NetRelations built a common web platform for kitchen specialist Nobia, bringing business benefits and synergies to the different brands included in the group of companies.
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Nobia Group is a European kitchen specialist that offers more than 20 strong kitchen brands, including well-known brands on the Swedish market like Marbodal, HTH and Poggenpohl. The company is headquartered in Stockholm and the Group has over 7,500 employees.
Simplifying the customer journey
Nobia was faced with the challenge of having separate websites for its brands, each developed in house together with different suppliers and across different platforms. The features differed from site to site, and hosting was managed by a mix of external suppliers.
Nobia wanted to create a future external web platform on Episerver and find a long-term strategic partner to develop and support it. Following a rigorous procurement process NetRelations was chosen as partner, and an exciting journey towards a new web platform began in the spring of 2013.
Web platform Hercules sees the light of day
The technical web platform that emerged under the name Hercules is built on Episerver CMS in combination with peripheral products, services and integrations.
The Hercules platform is an enterprise solution that provides a wide variety of functionality primarily based on Episerver CMS.
The platform aims to allocate and optimize resource use based on an 80/20 rule. The goal is for at least 80% of the development or resource consumption to be common to the Group and 20% to brand-specific development.
The overall functionality includes:
- Extremely flexible template system using blocks to create dynamic solutions within and between websites
- Booking management for meetings, with links to ERP, CRM and email systems
- Image gallery based on ImageVault 4 and Episerver Find
- Catalog orders
- E-commerce microsites where the brands themselves can update their websites without requiring access to Episerver
- Collaboration workspace between customers and kitchen stores, with unique customer accounts to enable remote planning of their kitchen purchases
- Capability to integrate external CRM systems for tracking prospect activity
- Support for extending brand-specific functionality
When building the Hercules platform NetRelations focused on maximizing the potential of the blocks method, which offers enormous flexibility for controlling both appearance and logic within and between the various brands’ own websites.
The entire solution demanded the utmost in providing a modern, flexible and accessible user experience that would work seamlessly between different devices. A huge effort in responsive design has created one of the market’s most effective mobile interfaces.
The solution also needed to consider a global market comprised of different units, languages and behavioral trends.
The entire Group’s digital marketing and web platforms now converge in a single Episerver enterprise solution, whose configuration and version management are the only elements that differ when delivering the websites for Poggenpohl, HTH or another one of Nobia’s brands.
The spring of 2013 saw the launch of the first website, poggenpohl.com, on the Hercules platform as a proof-of-concept site. In 2014, the first full-scale website was launched based on Hercules, followed by the successive launch of all brand websites throughout 2014-2015. E-commerce functionality was also launched in 2015 by the Nobia Group’s e-commerce partner Isotope. NetRelations collaborated with Thinkable, Ziggy and Pond on user experience and design for the different brands and, in some cases, did this work itself.
From dreams of a new kitchen to a long-lasting relationship
The main purpose of building the digital platform — and the guiding directive in our strategic thinking — was to simplify the customer journey.
That’s why the entire solution and each individual brand site were developed to simplify and enhance the customer experience for visitors who had bought or were considering buying a kitchen.
Nobia wanted to mark a clear transition from static catalog to powerful lead generation tool. The goal of the new digital solution was to create a central point of control for content production.
The web solution therefore uses a service design perspective as its starting point, where each individual feature, content item or service supports one or more elements of the customer journey.
The service design was developed by carrying out extensive user studies before, during and after creation of the website by Nobia and other external partners such as Antrop.
A successful recipe for customer engagement
As a first step, our goals were to inspire and engage potential customers, drive relevant traffic to the physical stores (from an omni-channel perspective) and simply make it easier to buy a kitchen. So, at the outset we focused on creating inspirational content, simplifying customer dialogue and creating a higher integration and value add between the digital and the physical customer interaction.
Engagement begins in a connection outside of a brand’s website with a strong focus on presence and interaction, one that creates digital visibility in channels like social media. There are two ways to engage with social media: by sharing content from the current website and by getting inspiration from external channels and storing it on the site’s digital collaboration workspace.
On the website, visitors can choose to engage by creating their own account where they can gather inspirational ideas. Whenever they want to, the visitors can then share all the information with a selected kitchen store to speed up and simplify the buying process. It’s precisely this ability to collaborate with the customer through digital collaboration workspaces that has speeded up the buying process and has created a much greater understanding of customer motivation and behavior.
And, it results in greater customer engagement even before the in-person interaction as well as opportunities for more proactive lead nurturing throughout the process.
KPIs simplify prioritization and development
When developing the functionality, content and services for each site and for the platform, we kept a sharp focus on measurement and analysis from day one, using tools like Google Universal Analytics and Tag Manager.
Right from the outset, measurement methods and zero values were established. Since the launch, KPIs have been continuously evaluated and then used to support development priorities as well as enhancements to established functionality.
In addition to the detailed report, the major KPIs are aggregated in a dashboard. This dashboard overview enables the various stakeholders to compare themselves with each other and learn from each other.
The dashboard, also built on Episerver, is built on a separate domain in order to make it available to everyone. By using APIs for the platform, Google Analytics and Facebook, data is retrieved and then visualized in charts with clear indicators.
This information, both within and between the different brands, is also available to support marketers so that they can draw conclusions about trends and behavior across and between markets.
Qualitative user studies are provided on an ongoing basis by other external partners to Nobia, who conduct in-depth interviews and user analyses.
A business-driven solution that achieves established targets
Today, conclusions and business benefit have been documented to support ROI as well as the goal of more satisfied customers and increased sales. Here are just a few examples for the launched websites:
- Organic traffic has increased by approximately 30%.
- 15-20% of visitors visit the image gallery. These visitors tend to continue on to a store more than other visitors do.
- The most valuable conversion on the sites takes place when a visitor books an appointment with a kitchen designer. Since the launch, the total number of appointments increased by 20% thanks to simplified workflows and a more targeted digital marketing effort to achieve this target. In addition to direct appointments, the sites deliver beyond expectations when it comes to getting a bigger share of the visitors to search for and find information about the stores.
Besides the business benefits mentioned above, strong synergies and better quality and continuity are achieved by creating and operating a common platform where all brands can share the development and administrative costs associated with their digital marketing efforts and the web. Quality assurance is simplified, too, when headquarters can serve as a center of excellence.
The actual and specific customer value created is a simpler, faster and easier interaction between the customer and the brand.