Integrated eCommerce drives growth plans
We were pleased to catchup with Michael O’Reilly, Managing Director of Pneumatics Group, including FloMAX, who we have enjoyed working in partnership with, as a customer of GOb2b for the past 11 years.
Michael drives the commercial strategy for the Group and we were keen to find out how their well-established integrated eCommerce website from GOb2b is driving their rapid business growth plans.
FloMAX is part of Pneumatics Group and has developed into Irelands leading supplier of compressed air, vacuum, automation, mechanical and engineering equipment. Serving the Irish market for 38 years, they offer a wealth of experience and technical support.
Tools & Construction
B2B – end user manufacturing companies
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
FloMAX were no newcomer to eCommerce when they approached GOb2b, having a previous website which they were using to sell their products online. The site had fictitious stock levels for all products which were never correct and relied on the customer services team being able to keep up with demand and spending vast amounts of time manually changing the figures.
Products were often sold with no stock which led to a panic for the FloMAX team to find stock from someone locally or from the UK to be able to fulfil the order
All orders from the website had to be inputted into the accounting system which was a very manual process for the team. The aim was for website orders to require as little human contact as possible because the more contact the customer has after they place their web order the less integrity the eCommerce site has.
“We think about the big players like Amazon, if you take the lead from them, no one from Amazon ever calls you about an order you have placed, it’s a slick, enjoyable buying experience for the customer and that is what we want for our customers.”
OVER A DECADE OF INTEGRATED B2B ECOMMERCE
FloMAX switched to GOb2b in 2010, benefitting from over a decade of a live integrated connection between their GOb2b eCommerce site and Sage 200 accounting system.
“The main driver for choosing GOb2b was it was made for Sage 200, it’s that simple.”
Stock issues were a thing of the past for FloMAX when the integrated site went live with GOb2b as the data was pulled through from their Sage 200 system. Stock levels, stock position, configurable out and low stock thresholds all meant that FloMAX could share this information with their customers as up-to-date live data.
“It’s a massive advantage for us. Our customers can see when they place their order if we can fulfil it immediately with stock in our warehouse or what the lead time is for the stock to come into us and then be delivered to them.”
Manual inputting of web orders are a thing of the past at FloMAX, orders from their website are now placed directly into their sales order process on Sage 200 which is then allocated so the order is ready for further processing through dispatch and invoicing. The order number is returned to the website and appears on all the customer documentation.
Customers can login to their trade account and see their account details, order details as well as paying off outstanding invoices. They can view their order history and place repeat orders easily.
“Most of our customers who buy online have a trade account on the website. It’s great because they can see their order as soon as it is placed, track details and place repeat orders. We surveyed our customers recently about our business and many commented how easy our eCommerce site is to navigate and they like using it which is a big positive.”
INTEGRATED ECOMMERCE DRIVES GROWTH PLANS
“eCommerce sales are a very important part of our business; they represent 12 percent of our turnover but we want that to grow to 25 percent over the next 18 months. It’s a large target to increase the sales through the website to 25 percent but we’re ambitious and believe it is very possible.”
Online sales have raised a massive opportunity for growth at FloMAX over the past 3-4 years as b2b buying habits change to see more sales than ever before taking place digitally instead of face-to-face. Research from McKinsey shows that there’s a 2x increased likelihood of companies that provide an outstanding digital experience being chosen as the primary supplier.
“We’re well established in the Irish market and are proud to be the chosen supplier for many end user manufacturing companies, the eCommerce site has definitely helped with this. Ireland is a relatively small market but there are some areas we could be stronger in so we’re dipping our toe into the water with a new venture in Ireland to launch an eCommerce site with one of our distributors.”
FloMAX plan to expand their reach with a distributor site strategy firstly in Ireland and then with plans to move into the European market.
“Strategically this could be very good for us. It’s a partnership between ourselves and the distributors as we will be able to manage their supply chain from the order processing and stock management through to delivery. It will be a seamless process for the distributor and customer and all stock will be delivered in the distributors branding, they will significantly increase their product offerings for their customers overnight.”
FloMAX distributors sites will allow for rapid growth to drive towards their target over the next 18 months whilst at the same time supporting distributors to get online, creating more opportunities for their customers and enticing a larger customer base.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with GOb2b. I like the directness and openness which is also the way I work. They make it clear whether it is possible to do something or not and if not are always keen to find an alternative option for us.”
“GOb2b’s knowledge of Sage is really good. We’re just about to change our server and we’ve already had the details from our account manager at GOb2b, Alex on what we need to do for that. I could get an Irish based eCommerce software but they wouldn’t be Sage people and that is what really makes working with GOb2b easy.”
Here at GOb2b we’re looking forward to supporting Michael and the team at FloMAX with their exciting, ambitious plans and we’ll be sure to share their success in 18 months time!