world B2B situations. The more complicated the B2B scenario, the more value we provide.
Check out some of the problems we’ve helped solve for tng worldwide: