Business to business portal

ACCO Partner

A multi-lingual, multi-country business-to-business site allowing the client’s customers to order products.

ACCO Partner
The client

A multinational office products manufacturer with several well-known brands, such as Rexel and Nobo.

The brief

Replace several independent systems across different countries, whilst still integrating with each country’s back-end infrastructure.

The outcome

By getting their customers to use this site instead of legacy, non-digital systems, significant amounts of customer service time was saved as well as accuracy of order information.

What we did

The idea behind this site was to replace several existing, overlapping systems the client had across its European businesses. The site was to allow for the client’s customers to order products and see their account, invoicing and order data, which wasn’t possible using the existing disparate systems.

Similar but different systems
With three different back-end systems across Europe, we made the decision to use the data structure of the first one which was available and then fit the others around this, which was in hindsight the right thing to do, although it felt like guesswork to begin with! Two of the systems worked with SOAP-based web services, whilst the other used XML files and so offered no real time interaction. As such features were slightly different depending on which back-end system the customer was using.

Dynamic data
Each customer had their own set of product data, with separate pricing and price breaks depending on quantity. All this was shown in their native currency and preferred language. Alongside this, there was also sales order data which was shown as graphs and filtered by time period, type of product and brand (the client owns several brands).

Keeping it simple
With a site as complex as this, it was very important to hide the complexity from the end user and (as much as possible) from the site’s admin users. So we worked with the client to ensure values such as country trading companies were shown in a familiar way to them, which helped when assigning customers.

Further promotion
As the site’s launch was phased, there was a need to encourage some potential customers to sign up to the system (for one region it was to replace orders by fax!) To do this a voucher system was generated which gave new users a discount on their first order. This was also integrated into the registration confirmation email and the back-end reporting to measure the success of the campaign.

Tech stack
  • Stripe
  • Microsoft AX
  • .NET Core 3.1
  • Azure CosmosDB
  • SQL Azure
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