IHL Canada

IHL uses real-time ERP data to provide a smooth omnichannel buying experience for professional buyers and consumers.

  • Canadian family-owned and operated business since 1985
  • Supplier of construction equipment with a product catalog of 15,000 SKUs
  • Focus on customer service
  • Uses a 120,000 square foot warehouse, and a 40,000 square foot showroom to meet all the needs of construction professionals and consumers under one roof

No more manual

web store syncs

Omnichannel

experience

Increased

efficiency

The challenge

Accurate pricing and easy on-the-go ordering

E-commerce was nothing new for IHL (Investments Hardware Limited): they launched their first web store almost 10 years ago. But the system was no longer able to keep up with IHL’s needs.

IHL has a massive product catalog, comprising 15,000 SKUs. “This made it really hard to keep consistent pricing across our online and offline channels,” says Nan Xu, E-Commerce and Digital Specialist at IHL. “The store uses the Dynamics NAV system to check the pricing, but the web store was running on a different system, so we occasionally had pricing discrepancies.” This led to some clients being hesitant to shop online. In order to keep prices aligned, IHL needed an e-commerce solution that had a real-time connection with Dynamics NAV.

IHL Challenge

Another important box the new web store needed to tick was facilitating self-service, no matter where IHL’s clients are. The ubiquity of smartphones provided a great opportunity for IHL to make ordering easier for their B2B clients, no matter their location.

“If people are on the job site and suddenly realize they need a product for the next day, they don’t have to give us a call. Instead, they can simply order it from the website on the smartphone and have it delivered the next day,” says Xu. A responsive web store optimized for mobile devices would let clients place their orders anytime, anywhere.

The solution

No more manual data synchronization and a responsive site

Xu started looking into e-commerce solutions designed specifically for Dynamics NAV, and soon came across Sana Commerce. The Sana e-commerce solution is designed to integrate seamlessly with ERP systems like Microsoft Dynamics NAV. One of the advantages of this is the real-time connection between the web store and ERP, which ensures that the data clients see online is always accurate and up to date. Before, IHL had to manually sync the web store with the latest inventory and pricing data.

Thanks to the Sana solution’s seamless integration, manually running scripts to update the site is a thing of the past.

Another thing relegated to the past: a web store that only works on the desktop. “Our previous website wasn’t designed to be responsive. It would have required a lot of coding work manually,” says Xu.

IHL’s new Sana web store is a completely different story. “As long as your design is there, you can do pretty much everything on the home page,” says Xu. “You can do a lot from the Sana Admin — the platform has been set up for responsive design for tablet and mobile, so you don’t need to worry about that part.”

With our previous web store, we tried our best to update the data as much as possible, but there was no perfect way to keep it in sync all the time. Now that we no longer need to run scripts to keep the information updated, we can spend the majority of our time updating the web store with additional information and enhanced content, such as product pictures and videos.

IHL Canada Nan Xu | E-Commerce and Digital Specialist at IHL

The results

Improved efficiency and omnichannel sales

Thanks to its Sana Commerce web store, IHL benefited from the following results:

  • Improved efficiency: IHL’s in-house e-commerce team has shifted their focus. “Now that we no longer need to run scripts to keep the information updated, we can spend the majority of our time updating the web store with additional information and enhanced content, such as product pictures and videos,” says Xu. “I always call this data quality — spelling mistakes, incorrect descriptions, and outdated pictures. Now our team is dedicated to working on this, and they have the time to improve the content quality — big or small.”
  • Omnichannel sales: It isn’t just home shoppers who are benefiting from IHL’s integrated approach to e-commerce “We’re going to integrate retail innovation kiosks in the store and the Contractor Desk” explains Xu. “Customers can come to the store and actually touch the product, and my colleagues can provide more product information. But they can then place their orders via the digital kiosk, which is actually the web store on a screen. And the next day we book an appointment to deliver the order.” But this isn’t the only way IHL’s new web store is bridging the gap between clicks and bricks. “A lot of contractors prefer to place orders at night and select in-store pickup for the next day,” says Xu. This lets contractors rest assured that the necessary item is in stock. “In the morning our store staff helps them load the truck, and the clients head straight to the job site because they’ve already paid online.” This enables IHL to provide savings for their clients, both in terms of time and money.

The Sana platform has been set up for responsive design for tablet and mobile, so you don’t need to worry about that part.

IHL Canada Nan Xu | E-Commerce and Digital Specialist at IHL

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