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Unlike many of the businesses just starting out with their digital strategies, many of whom have never ventured into the world of online channels, PTL ONE came to us with an existing web store that they wanted to improve upon. Not only did their e-commerce customer experience need work, but it was the second investment they’d made in an e-commerce solution that didn’t quite fit their needs.
Attempt #1: PTL ONE has been investing in e-commerce for quite a long time. They launched their first website approximately 10 years ago, and while it connected to their SAP Business One ERP system and would push orders to the ERP, it was very limited, archaic and extremely slow. Why? Because it was not truly integrated, so PTL ONE still had to worry about syncing-related delays and unnecessary data maintenance. In short: PTL ONE was having challenges with a web presence that had transactional capabilities, but was often full of bugs and rendered an experience that was poor for the customer.
Attempt #2: Their first web store performed so slowly and poorly for customers, in fact, that the decision was made to move to another e-commerce solution. This second iteration ultimately provided a better experience for the customer, but did not offer any efficiency for the business.
As a result, PTL ONE pivoted again, seeking an e-commerce solution that —finally— would benefit both their business and their customers.
“Even with an e-commerce solution in place, it’s always been a challenge for us to find the balance between an online experience that was good for customers and that also was integrated with our ERP. Ultimately what we needed was a solution that would allow customers to have live information and also spare us having to manually re-enter orders. That’s Sana Commerce.”
Gary Rollar Jr. | VP of Operations at PTL ONE
Final Attempt – Sana Commerce: When PTL ONE sought out Sana, their main objective (beyond the balance between the customers’ benefit and the business’) was to find an e-commerce solution that offered real-time pricing to their customers. This is especially crucial for a business that offers negotiated pricing, tailored to customers and their needs.
“Most other solutions can only populate one pricing list, and then require you to create customer groups or segment in an overly complex way. We needed a solution that could make this simple; that would give us the ability to show up-to-date inventory information at all times and to manage that inventory from the ERP side. We wanted one central database to house all the information we’d push live to our website, and for all the orders placed via the web store to integrate back into our ERP,” says Rollar Jr.
Sana Commerce is unique in its ability to enable just that, and more. And after investing in Sana Commerce, PTL ONE took the extra step to further customize and tailor that experience for their customers.
Customizations to the Sana out-of-the-box (OOTB) solution included:
In spite of the customizations needed for the project and some initial integration challenges, the Sana team continually stepped up, and kept working to fix any challenges that came up throughout the implementation. “Sana really seemed determined to do whatever possible to make it a success and was committed to delivering on a strong project,” says Rollar Jr.
PTL ONE’s internal teams conducted extensive research into the market and B2B e-commerce competitors before investing in Sana Commerce. They wanted to ensure a clear lay of the land, and, naturally, to feel certain that they could identify the perfect solution for their needs after a decade-long search.
The e-commerce software market is saturated. And while their previous e-commerce solution did a good job of creating an experience that was strong for the customer, the major piece missing was that it wasn’t ERP-integrated. So, that’s where they started their search. Here’s what differentiated Sana:
“We evaluated just about every competitor in the market that also integrates with SAP Business One, and the challenge with most of them is that many claimed to be integrated, but then had a very archaic, old-school functionality and look to the website, or weren’t very user-friendly. Others came pretty close, when it comes to level of quality, but we knew that it would come with a big price tag. Sana is a big step beyond any competitor we evaluated; before now, we kept having to choose between the things we wanted.”
Consistent quality is the marker of any good solution, e-commerce or otherwise. And during every year that PTL ONE has had their Sana solution in place, their business has grown.
While they got initial feedback from customers that the web store’s performance was not up to par, their subsequent upgrade to Sana 9.3 eliminated those complaints entirely. With the Sana web store, PTL ONE’s customers are now able to do anything that they need to online without limitations, delays, or risk of unnecessary errors. They are placing orders, getting quotes, looking at past history and order status, viewing tracking information, and accessing their personalized real-time pricing — all of which is based on real-time data coming from the ERP.
“The web store is a big win for us. Before, [e-commerce] was just an addition to our business. Now it’s the livelihood of the business. We do all our customer applications via the website. We stopped printing catalogs. We do everything online through the site, and have now further customized by adding functionality like live chat (which lets us help our customers 10x faster than we could before).”
Looking more long term, the Sana solution will ultimately allow PTL ONE to scale more easily as a business. As more customers place their orders online, there will be fewer orders for their customer service team to have to enter manually. It will free up time: letting them spend it talking to customers and upselling. In fact, it often now takes the PTL ONE customer service team less time to engage with customers and upsell to them than it normally would just to input the orders themselves.
“Our [Sana] web store really helps us run more effectively. Our teams can sell better. Out of all the e-commerce solutions out there, there’s not a better option that I’ve seen for B2B. I did my research, and I talked to some of Sana’s customers before we made our decision. Sana lets you run the most efficiently, and we’ve found that between this web store and our former one, the difference is like night and day when it comes to improvements in speed and stability.”
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