“Sana stood out because of how it’s layered on top of our Microsoft Dynamics ERP, to the point that it’s almost part of Dynamics AX. [Getting the right data to our web store] doesn’t require a push; it’s calling directly into our ERP. That, and the pricing made sense, so Sana was the right fit for us.”
– Bryan Belanger | VP of Technology at Ideal Protein
About Ideal Protein
Ideal Protein is a B2B health and wellness brand that works with 3,000+ global clinics to offer end-users a medically-developed weight-loss protocol run by fully licensed practitioners.
The Ideal Protein protocol — which has evolved to fit end-users’ needs over the last 20 years — includes both food and supplements and is focused on achieving one key goal: helping Ideal Protein’s end-users achieve sensible weight loss and sustainable weight maintenance.
“The purpose [of the web store] isn’t necessarily to drive more business. It’s to offer a tool for our customers to easily order from us, [and the Sana solution] has enabled that capability for us.”
– Bryan Belanger | VP of Technology at Ideal Protein
Ideal Protein: The Catalyst for Their Integrated e-commerce Project
Before choosing to partner with Sana Commerce, Ideal Protein was on the hunt for a new ERP system. At the time, all the systems and processes they were running were being built, maintained and executed upon internally, including:
- Their e-commerce platform
- Back-end logistics
- Any ordering, manufacturing, or finance-related processes
This way of working posed a major challenge with regards to efficiency and workload, but also stunted Ideal Protein’s ability to scale their business and accelerate growth.
Today, Ideal Protein’s vision is to become the leading weight loss and weight-management organization on a global scale, so finding an ERP system and e-commerce solution to support and expedite progress toward this goal was a no-brainer.
To build upon their existing success, streamline processes, and minimize internal workload, Ideal Protein selected Microsoft Dynamics AX to handle their existing back-end maintenance as well as their warehousing. They also decided to search for an e-commerce solution to layer on top of Dynamics AX in order to maximize their ERP investment and offer customers a strong e-commerce experience — without sacrificing the ease of maintenance they needed internally.
With Microsoft Dynamics AX in place, Ideal Protein chose Sana Commerce as their B2B e-commerce solution partner.
Why Sana Commerce?
Ideal Protein investigated a few B2B e-commerce platform vendors before selecting Sana, but ultimately made their choice based on two high-priority items: customer experience and ERP integration.
Sana’s ability to integrate with Dynamics AX tightly enough to pull real-time data into Ideal Protein’s web store was a major differentiator. It was also clear that being able to work out of Dynamics AX as a centralized data hub or single source of truth would allow Ideal Protein to simplify back-end maintenance and reduce internal workload ten-fold.
According to Ideal Protein’s VP of Technology, Bryan Belanger, the way Sana is integrated with and works together with Dynamics AX was what made our solution a stronger option than the others being considered. It also was, ultimately, a cost-effective option that made sense thanks to our ability to help our customers’ leverage their existing ERP investment:
“Sana stood out because of how it’s layered on top of our Microsoft Dynamics ERP, to the point that it’s almost part of Dynamics AX,” says Belanger. “[Getting the right data to our web store] doesn’t require a push; it’s calling directly into our ERP. That, and the pricing made sense, so it was the right fit for us.”
Since going live with their new web store, Ideal Protein has seen some challenges, but also some notable wins.
Post-Implementation: Customer Experience Wins So Far
For Ideal Protein, an integrated e-commerce investment was not about driving sales. Ideal Protein’s mission is larger, and is centered on understanding and fulfilling their end-users’ and their customers’ (the 3,000+ affiliated clinics) needs. Unlike many B2B businesses, Ideal Protein went live with a new ERP system and web store solely to act upon their commitment to customer satisfaction and to offer a better e-commerce experience in an evolving B2B market.
When it comes to their Sana web store, “the purpose isn’t necessarily to drive more business,” says Belanger; “it’s to offer a tool for our customers to easily order from us, [and the Sana solution] has enabled that capability for us.”
The fact that back-end maintenance and required internal workload are reduced is just an added bonus.
Their Sana Commerce web store, after the initial starter site build, underwent additional improvements to further enhance the experience. This included:
- User experience (UX) optimizations
- Enhanced shopping cart experience (with more real-time feedback and information for customers placing large orders)
- Speed and performance improvements
Nonetheless, despite going live with a strong, new-and-improved web store with Sana, Ideal Protein has seen slow but steady progress when it comes to customers acclimating to the new e-commerce experience. Ideal Protein’s VP of Technology, Bryan Belanger, called the integrated Sana web store “a true e-commerce experience,” compared to their former and more elementary, in-house solution.
To help customers transition to the new web store more seamlessly, Ideal Protein has taken a collaborative approach to further improving the existing web store.
“We have engaged our customers in helping us tweak and build upon the platform to make our web store even more user-friendly,” says Belanger.
Ideal Protein, thus far, has been slowly, successfully combating customers’ hesitation to change, and ultimately will benefit greatly from a future-facing, scalable approach to e-commerce.
As the B2B market continues to shift toward digitization, Ideal Protein will stand out as an early adopter of e-commerce and as a business committed to improving their way of working both online and offline. It’s only a matter of time before their customers adapt, and their success in executing upon better e-commerce will become even more apparent over time.
“We have engaged our customers in helping us tweak and build upon the platform to make our web store even more user-friendly.”
— Bryan Belanger | VP of Technology at Ideal Protein
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