At the time of the interview, Martin Spinnler had been working for erfal for more than seven years. Three years ago, he moved from the IT department to sales and, as the company's webshop manager, is primarily responsible for the cooperation with ESYON. The new webshop went live in September 2021. In the meantime, erfal also offers it as a mobile app.
Fit for mobile commerce: online shop modernization at erfal
Erfal: Sun and insect protection Made in Germany
When it was founded in 1984, erfal GmbH & Co. KG was still called Drechslerei Jörg Erler. Almost 40 years later , the former manufacturer of decorations and curtain rods has developed into a B2B all-rounder in the field of sun and insect protection.
Erfal manufactures each of its products at the company's site in Falkenstein, Saxony. The product portfolio is diverse. The company's core business is a wide range of privacy and sun protection products, such as various types of pleated blinds, roller blinds, double roller blinds, slat systems and blinds.
Items in the field of insect screens form the second large group of the product portfolio, including light well covers and insect screens for doors and windows. The company still sells curtain rods and rails today.
Responsive design as the top project goal
Erfal delivers its products exclusively to specialist retailers and consequently serves an exclusive clientele compared to a B2C online shop. Nevertheless, the manufacturer's own webshop is becoming increasingly important. "We offer our customers highly configurable products and a short delivery time of only a few days. Since we sell seasonal items, fast availability is all the more important," explains Martin Spinnler.
Fast delivery times begin with high-performance processes in the online shop – although by no means all customers actually use them. "Many customers still call us or order by fax." To ensure that even more orders are received via the online shop in the future, it should offer the best possible customer experience across all devices.
"An online shop like this evolves quickly: you add new functions, change something on the frontend and at some point everything seems somehow out of round. We were of the opinion that we had to become active again and modernize the shop. Strict attention was paid to responsiveness and usability so that our customers can go directly to the online shop on site and configure and order the desired products."
This claim gave rise to the idea of mapping the functions of the online shop in a mobile app. In this context, the modernization of the online shop was absolutely necessary. At the time of the interview, the erfal.shop app for Android and iOS devices has been available for download for five months. The new webshop went live back in September 2021.
A product is rarely manufactured twice in a row
As already mentioned, erfal manufactures products that are enormously diverse due to their configurability. The various possible combinations result in so many variants that erfal rarely produces the same product twice.
Customers can put together their desired product directly in the online shop. The function is based on ESYONs product configurator and can be accessed via the dealer login. The fact that all configuration options can really be mapped via the shop and automatically transferred to the company's ERP was very important to the Saxons – after all, the elimination of manual processes results in considerable time savings and reduces the error rate.
ESYON brings together expertise from web and ERP
Erfal's online shop goes far beyond the functionality of standard solutions. Therefore, the modernization required a partner who ideally had expertise in both the field of web development and the ERP environment. Erfal already found both at ESYON in 2016, when we were allowed to accompany the launch of the original shop. Due to the good experiences from the first cooperation, erfal decided to approach us again.
During the project, ESYON acted as the main contractor. However, the implementation of the redesign was done in cooperation with our partner Concepts & Creations. It is important to us that our customers have fixed contact persons to whom they can turn during the entire duration of the project – and beyond. Since 2016, erfal has been supervised by Rolf Primus (project management) and Alexander Hirschfeld (programming).
It would take just under a year from the start of the project to the go-live. During this time, the discrepancy between the design concept and the implementation of the redesign repeatedly posed challenges for the project participants. In the end, however, there was a satisfactory result for all parties.
"With projects of this size, there are always moments when you disagree. Overall, however, we are very satisfied with the course of events and would also work with ESYON again."
Mostly positive customer feedback
Of course, we want to know how erfal's online business has changed since the go-live.
"We have a very close relationship with our customers and are committed to supporting them in their online ordering process. This helps us to continue to strengthen customer relationships and make the customer experience comfortable for the visitor. We have been very well positioned here since the relaunch."
A clear trend is also recognizable: The share of online sales is growing steadily every year, he says. This trend continued unabated in the year following the relaunch – even though 2022 was a difficult year from a global economic perspective.
The feedback from customers is also overwhelmingly positive. Many buyers expressed their enthusiasm about the successful usability , and some of them had clever suggestions for improvement. In the course of the redesign, erfal has already been able to implement some innovations and will continue to implement further functions in the future in order to offer its customers even greater added value and convenience. The manufacturer will continue to be supported by ESYON.
Of course, we wish you every success! Mr. Spinnler, we would like to thank you very much for the good cooperation and the exciting interview! We look forward to supporting you and erfal in future tasks.