Fashion, Apparel & Accessories
How Luhta Sportswear Company Created a Dynamic B2B Tool
Luhta needed to empowering their salespeople
Luhta Sportswear Company started in Finland in 1907. Back then, Vihtori Luhtanen sold clothes lovingly designed and sewed by his wife. Over the course of a century, the company pioneered new materials, penetrated international markets, and grew into one of Europe’s best- known clothing manufacturers in the Baltics. In the 1990s Luhta Sportswear became a group of companies named L-Fashion Group, which today employs 1,700 people and boasts a turnover of €245 million. They export jackets, hoodies, and shoes to over 50 countries, through a thriving B2B operation of 120+ sales reps.
Luhta Sportswear previously used a software platform to allow their sales reps to order huge quantities of products on behalf of customers, including major retail chains and individual stores around the world. Luhta reps and agents also used the software to manage collections for different customer segments, and for creating offers. However, it had restrictions, and couldn’t scale with their growth. In Spring of 2018, they started looking for a new platform.
Luhta realized they needed a flexible commerce platform with B2B features that allow customers to place orders and refill stock by themselves, online. They also needed to empower their sales teams to efficiently create orders for customers, too. The key challenge would be how to specify which customers can buy which products. Product selections and prices would need to be defined and assigned for countries, customer segments, retail chains, and individual stores. For example, they need a specific product selection in Finland that is different to Iceland, and buyers making major orders for a retail chain would need different prices to smaller, mom and pop stores.
They trusted their solution partner, Vaimo, who had already helped them launch successful Magento Commerce stores for brands including Rukka and Icepeak. “Magento provides us with the scalability, flexibility and agility that we need to maximise our performance. Plus, its strong B2B functionalities align with our business needs,” said Sinikka Marttila, the CIO of L-Fashion Group, who has been with the company since 1990. Together they started work on “SalesManTool,” a new B2B commerce experience that would revolutionize their wholesale operation.
We use Magento for our brands, web pages, and web shops including loyalty programs and the new, innovative SalesManTool. Magento Admin Tools are incredibly user-friendly. Plus, Magento offers unparalleled flexibility to support different use cases and has ready-made, tested extensions to help drive business growth.Sinikka Marttila
CIO, Luhta Sportswear
A powerful, customized eCommerce solution
First, Vaimo integrated Luhta Sportswear’s customized ERP, Retail Chain Management System, and inRiver PIM into Magento Commerce 2. These integrations all seamlessly communicate with IIB (the IBM Integration Bus). Their new store boasts multi-source inventory, and Luhta Sportswear used a number of customizations and innovative features to drive the success of their project. These include: real-time sales dashboards for full visibility of sales data, multiple currencies per customer, and automated 24/7 purchase flow testing. With Magento Commerce 2 they can also generate PDF and .xls files of orders.
With SalesManTool, reps now have their own login and can select the specific customer for whom they are creating orders. Customer-based product catalogs make sure they’re ordering the right product, at the right price, with multiple currencies available all within the same website. They also added a number of innovative sales management features, providing new ways to introduce fashion collections to their business to business customers.
They implemented a new custom entity type for salespersons. These users can create product selections, using a wizard to create a set of products to be used at different levels. For example, they can select a country, like Finland, and create numerous subsections for different segments or stores, or even customize the selection to a single store. This is a powerful way to implement seasonal changes. But most importantly, SalesManTool gives customers greater autonomy to make orders themselves, and easily manage offers and orders across all channels.
This innovative buying experience, with its extensive set of custom features is a one-of-a-kind in the industry. In addition to the traditional B2B buying funnel, Luhta Sportswear created a unique set of features for sales reps to create orders on behalf of customers from custom grid views, which make it easier to purchase color and size variations, all from one order form. Because their product structures are exceptionally complex, the cart needed to be tailored to handle massive orders. To do this, Vaimo extended the default Magento technology stack with React in the frontend and ElasticSearch together with custom APIs in the backend.
Luhta Sportswear offers several product types. In addition to simple and configurable products with several sizes and colors, they offer assortments –– collections of different product colors and sizes sold in one package. With SalesManTool, assortments have their own stock quantity, even if the products are sold as separate products. Overall, making bulk orders is a breeze using the new B2B sales tool, and everything is done online.
The sales reps love it
After the discovery period ended in the Spring of 2018, the implementation started at full speed just before Summer. Luhta’s go-live was at the beginning of 2019, and they were thrilled with the results: “Magento is a flexible and extensible platform that has the functionalities to support our custom buying flows and features,” said Marttila. “The new SalesManTool makes the job of a salesperson much easier. It allows for collection management by customer segment, and provides customers with autonomy to track their orders. And from an internal perspective, it provides us with the capabilities to better spot trends and measure profitability.”
In SalesManTool, Luhta Sportswear has a new, agile eCommerce solution, complete with custom features to enable upsell initiatives, while offering a new level of B2B customer experience. Stakeholder feedback after the first training session revealed that the new platform had “significantly better usability for high-volume orders than the previous system.” And from a strategic point of view, the ability to leverage data to forecast sales and spot trends is a major plus. Marttila added: “For our sales leaders, this makes their life a lot easier!”