Heuschen & Schrouff
EasyOrder brings a taste of Asia to Europe
In the fast-moving food import industry, giving customers the best possible service is vital. When Heuschen & Schrouff Oriental Foods Trading BV wanted to start selling online, it turned to ECi EasyOrder for the solution.
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Heuschen & Schrouff now provides full online product information, is enjoying increased sales and is exploiting new promotional opportunities.
Founded in 1963, Heuschen & Schrouff Oriental Foods Trading BV is the market-leading distributor of Asian food and non-food items in Austria, Benelux and Germany. The Netherlands-based company is part of the Heuschen & Schrouff Foods Group which employs 200 people. It offers over 3,000 Asian products to wholesalers, shops, supermarkets and other outlets.
The company has long relied on a powerful SAP ERP system which covers everything from sales and distribution to purchasing, warehousing and financials. But according to commercial director Marc Boits, ordering was inefficient.
“Customers could fill in an order form on our website. The back office then had to print the form and manually put the order into our SAP system,” says Boits.
Manual data entry was also used when taking telephone, faxed or other written orders. Not only did staff have to know the right product codes but they were constantly answering queries about price, stock levels or “best before” dates.
“We were spending valuable time just putting numbers into a system whereas we could better spend that time discussing new products or promotions with customers.
Although the company had extensive knowledge about Asian food, its inability to take orders 24/7 was a disadvantage in a competitive market. Giving customers more product information along with proper online ordering was essential.
Heuschen & Schrouff realised that tight integration with the SAP ERP system was the key. Its database held everything required from product codes and stock levels to order histories.
“We knew that if we could implement an e-commerce system which could use the data straight from SAP, it would give us an enormous benefit,” says Boits. “Another objective was to choose a system which had a user-friendly interface.”
An essential goal was finding a single supplier to deliver the right solution. ECi Software Solutions had significant experience with major food industry companies such as the Musgrave Group and its Londis trading brand.
“ECi was the best match on all of our requirements: one partner, experience in the field, a good consumer-friendly technique, and the proof of connection with SAP,” says Boits.
A joint project team of ECi consultants and Heuschen & Schrouff was formed to implement the ECi EasyOrder e-commerce system. The consultants had a very good business understanding and quickly responded to questions.
The company’s SAP database was carefully mapped to ECi EasyOrder, the webshop’s look and feel was determined and an implementation plan produced. Backed by ECi training services, Heuschen & Schrouff then wrote an internal training manual.
ECi EasyOrder was implemented as software as a service by ECi, taking the first live orders in June 2013.
Two-way data interchange with the SAP database gives customers real-time access for pricing, availability and “best before” dates while their orders are automatically sent via EDI to SAP. “ECi EasyOrder is simple, reliable and proven. We see a good uplift in sales for those customers using the system. Using banner ads, we can trigger customers to buy new items or promotional combinations,” says Boits.
The sales increase from the e-commerce customers is an impressive 10% so far. Although the online illustrated product catalogue was intended for customers, sales staff also find it useful during telephone conversations. EasyOrder further provides users with an overview of orders, order lists and most frequently ordered products.
The next step means encouraging even greater use of EasyOrder as a 24/7 sales channel through built-in sales options, promotional boxes or banner ads. It may soon be customised to give intelligent reminders when previously out-of-stock items become available. Backed by flexible ECi e-commerce technology, Heuschen & Schrouff is leading the way for Asian food imports.