How a PIM and eCommerce investment accelerated the plush business

Learn how Nature Planet approach B2B eCommerce and why they have been successful.

Omnichannel experiences and customer expectations have changed the ways brands, retailers and manufacturers engage with customers – and recent years have drastically impacted this.

Hear from Forrester senior analysts Joe Cicman and Amanda LeClair how Product Information Management and eCommerce complete and enrich each other. Learn how you can have product data drive product experience resulting in better commerce experiences with increased bottom-line results.  

Nature Planet is one of the world’s leading designers and distributors of quality products for Zoos, Aquariums, Museums and Family parks. With over 1.200 B2B customers to serve they were looking into new channels to offer better B2B Customer Experiences and increase internal efficiency so that Nature Planet can continue the accelerated growth. 

The investment into Product Information Management and eCommerce is a strategic approach to being a data-driven organization that has strong growth goals to reach. 

Learn from Nikolaj Bramsø, eCommerce Manager at Nature Planet, on their approach to B2B eCommerce and their success over the past >1 year. 

Watch this webinar to learn:

  • Hear from leading Forrester analysts on how they perceive the current and future market 
  • How PIM & eCommerce strengthen each other and scale bottom-line result
  • The path to investing in a B2B eCommerce customer portal from Nature Planet
  • The role that PIM plays at Nature Planet
  • Direct take-aways when starting your next eCommerce project

Nature Planet supports several NGO's to help red-listed animals. For every sign-up Dynamicweb will donate €10, and for every attendee Novicell will donate €20. 

Transcription
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Eric: Welcome to today's webinar today, we will be talking with Nature Planet and also NOVICELL about how a PIM an e-commerce investment can help accelerate the plush business. It's quite an exciting webinar that we have ahead of us. It's certainly not your everyday products, but that makes this all the more fun and exciting to talk about.

With that, I would like to go over to Nicole Bramso and [inaudible: 00:28:33-00:28:35] from Nature Planet and NOVICELL. Really exciting about this one. So Nikolai, please feel free to tell us a little bit more about yourself and Nature Planet.

Nikolaj Bramso: Thank you very much, Eric. As you probably can see in the background, it's a very soft industry. My name is Nicolaj Bramso and I'm working with Nature Planet as an e-commerce manager.

Nikolaj Bramso: Formerly, I've have sort of a different kind of digital roads around Europe. Right now, it's all about plush, as you can see here from our showroom in Denmark. You can see here it's it's just about the plush Nature Planet as a business selling plush merchandise, et cetera, for aquariums, museums and zoos, mainly around Europe.

Nikolaj Bramso: We've done that for quite some time now for plus 15years, starting as a very small company with a very warm heart for making a difference. So all the time the company have lived. We have actually used a lot of the time in finding out the best way to support. So, we're doing a lot of charity as well as you can see my little friend. We are supporting Plan International to the rank of Tang and rep and networks every year with the percentage of our turnover and in our lifetime, actually we have to offer that amount of money. So we have actually built 16 schools in Indonesia based on our sales here, so we are very much supporting. We think that it's important as a business and again, not just to add values, but bring [inaudible00:30:28-00:30:30]

Eric: Fantastic, and we're happy to contribute with our little part of that as well today. Luna, would you like to briefly talk about you and NOVICELL.

Luna: Yes, sure. my name is [inaudible00:30:43-00:30:45] I'm responsible for our department, working with Dynamic Web. At NOVICELL, we work with business online, as our tagline says. So, everything online is what we do. We've been helping Nature Planet and Nikolaj booked his platform right now. The site, the integrations, the whole workflow they use. He'll be doing that together with each partners. It's been a good time.

Eric: With that, let's dive right into it, and we have a couple of questions in this interview discussion style today. So Nikolaj what were the key reasons to invest in [inaudible00:31:24-00:31:26] e-commerce for Nature Planet?

Nikolaj Bramso: First of all, we want to show our products to our customers and we have to do it in a more efficient way. And again, we have businesses and we want to scale them. We have a bright, ambitious growth strategy, and part of that is doing e-commerce, first of all, to our B2B customers. So, we have to serve all our products in a professional way to our customers so they can trade whenever they want to and in a way that meets their expectations.

Eric: Really good, so at the same time, you guys have been investing in that, and I would like to learn a little bit more about the approach that Nature Planet had towards omni e-commerce for Nature Planet, right? So what were the elements at play here? What were the experiences getting there?

Nikolaj Bramso: First of all, we did start with COVID, we have some small experience wwith a little sugar set up. And that was OK, but it was not linked to our EIP system. It was not linked to our warehouse, which meant that the more success we are have there, the more administrative work we will create for ourselves, which is of course not a good way to go. So, we looked into which platforms are available, what would meet our needs and expectations without being a gigantic solution for a small company.

Nikolaj Bramso: Then we returned to [inaudible] and NOVICELL and to start off with Dynamic Web and it's been a pleasure. Maybe to go a bit forward in your questions, as we did start up. From start to launch, it was done in three months. Actually, to be honest, a low budget. So, everybody was happy. Our management, our board was happy. Of course, there were bumps in the road. There will always be bumps in the road, but we did manage. And again, we have just adjusted and learned over time and we're getting better and better with the support of this team.

Eric: Yes, thank you. definitely. We've talked about this before Nikolaj and I think every time you go into this endeavor of changing a bunch of your of how you work internally, right? Introducing a PIM system and introducing new sales channels and so on. There is there's a bunch of learnings on the way where even though we had a lot of operational meetings and so on workshops, how do we how to resolve this?

Eric: We will end up with issues we did not foresee either one of us, right? So I think it's a it's a very good teaching experience as well to actually learn your own business better once you do this, because there are some choices on the way where you have to decide how to do this best. How do we make this scalable without making issues? It's like a huge project, right?

Nikolaj Bramso: Yes, it could be worth again mentioning in the first weeks. Actually, we had a conversion rate from male invites to entering the platform, that was above 20 percent, and as of today, more than 50 percent of the people invited to the shop are actually training customers.

Eric: That's fantastic numbers and fantastic growth in the numbers.

Nikolaj Bramso: Yes, and honestly, in this now seven month, we've been online but we have actually transformed the 14 per cent of our turnover into e-commerce. So, it's quite positive. I would say.

Eric: Fantastic. So, to maybe take a step back to the building of the implementation and the integration, I also understand that ERP integration was, of course, a key element here, and then after that, or at the same time, Runa. Can you guys tell us a little bit more about that?

Nikolaj Bramso: Yes, from Nature planets were [ inaudible00:36:55-00:36:59] early last year we did start implementing a central AP system. Again with the knowledge that we needed a very modern platform to meet the needs of our future e-commerce system. The good thing with the Dunham Group is it's born with a with a base integrator because of weather where the most basic stuff is already done for you. So there's actually a lot of wind there. Of course you cannot do everything, but it really helped us a lot of the way in achieving our goal.

Luna: Yes, maybe two to expand on that, actually, it's integration now. What actually goes for both the platform itself and also the integration that we have some baseline. right? So, we don't have to start from scratch because of that. So there's a huge amount of task, if you have to do everything from scratch. It's like the border radius of the search bar, right? That's a lot.

Luna: So of course, I had a starting point, a template from Dynamic Web. [inaudible00:37:01-00:37:03] The same goes with the integration as well, that we have a baseline we can we can build upon. So, as soon as we have established the connection with the Business Central, where we have data flowing and then we have to go from there, see what's needed, what needs to be expanded upon. But it's a huge help. Also, time wise that we do not start from scratch every time.

Eric: I think that's a very good point. Nikolaj, go ahead.

Nikolaj Bramso: Yes, because now, one thing that had been really important for us, especially this. I can see this COVID times where as well shipping is quite challenged around the world. I was sharing our stock level to our customers who have been really important and now we are updating stock every 15 minutes, meaning that the customers can always dig into our shop whenever they want, and if we for some reason have sold out of them, for instance lines, then they might be interested in the or whatever. At least they can see what's on the shelf and they can do the trade, so that we had a lot of positive response from our customers on that.

Eric: That's maybe because I think you're actually digging through to the next question I would have is the customer portal. So what are customers are able to see there, but I have to admit, I think you answered that question, if not half already.

Nikolaj Bramso: Yes, for the moment now we are offering around 3000 different products at the page, which is as well categorized and set up with a different kind of field opportunities to make products relevant. For instance, if you have a dino puck, you're not that interested in elephants or fish. So again, here it's very much about trying to meet that exact customer's expectation. We, of course, have products, we have stock levels. We are offering customers specific prizes because there's all kinds of search across all our products, which is very neat for them actually to have a person. If you're looking into a line, you can have a line, plus you can have a line magnet, you can have a lot of the line food books. A lot of stuff would line beside that as well.

Nikolaj Bramso: We are offering some declarations of conformity due to EU regulations. We are we are obliged to to offer different color documentation, which is of course, available in three languages. Quite soon we will as well of opportunities to do that catalog as well.

Amanda: I think actually we didn't actually planned this, but this is sort of a perfect bridge to talking about the PIM system because all of the stuff you mentioned now regarding both filters and search and the declarations and so on in three languages, all that has to be handled data wise, right? That's where I think you've been really happy with the PIM system. I know, Nikolaj and the options it provides here. Because if you want to be able to to search for a dinosaur, then there are down to big ones and green ones and with or without teeth or what do I know right, or on a date that has to be in there and it has to be structured and has to be translated. So, I think that would be some long days if we did not have a PIM system to help support all that.

Nikolaj Bramso: Yes, sure. That's very true.

Eric: That's maybe a dangerous question because I don't know this. I don't know the answer is. Did Nature Planet come off the digitilisation of PIM system before or did all the data live in the ERP system before?

Nikolaj Bramso: We didn't have a permit system. [inaudible00:40:52-00:40:52]

Eric: And that was probably an experience, to say the least.

Nikolaj Bramso: Yes, those are some room for improvement to be very diplomatic. Yes, and what you what we have used Dynamic Web for is the platform actually to help us sort out and structure. So in that sense, Dynamic Web as well have been a mediator for us in this process. We've learned a lot by some quite good corporate opportunities in the PIM system.

Nikolaj Bramso: So again, looking into a world where we have as well, we'll focus on on a product lifecycle. All products have a lifecycle and again, handling that. From the start having this, to maybe changes. I think there'll always be lines, of course. But again, some products, if they don't sell, of course, we don't continue with them. So all products have a life. So it's as well a way of handling the product lifecycle in terms of what should be presented to the customers.

Eric: Ernie, you want to dive into that one or shall we continue maybe for the next question?

Luna: Yes, I think no further comments from here.

Eric: So, the following question is also related to the customer portal question earlier, and I'm curious to learn more, if you already know more Nikolaj about how are your customers experiencing the customer portal, the new environment that you guys built?

Nikolaj Bramso: It's a reflection on the figures mentioned earlier. They're very positive. In our market. We are probably the first in doing this. So, it's a new thing for the for the zoos and museums to present it to this mythology and structured way of actually trying to make them better, trying to make them understand their business better as well. One thing that have been quite mandatory for me in the work that I do is: as much as possible prior to being bring the customer's data back to themselves, which of course, means that we are as well in process of actually delivering all invoices, credit notes, all that kind of business related stuff back to thecustomers in a structured way.

Nikolaj Bramso: So in that way, we help them to have an overview of their relation to us and that have been quite smooth and dynamic with our team.

Luna: Besides all that invoice and so on, I know you're also thinking about I took percent more of all the data that you actually have in the PIM system now to give your clients the possibility to download images and all the different data they want for the product because we have it anyway. It's already structured and stored in the PIM system. So, why only push it to the website? Why not also give it back, as you said, to the to the customers as well?

Nikolaj Bramso: Yes. Again, every week you meet customers that request images. It could be that they have their own shop for that specific issue. Or maybe they're the billing system or when you pay in the shop, when you have this. Some of those as well require images, and of course, why not deliver that to the customers as simple as subsidies for them?

Eric: Because, you have such a good story already, I have again a question in front of me that I think you've covered too quite a bit the numbers wise, even, but I do want to emphasize it may be. What has PIM and e-commerce done this far for Nature Planet?

Nikolaj Bramso: They have supported us in Australia team that we want to expand our business. We want to scale. So for sure, they have have supported that, and again, if you want to scale, you have to have a firm grip of your data. You have to be structured. You have to be very much aware of your processes. It's a pseudonym group and this whole e-commerce project have helped us in achieving that. So, we are in a really interesting journey and we're just getting started.

Eric: I think that's actually-- Slowly, getting to a two to one of the last questions and this is absolutely a question for both of you, but let's start with Nikolaj again. Would you recommend other distributors, manufacturers that are considering going to invest or re platform with a payment e-commerce system?

Nikolaj Bramso: Yes, quite simple to find a powerful, flexible, and simple platform because it's good to have a tool, a lot of buttons, but if you don't need half of them, why have them? So, it's about reducing complexity and focus on what works and what doesn't. Again, besides the platform, start rooms are drawing some sketches on processes because e-commerce means is a bit like an octopus. There's a lot of arms that goes in many different areas, and it's so important that you outline all of them just a simple thing that your your customer communication. When are you going to send an email? It's trying to try to sketch that out for sure when you do what, because otherwise it's just a coincidence, and, I don't believe that much in coincidence.

Luna: Well, I think also everyone, to the extent of that as well. It also comes back a bit to we were able to deliver now within a three months time, and that also comes down to the process I think we had with you guys about how do we deliver this project, right? Because as you said, we're just getting started and there's always more things you can improve or extend upon or add to the shop and so on. And if you want to include everything, you will just never go live, right?

Luna: So, I think you had a good mindset also from the Spanish point of view to say, Well, we do what we have to do now. We go live with it and then we expand the shop because I think that's that's also a common mistake. I think that you want to include everything you can possibly imagine, and if that's the case, you just you'll never know going. So, I think it's also saying a bit about your maturity as a tech company. We're going to take right and that we need to go live and then we need to hear to expand the shop.

Nikolaj Bramso: And again, because that's the way of learning, because you can start sitting and doing nothing. You can't do this as a university of study. You have to put your hand in the oven. I would say you have to burn your fingers, you have to learn, you have to try something. You have to be brave in some sort of way because if you don't do that, you'll never succeed because you can't forsee everything. So, I could remind us all about the probably the best commercial drone in the world. Just do it.

Eric: I think that's a fantastic element to really end on this already. Is there anything else, Nikolaj, and then Luna that you guys want to add to the audience or otherwise we can wrap this up?

Nikolaj Bramso: One simple thing. Don't be afraid of data because data have to be your best friend and it could help you if you find a person to help you better is not afraid of excel or things like that as well, because it goes back to being instructed.

Luna: Yes, definitely.

Amanda: And that data will also tell you what you need to do in yourself, right? Talking back to what you talked about before, if you want to try to foresee everything, you will end up spending time and stuff that doesn't matter. Once you go live and you get some data we can see and some feedback at least, right? What? What do people want, what their fans want? So call Typekit live and then learn, and then act on that, and on that, it's been a great project, as I can see behind you. It's a fun product because it's something we can all relate to. Whydon't you just take it up and squeeze it a bit? So it's it's been fun, both tech wise and also, as you said, it makes it story wise right for the brand.

Eric: Absolutely. Then with that, guys, I would like to thank you very much. It's always interesting to get those experienced people talking about topics like this. So, I think we have covered a lot of good topics. Thank you very much, and I look forward to our next collaborations.

Both respondents: Thank you.

Eric: And that's to wrap this up, we have just heard from Nikolaj about reducing e-commerce complexity, and that is really what Dynamic Web is about. We believe in reducing e-commerce complexity with the unified e-commerce suite that we offer. It contains a CMS and e-commerce,a information management and the marketing solution in one single platform, and that makes integrations a lot easier. Everything comes pre-integrated, and we have standard integrations to Microsoft Dynamics ERP System, except in the Vision, FNL and, of course, Business Central.

Eric: By that, we can really make e-commerce less complex, a lot easier to use. The other way that projects can go is off to building that set of best of Breed Solutions Point Solutions, and we refer to that as the Franchot Stack. You need to find a CMS, you need to find an e-commerce solution, a PIM, and you need to integrate everything to each other and to your ERP system, which often leads to a more complex approach. Integrations sometimes do fail because a solution gets updated, upgraded or replaced, and that adds frustration, cost and timelines in time to market. So, with the Dynamic Web approach, we believe that we are able to reduce e-commerce complexity by having that all in one platform approach. Dynamic Web is globally situated where bit over 20 years old. We have colleagues all over the world and even more great partners like NOVICELL, in many of the areas where we are present.

Eric: NOVICELL is also in Denmark, in the Netherlands, in the UK, in Sweden, in Norway, and probably even forgetting some other regions where NOVICELL was present. But. Together, we are able to offer great commerce, product and customer portal solutions to our joint customers. With that, I would like to wrap up if there's any question, please feel free to reach out to me. If necessary, I can reach out to the involved parties. See if I can get the question answered or find me on LinkedIn. And with that, I would like to thank you for your time and hopefully see you on the next activity, like a webinar. Thank you.