Power of Five with commercetools

15 January 2019


Our first interview in our Power of Five, the series that gets to the nub of digital business, is with Mr. Hauke Rahm, Head of Customer Success from commercetools. Keep reading to discover how this cutting-edge platform helps retailers embrace digitization with ease. 


Our headless commerce platform separates frontend and backend functionality. So commercetools enables businesses to create seamless shopping experiences across all digital touchpoints. Our flexible API lets you engage with your customers via webshops, mobile apps, voice assistants, AR/VR applications, social networks, and others.

POWER OF FIVE: commercetools

1. Can you tell NetComm associates about your business?  

commercetools is a next-generation software technology company providing a cloud commerce platform. Our cutting-edge API approach helps retailers create brand value by empowering commerce teams to design unique and engaging digital commerce experiences today and in the future. Our flexible, modular architecture improves profitability by significantly reducing development time and the resources required to migrate to modern commerce technology and meet new customer demands. It is the perfect starting point for customised microservices.

commercetools was founded in 2006. Since September 2014, commercetools has been a subsidiary daughter company of REWE digital GmbH and is thus part of the REWE group. With offices in Germany (Munich, Berlin, and Jena), the Netherlands (Amsterdam) and the United States (Durham, /North Carolina), B2C and B2B companies from across the globe – including well-known brands such as Carhartt WIP, Cimpress (e.g.z.B. Tradeprint), Express, Geberit, RiedelRiedl Glas and Wizards of the Coast (Hasbro) – trust commercetools to power their digital commerce business.


2. You sponsored the B2B event hosted by Caterpillar. Can you summarize the case study you recently presented?                      

Stefano Giacomello (IT Manager, PDM, Sales & Marketing Applications at Geberit) and our partner agency foryouandyourcustomers will present Geberit's past and future business strategy. 

Geberit’s main challenge – and strategic pillar – was to continue optimizing business processes. To realize this potential, they needed to break new digital ground in the area of product presentation. The key was to digitize processes without changing the successful three-stage sales model or the established partner network.

To overcome the challenge, Geberit decided to develop a multi-channel business platform to conduct digital marketing. This platform, which is already live in over 30 countries, lets tradespeople find information about the sanitation specialist’s products online.

The interactive online product catalog has done more than simplify the selection of individual products, including the corresponding components and replacement parts; it offers architects, planners, plumbers, wholesalers,  and consumers an inspiring online experience.

Please click here to download the full case study


3. Which challenges did Geberit face?

  • Extremely technical products with many variants and technical details. For an example, please click here.
  • Details relevant to different markets were visible to everybody.
  • The business model does not enable online purchases. The journey from catalog to bathroom for a Geberit product has followed a clear structure for many years: the company sells its products to sanitation wholesalers where tradespeople designing their customers’ dream bathrooms order the products and start work on the installation. 


4. How did you overcome these challenges? 

  • We set up an elaborate product catalog known as an ‘interactive online product catalog’ for B2B customers. To make the process of finding and selecting the right products, systems and (replacement) parts even simpler, the company decided to adopt a new digital strategy with a flexible, multi-channel business platform at its core capable of providing product data across various retail channels.
  • We introduced “meta” information in attributes (the order of attributes, etc.), although the platform’s auto-scaling handles the huge amounts of data.
  • We provided a “wish list” feature which is essentially a shopping list - like a cart without prices. The customers can browse through the products and add them to their list. Instead of purchasing online though, they take the list to their trusted dealer. This provides a seamless connection between the catalog-only approach and the actual sale at a different touchpoint.


5. How would you define e-Commerce for your business?

Is it really e-Commerce if you’re not selling online? We think so. Going through multiple touchpoints in a sales cycle shouldn’t only connect systems; it has to connect business models. Geberit wanted to promote their products online to make it easy for customers to get their hands on all the information they need. The fact that actual sales happen in the physical world means that touchpoints are connected beyond API and software technicalities.


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