Categories: Founder's Blog


Sam Bayer


Celebrating another Corevist implementation!

During the first week of June, after one of our typical lightening quick 3 month implementation projects, Bell and Howell went live with their Magento SAP® Integrated B2B eCommerce website.  So if you happen to own mail sorting equipment, and are looking for a great deal on spare parts, I strongly recommend you navigate over there and make your purchases before the end of July and get free shipping :-).

If buying spare parts for mail sorting equipment wasn’t high on your todo list for today, at least let me point out a couple of things that make great lessons for any organization that is embarking on their own SAP® Integrated B2B eCommerce efforts:

  1. Launch quickly, get immediate value and continuously improve – You can easily tell that the Bell and Howell website has room for improvement.  For one thing, not all products have images.  In fact, I’d say overall that there is plenty of room for improving the “richness” of their “rich content”.  But they’ve been taking orders from day one!  In fact, in a little over one month of being live, they’ve averted a minimum of 365 phone calls from their regular customers in the routine ordering and tracking of spare parts.  That’s evidence that there are definitely customers and employees who are happy from day one.  Could they improve?  Sure, and they no doubt will!  But why wait to launch the perfect website and punish the people who are happy today by making them wait for a delayed launch?  Take the money you’re saving from the operational gains of 365 less phone calls and invest it back into website improvements.
  2. Provide real time pricing and availability – There are no shortcuts here.  Tell your customers the truth or be prepared to suffer the consequences.  When you load a product listing or detail page on the Bell and Howell website you’ll notice the “loading” message where the item price will ultimately display (see the attached screenshot).  That’s the website going to SAP® in real time and returning the contract price for the user logged in at that moment.  Think about the effort (cost) of duplicating all of that information from SAP® into the Magento platform and making sure the two stay in sync.  Why bother when you can get it in real time?  Think of all the conversations we averted in the implementation process.  That’s a win win for everyone!  Your customer never has to worry about getting stale data and you have to spend zero energy (and have zero risk) making sure that the two platforms stay in sync.  The power of simplicity!BNH web page
  3. Make sure you cater to your Power Users –  I’ve often seen overzealous marketing departments get irrationally enthusiastic about the branding and merchandising possibilities of their B2B eCommerce websites.  To be sure the website should play a role in winning over new customers and generating net new business.  But frankly, that should never be the primary goal of your initial Magento SAP® Integrated B2B eCommerce project.  First order of business should always be to make life easier for your existing customers.  One way to accomplish that is to provide a “Quick Order” capability (see previous screenshot).  For many of your customers, all that rich content and merchandising simply gets in the way of doing business with you.  Give them a fast path to conducting business with you.

Both strategically and tactically, the Bell and Howell Magento SAP® Integrated B2B eCommerce website is doing the job.  Within a month of going live, the website is cash flow positive with the cost savings derived from reduced manual interventions offsetting the operational costs of running the site.  The salesforce is motivated to introduce their “modernized” website (they retired an aging SAP® CRM based solution) to their customers and their customers are voting with their clicks.

A shout out to our own Nathan Leach for marshaling through yet another successful Magento SAP® Integrated B2B eCommerce Website launch.  I also want to thank our partners Atlantic BT for their efforts in implementing Magento for Bell and Howell.  Of course, none of this would have been possible without the trust, commitment and effort from our friends at Bell and Howell!  I love working with motivated teams.

Anybody for a “shaft pusher finger“? :-)