During a Litium customer and partner event held earlier this year – three of Litium’s customers; Vinga of Sweden, Pacs On and Lindex tackled questions about customer expectations, internationalization and sustainability and offered their views on the future of e-commerce. We have gathered the highlights from the discussion here.

Vinga of Sweden is growing on the international level What are the lessons you have learned from that, and what are your recommendations for others who want to enter a new market?

Niklas Larsson – Business Developer, Vinga of Sweden:

“Three years ago, we started cultivating the German market, and that was really when we learned the biggest lessons. We are quite widely known in Sweden, with over 600 resellers and a strong focus on building relationships.  When we started out in Germany, we thought we could keep doing things the same way we do in Sweden, but it didn’t work at all because the sales process is completely different there with a much greater focus on cold calling. We simply needed to go back to the drawing board and decided to take a new approach by analyzing the market. Given the fact that our business is largely based on corporate gifts, we took a closer look at the tax limits for giving gifts and also analyzed traditions around gift giving in Germany. We mapped out where and when gifts are given and also added a dedicated resource staff member to cultivate our new markets in depth. We have seen significantly better results from this effort, and it has increased our sales in the German market by around 260 percent over the past year.” 

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Malin  Bodolla
Chief Marketing Officer
B2B digital commerce insights
In this year’s B2B study, Scandinavian B2B Commerce 2020, we take a closer look at the driving forces that push Scandinavian B2B companies to make the leap into digital sales. There are a variety of reasons for the move towards increased digital sales, but our study shows that some reasons are more common than others. We will unpack the results of the study here and consider what might be behind them. 

Simplified administration ranks as the top motivator

The results of the study clearly show that the end result of a company’s digital sales efforts go hand in hand with expectations, at almost all levels. But what are the market forces that are steering us towards an e-commerce segment based more and more on digital solutions? And why is this the case?

In our study, both B2B companies planning to digitize their sales (64%) and those already engaged in digital sales (61%) report that the primary motivator is a desire to ease their administrative burden and/or increase sales efficiency. The fact that a company may place a greater focus on reducing internal costs rather than, for example, increased sales, may seem a bit counterintuitive. But when we look more closely at the way B2B companies function and operate, this prioritization seems more logical.

In a B2B company, internal administrative processes are often more complex than they are in a B2C company. Therefore, any inefficiencies in internal processes put a strain on resources and drive costs. Improvements to these processes can save a company a lot of time and money, which can have a significant impact on a company's bottom line.

Fredrik Hrdlicka
Sales Executive
Eleiko, a company originally known for selling small kitchen appliances, underwent a major transformation in the late 1950s. When the company decided to stop making toasters and waffle irons and start producing weightlifting bars made exclusively from high-quality Swedish steel, the move raised eyebrows across the entire weightlifting world. Since then, Eleiko bars have taken the world by storm–not to mention the role the bars have played in setting over 1,000 world records. Today, Eleiko supplies equipment for weightlifting, powerlifting and strength training to international competitions and training facilities across over 180 countries. Eleiko now finds itself ready for the next transformation. After selling equipment exclusively to professional buyers, the company is now launching its first e-commerce outlet.

New lifestyle patterns accelerated launch plans

Erik Blomberg, CEO and owner of Eleiko Group AB, explains how the company had been developing a strategy to launch an online store for about a year. Initially, the company planned on launching a new platform towards the end of 2020, but the outbreak of the coronavirus and the lifestyle changes it brought around the world resulted in a change in plans:

– When avid exercise enthusiasts could no longer hit the gym as usual, the demand for home fitness products increased quickly. The biggest demand was in the UK, where just about every day we received inquiries directly from consumers who wanted to be able to exercise safely in their home. We decided we needed to act fast! 

Although the initiative to invest in e-commerce was accelerated by the outbreak of the pandemic, Eleiko was already well prepared in many ways.

– We had done a thorough study and evaluated a number of alternatives and platforms for how we would implement our solution at the beginning of the year. Now we decided to put the plan into effect immediately rather than waiting for the fall as planned, Erik says.

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Malin  Bodolla
Chief Marketing Officer
Litium is represented in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. We have now strengthened the team in Norway with a new star seller, Hans Audun Sørensen. It's great to finally have Hans on board and although he got an unusual start depdending on the corona situation, he has already found his place in the team. Warm welcome Hans, we all look forward to meeting you irl when these crazy times are over. But until you get the chance to meet Hans, as you can get to know him a little bit here.
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Linda Ericsson
Marketing Coordinator
For e-commerce companies, products are a vital part of operations. Of the many different systems e-retailers use, the system that manages product information is core. Still, for the separate systems to be useful to each other, the information must be used correctly. In other words, having a well-integrated PIM (Product Information Management) system has become a condition for companies to quickly be able to adapt to new terms and not lose momentum.

On the highly competitive market of e-commerce, speed is one of many key factors. Companies of the future must be able to adapt to customer demand and get their products out onto many different channels quickly – on websites with e-commerce, in print and on social media. Here, the system support tools used are business critical, in particular, a company's PIM, making it possible to manage all types of production information centrally. PIM has become important for the customer experience since the system facilitates for e-retailers to distribute the updated information required for selling and marketing products digitally.

“As an e-retailer, you have to be able to manage your products in a structured manner so that you can reach your customers with information on what makes your products superior and why they should buy them. We have PIM integrated into our e-commerce platform, giving us the benefit of a quicker time-to-market. Separate PIM systems require integrations, which are not only unnecessarily time-consuming, but also increase the risk of technical problems and performance issues. This would mean not getting your products out for sale on time,” says Ludvig Block, CPO of the Litium e-commerce platform.

The Ultimate Guide to PIM for B2C

Ludvig Block
R&D Manager
Many brands rely a great deal on their retailers, especially companies that have traditionally sold their products physically. The future is in for a major shift. More companies are deciding to take control of their own brands and to communicate directly with their end customers. The journey onto the internet not only has a positive impact on companies, but stronger brands also benefit retailers.

An increasing number of companies are wrestling with the issue of taking greater ownership of their own brands, digitally, without ending up in conflict with their retailers.

Digitalization and the rapid rise of e-commerce have resulted in B2B and B2C companies suddenly being able to talk directly with their customers and strengthen their own brands. In spite of this, many rely on their network of retailers and hesitate to take the step to go fully digital. In the opinion of Fredrik Hrdlicka, Sales Executive of the Litium e-commerce platform, companies need to take control of their brands and invest in their digital platforms if they want to continue to be competitive. 

7 step guide to getting started with B2B e-commerce

“Companies that have a long history of physical commerce and who have had close collaboration with retailers are especially likely to hesitate when it comes to a new way of relating to their end customers. Nowadays, you can only keep existing customers and attract new ones if you go digital. By selling directly to the end consumer, you can relay a different feel around your brand than your retailers can, and you can show so much more,” Fredrik explains.

Platform an important tool

By owning your brand, you have the opportunity to reach new markets. Through the internet, companies can aim their marketing efforts to their end customers by communicating directly with them. And in this, your digital e-commerce platform is an important tool.

Fredrik Hrdlicka
Sales Executive
Black Week and Christmas are rapidly approaching and e-commerce is facing its most hectic period. A lot can happen when there is a greater-than-normal load on your e-commerce site, and something going wrong can have dire consequences. You have to be prepared lest your customer experience be impacted by high traffic, e.g. in the form of delayed response times or, in the worst case, that the site crashes. That’s why we put together a check list of concrete tips for ideally preparing for a period in which uptime and response times are vital.
Getting started late? Keep in mind that it's better to have a simple plan than none at all. If you can’t check off everything, at least ensure that you have an overall plan. Start with the most business critical aspects and work from there. Good luck!

1. Assign a project manager

Black Week and Christmas retail are a project in and of themselves in which many people are involved (in-house and out at suppliers) making it’s easy to miss or forget things. Therefore, it is important to assign a project manager to be responsible for ensuring your progress. If you don’t have the time or resources in-house, you may benefit from bringing in an external resource during this period. You will be paid back for investing in this many times over since you can reuse and refine the processes you set now for the coming years.

2. Identify business parameters 

It is important to prepare by setting clear targets. Start from your current situation, compare it to last year and define your expected targets and a best case scenario.Use existing data and set the most important KPIs for your particular line of e-commerce – visits, response times, sessions, turnover, etc. For your e-commerce site, also set performance limits that, once reached, you will need to take particular measures in the case something arises. If you already have a good idea of your KPIs from the start, you will actually be working from real data rather than just a feel for how things are going. This way, you can set real fact-based targets for what you want to achieve rather than let your decisions be determined by emotion.  

3. Involve your suppliers

Compile a list of your suppliers and document areas of responsibility and contact persons. Distribute this information to your other suppliers as well as to your own organization so everyone knows who to contact should anything unexpected arise. It is good to have one supplier (preferably a technical implementation partner) as your single point of contactwho can be in charge of the contact chain. 

Your e-commerce is an ecosystem of services – from main suppliers such as platform and operational suppliers to technical implementation partners and all auxiliary services, such as for payments, etc. It goes without saying that it is vital that you are clear in your communication with your most business-critical suppliers. In addition to supplying contact information, it is important to inform suppliers of your market plan as well as through which channels your promotions will be distributed so that everyone is aware of and prepared for possible peaks on your site. 

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Daniel  Hultgren
Bilder från detaljhandelsbutik.
Just because more and more stores are closing doesn’t necessarily mean we have to talk about the death of retail. Certain people argue that it's more a case of a retail renaissance that we are experiencing right now. Traditional stores are on their way out, but are leaving room for increasingly experience-based premises.

During the 2018 D-Congress in Gothenburg, the “new store” was a hot topic of conversation. The majority of people there agreed that bricks and mortar stores have gained an entirely new purpose with the forward march of e-commerce. New expectations from customers create new and higher demands on what a store should be today. According to a survey by Eventbrite the millennial generation puts far more value on experiences and events compared to earlier generations.

Gustav Tranback
Skylt med text
With 490 stores in 18 countries and EU-wide online sales, fashion chain Lindex is anything but a rookie when it comes to omnichannel sales. After having an online presence for over 10 years, Lindex has more experience and greater knowledge of digital retailing than most retailers. Lindex is now on the threshold of the next generation e-commerce solution. With the aim of further developing its leading position within omnichannel retailing, the plan is to launch all-new e-commerce on the market in 2018.

Henrik Sörstedt joined Lindex’s digital journey two years ago. Since fall 2017, he has been Director of Customer Experience, a new role within Lindex with responsibility for the brand's digital strategy and channel development which aims to supports Lindex’s e-commerce operations.

Åsa Lundborg Ling