Fit for mobile commerce: Online shop modernisation at erfal

From 2016-2017, we were able to accompany the launch of the first webshop of erfal GmbH & Co. KG. In a follow-up project, the B2B store was modernised and above all optimised for mobile devices. We reviewed the project with Martin Spinnler, webshop manager at erfal, and took stock of how the online shop is being received by customers after the relaunch.

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Our interview partner: Martin Spinnler

Das Bild zeigt unseren Interviewpartner Martin Spinnler.At the time of the interview, Martin Spinnler has already been working for erfal for more than seven years. Three years ago, he switched from the IT department to sales and, as the company’s webshop manager, is mainly 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.

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 site in Falkenstein, Saxony. The product portfolio is manifold. 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 blinds and venetian blinds.

Insect protection articles 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 rails and tracks.

Usability on all end devices: Responsive Design as the primary project goal

Der neue erfal-Shop

The new erfal online shop, mobile and for the desktop

Erfal supplies its articles exclusively to specialist dealers and therefore serves an exclusive clientele compared to a B2C online shop. Nevertheless, the manufacturer’s own web shop 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 also all the more important”, explains Martin Spinnler.

Fast delivery times start with high-performance processes in the online shop – although by no means all customers actually use it. “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 unrounded. We felt that we had to get active again and modernise 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 products they want.”

This requirement gave rise to the idea of also mapping the functions of the online shop in a mobile app. In this context, the modernisation of the online shop was absolutely necessary. At the time of the interview, the app for Android and iOS devices has been available for download for five months. The new webshop already went live in September 2021.

Reading tip: Are you wondering what a mobile app is good for besides the browser version of your shop? In this article we show you 7 good reasons for mobile apps.

Customization: Ein Produkt wird selten zweimal hintereinander gefertigt

As already mentioned, erfal manufactures products that are enormously diverse due to their configurability. The different combination possibilities 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 the ESYON product configurator and can be accessed via the dealer login. It was very important to the Saxons that really all configuration options can be mapped via the shop and automatically transferred to the company’s ERP – after all, the elimination of manual processes results in considerable time savings and reduces the error rate.

Reading tip: Manual processes are also time-consuming for Amazon retailers. Read here why you should automate your Amazon ordering process with Microsoft Dynamics.

ESYON brings together competence from web and ERP

Ertal’s online shop goes far beyond the functionality of standard solutions. Therefore, a partner was needed for the modernisation who ideally had expertise both in the field of web development and in the ERP environment. erfal found both with ESYON back in 2016, when we were allowed to accompany the launch of the original shop. Due to the good experiences from the first collaboration, erfal decided to approach us again.

Here you can download our first case study with erfal as a PDF (German).

During the project ESYON acted as main contractor. However, the redesign was implemented in cooperation with our partner Concepts & Creations. It is important to us that our customers have fixed contact persons they can turn to during the entire project period – and beyond. Since 2016, erfal has therefore been supported by Rolf Primus (project management) and Alexander Hirschfeld (programming).

It should take just under a year from the start of the project to the go-live. Especially the discrepancy between the design concept and the implementation of the redesign presented the project participants with challenges again and again during this time. In the end, however, the result was satisfactory for all parties.

“With projects of this size, there are always moments of disagreement. Overall, however, we are very satisfied with the way things went and would work with ESYON again.”

Predominantly positive customer feedback

We naturally want to know how erfal’s online business has changed since go-live.

“We have a very close relationship with our customers and strive to support them in their ordering process online. This helps us to continue to strengthen customer relationships and make the customer experience convenient for the visitor. We are very well positioned in this regard since the relaunch.”

There is also a clear trend: the share of online sales is growing steadily every year, he says. This trend was also unbroken in the year after the relaunch – even though 2022 was a difficult year in global economic terms.

The feedback from customers is also predominantly positive. Many buyers expressed their enthusiasm about the successful usability, and some of them had clever suggestions for improvement at the ready. In the course of the redesign, erfal was already able to implement some innovations and will also implement further functions in the future in order to offer its customers even greater added value and convenience. In doing so, the manufacturer will continue to be supported by ESYON.

Of course, we wish you every success in this endeavour! 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.

We also support your project!

ESYON has been realising e-commerce projects for medium-sized companies for more than 10 years and combines competences from the areas of online shop, PIM and ERP. In a non-binding initial appointment, we discuss the possibilities for your project.

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