No other sector is evolving quite as rapidly as trading and retail at the moment. The digitalisation of processes and the use of SAP Commerce are key elements of this. Möbel Pfister AG is working with webtiser/Swisscom to give its customers a shopping experience that benefits all parties.
Text: Andreas Kunkel,
Shopping is about more than just acquiring and paying for goods. Shopping is an experience. It is one that is underpinned by choice, customer service and wide-ranging advice, whether online or from well-informed and flexible sales teams This is a philosophy that is shared by Möbel Pfister AG. With support from the e-commerce experts at webtiser, the furniture specialist has now implemented this approach in a forward-looking system. Swisscom acquired webtiser at the beginning of 2021 as a means of enhancing its existing expertise and experience in SAP Customer Experience.
Möbel Pfister AG’s objective was to build up a comprehensive and flexible SAP-based digital retail platform. Based on digitalised processes with automatic synchronisation with SAP ERP, the aim was to give customers an integrated shopping experience, target advice more specifically at customer needs and shine the spotlight on its range of products and services in the best possible way. Möbel Pfister AG, based in the town of Suhr, is Switzerland’s leading furniture retailer. The company operates 18 branches across the country and, with 40,000 products available to buy through its website, is one of the biggest online providers on the Swiss furniture market. It employs more than 1,200 people.
Part of Pfister’s exclusivity includes the option to customise furniture. Specific colours, materials, shapes and additional elements and accessories can be configured to suit each customers tastes and factored into the price. To find out details or check stock and delivery options, sales representatives have previously had to traipse back and forth between the customer, standing by an item of furniture in the showroom, and a central desk. Moreover, for example, a sofa in the shop would feature only a certain fabric in a certain colour. If the customer wanted something different, the salesperson would have to refer to little swatches and hope that the customer had a sufficiently vivid imagination.
Special stylus-operated tablets introduced as part of the project have significantly improved the customer experience. Interior design consultants can now use the tablet to present all the relevant information in real time, including all the details about warranties, delivery times, discounts and product care, for example. In addition, the screen can reveal the desired configurations before the customer’s very eyes in almost no time at all. If the interior design consultant is visiting the customer at home, he or she can also use a tool on the tablet to furnish a room with virtual versions of the chosen items.
Digital sales representative for an optimised customer experience in store and at home.
All information and options are gathered on a retail platform based on SAP Commerce, and it is possible to add more features to the platform at any time. SAP Commerce is, in turn, linked to SAP ERP. SAP Commerce is the basis for the use of SAP Accelerator modules, which already offer a wealth of functions for a retail platform. That gives Pfister a sophisticated system of available data, clearly structured processes and various means of providing information, filtered by level of access. Möbel Pfister AG’s websites now offer its customers a range of information and configuration options comparable to what they would find in one of its showrooms, including for training purposes and for online points of sale. The virtual sales presentations on offer also gave Pfister a crucial competitive advantage when shops had to be closed due to COVID-19. Furthermore, the system has been designed from the outset to allow it to be adapted to suit specific requests and accommodate new ideas at any time. ‘In the retail platform, we now have a digital assistant that provides an enormous amount of added value and allows us to act quickly – we really couldn’t be without it,’ as Dominik Müller, project manager at Möbel Pfister AG, says in the following video.
Pfister went live with the initial version of the platform just four months after webtiser/Swisscom took on the project. From that point onwards, its interior design consultants also had the opportunity to suggest improvements and set an agenda for which aspects should be implemented next. The prioritisation was then adjusted in collaboration with webtiser/Swisscom, and the experts put the modifications into practice in the space of two weeks. This involved testing minute details of every ticket. All told, the project took 14 months.
The basic concept, the implementation of the retail platform and the success of Pfister’s customer experience management (CEM) are standard-setting for other Swiss companies wanting to focus their services and customer-facing work on future requirements and expectations with the aid of digital processes. All the more so as the project has shown that companies can boost their agility and resilience to respond rapidly and confidently to challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
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