BUILT BY infolox GmbH
Competent advice and optimal service are two cornerstones for a successful company. Endress Motorgeräte GmbH, a leading retailer in the field of professional gardening and forest technology, are masters in this regard. They trusted in the Omnichannel-Box by infolox to make shopping a true experience for their customers online as well.
Endress Motorgeräte GmbH is a company with a long-standing tradition and seventy years of experience as a specialist retailer for the forest and garden technology brands STIHL and VIKING. With a staff of more than 200, Endress operates 24 branches in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria (southern Germany).
As a true omnichannel dealer, the Stuttgart-based company conducts business both online and at local stores. To this end, Endress has connected its branch stores with the online shop by a solution known as Click & Collect. This concept allows customers to order products online and have them shipped to a location of their choice or to pick them up at a local branch store. The latter option is particularly useful for large articles and for products requiring technical instructions. The Endress online shop has been designed for both private and B2B customers.
The project aimed to replace the existing shop system as quickly as possible with a modern, integrated, Symfony-based solution consisting of CMS and the shop. The decision was made in favour of the Omnichannel-Box by infolox.
Apart from a professional online shop for B2C and B2B that includes the required interfaces for all third-party systems, the Omnichannel-Box also provides a product finder with a search function, document download options, and a Click & Collect module with a branch office finder. It also conveniently fulfils the requirements for the entire editorial contents of the company profile.
The Omnichannel-Box unifies Sylius, the leading CMS for publishers, eZ Platform and a high-performance product database with SOLR technology. The latter comes with a fully automated interface to the leading PIM/MAM systems. A powerful search engine with integrated product finder is linked with the product database, supplying content to the frontend with high performance. The operator can configure and control both the product finder and the product search feature easily within the PIM system. This is especially useful as the PIM system is also the place where the relevant data are structured. The Omnichannel-Box also provides flexible connectivity to ERP systems, CRM systems, and newsletter campaign tools. It also facilitates fully or partially automated top-quality printouts. Its modules are fully integrated through Symfony rather than being separate modules.
The key component of the Omnichannel-Box for users is a Symfony-based layout builder by Netgen, one of the technology partners of infolox. This layout builder allows contents to be written into frontend templates and the respective layout to be designed. The layout builder provides access to eZ CMS, the SOLR product database, and the Sylius Shop, thus facilitating a completely new type of mixed content pages and customer journeys. This allows manually created content to be mixed with generated editorial content as well as content from the PIM system. What is particularly noteworthy is the fact that the users may operate the system largely on their own. Any desired page types can be created with responsive design by dragging& dropping contents based on a kit consisting of media platforms, teasers, and other
elements. This way, contents can be delivered to mobile devices with adequate layouts without any additional efforts.
Printouts – at Endress, those are the data sheets for all products – are also generated fully automatically from within the PIM system through the Omnichannel-Box and provided for download in the online shop. Then, infolox transfers the purchase orders to the ERP using the fully integrated interface. This is handled just like the shipping confirmations, which are initiated by the ERP. infolox implemented EPIM, the PIM system of the Karlsruhe-based software publisher Viamedici, as a system for providing granular and high-quality product data for the shop, the product finder and the product search feature. The SOLR-to- PIM connector, a component of the Omnichannel-Box, was then used to complete the integration into the overall solution.
Alexander Pircher, Managing Director at infolox
The shop offers all of today’s modern features regarding product presentation as well as the shopping cart and check-out processes. Customers may put their favourite products on a watch list for purchase at a later point in time or they may send the list using the integrated mail feature. After a short analysis of the requirements and the data on the one hand and of the existing system environment on the other hand, the implementation was started in a project. The work was performed within the scope of several parallel sub-projects. In one sub-project, the PIM was established and the generation of data sheets was fully automated, and in another sub-project, the CMS and the shop were designed and implemented as a totally new solution. At the same time, infolox edited the data from the old shop and migrated the data into the PIM system. In addition to the product data, the existing customer data were also migrated into the Omnichannel-Box with strict adherence to data protection regulations.
Hosting, maintenance, and operations are provided by infolox in a highly secure private cloud. The system is operated as a private cloud on dedicated hardware in a separate area at one of the most renowned hosting companies in Germany, Hetzner Online GmbH with data centres in Nuremberg and Falkenstein. With this hosting solution, infolox ensures extremely high reliability and operational security for the customer solutions, which results in very high availability and a significantly lower failure probability. Container systems are used for the virtualisation. In this context, individual services, such as databases, interfaces, and shop components, are operated in corresponding individual virtual containers. They run as a cloud distributed across multiple virtual servers, which in turn utilise multiple physical, highly available servers. This provides redundancy and high availability on each level. All components are monitored consistently. If a component fails, a new identical one is used immediately and completely automatically. The test, preview, and live environments run in identical environments. Accordingly, containers from the development and preview environment can be handed over automatically and risk-free into the respective higher environment upon release.
As security is paramount, the system uses Docker, the leading container solution. The result is a highly professional and highly secure solution. Each container is assigned a unique host name, dedicated process IDs, and a separate network interface. Apart from that, each container only has visibility of the file system section to which it has been allocated. Security frameworks secure the access rights on all other levels. This ensures a complete separation of the customer applications. By switching to the Omnichannel-Box by infolox, Endress now have at their disposal a highly professional solution, which not only covers all of the special requirements of an omnichannel retailer but is also ready for individual future ideas through its open architecture.
The case study was prepared by Alexander Pircher & Gunnar Fuelle, infolox Managing Directors.