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How Algolia is Helping Swedol Create a Better Digital B2B Experience

Nov 30th 2021 customers

How Algolia is Helping Swedol Create a Better Digital B2B Experience

“[Algolia] was very professional from the start. We had a great Customer Success Manager and team that provided a lot of help and was a great partner.

When I compare it to other companies where they ‘sell you on getting a CSM and team working with you’,’ but then they pass you off to ‘look at the documentation,’ I am left asking, ‘what’s the meaning of the team if I have to look for everything myself?’ This did not happen with Algolia.”

Clint Fischerström – Head of E-commerce at Alligo (Swedol)

It’s hard for an e-commerce platform that serves B2B customers to keep everyone happy from the buyers to the sales team and beyond—especially one with a massive range of products. That was the challenge Clint Fischerström, head of e-commerce at Swedol, faced. A challenge he overcame with faster, better and easier search from Algolia. Now everyone is happy and can find everything they need and that translates to increased revenue.

Ensuring A Best-in-Class B2B Buying Experience Across 100 Stores 

Since opening its doors in 1963, selling lubrication oil to transportation professionals, through to present day, supplying everything from tools to workwear to a diverse customer base, Swedol has provided excellent customer service and a customized shopping experience to businesses and consumers. They now span industries such as construction, industrial and workshop, transportation, agriculture, and forestry and public service.

With its mission to provide both the tools and guidance to help their customers’ businesses grow, it’s no wonder that Clint Fischerström, Head of E-commerce at Swedol, strives daily to create a personalized, differentiated experience for Swedol’s online store across the Nordic Region. But the work doesn’t stop there. To create a best-in-class experience, the more than 1,000 sales team members across its 100 retail stores must also be equipped with top-notch technology to serve clients quickly and efficiently.

Inflexible and Developer-Heavy Solution Hinders Reaching Business Goals 

In 2019, Clint and his Web Developer / Systems Specialist, Viktor Särelind, had finally tired of countless gripes from the Swedol sales team about their continuously awful search experiences.

“Within the organization, before we switched to Algolia, the general opinion was when you went to the online store, everyone said, ‘This website is terrible because the search is terrible. It’s just terrible! ‘ “

Viktor Särelind, Web Developer / Systems Specialist at Alligo (Swedol)

At the time, Clint and Viktor were using a turnkey, out-of-the-box customout-of-the-box solution custom solution built for the B2B and B2C e-commerce sector. The solution offered useful features and analytics built for a business like Swedol, but lacked flexibility and relevancy, causing a multitude of challenges for the digital team, especially a poor search experience. Adapting to rising B2B buyers’ expectations demanded a new solution capable of better engaging their online customers and helping Swedol grow their digital presence.

“We had these problems we wanted to solve, but we couldn’t do anything without developers. The solution itself was pretty good but we didn’t have a Dashboard or anything like that. Previously, with whatever we wanted to do, we had to send a ticket to the development team… or had to do it within the setup from the start, so it was very hard to continuously optimize the website and the search results. You couldn’t do any campaigns or reorder items or anything like that.”

Clint Fischerström – Head of E-commerce at Alligo (Swedol)

To best serve the Swedol sales team, its clients, and to help them grow to become the number one player in digital commerce within the Nordic region, Clint knew something had to change. The team needed a flexible tool that would improve their developer experience and respond well to the highly technical requirements of their B2B business. It also had to be something they could implement quickly and easily and be from a company with a clear future vision of being number one in the market.

“We wanted to create a new strategy around this, with a new system in place, but also allow some time and effort to clean bad data in our ERP, PIM and work with the MDM.”

Viktor Särelind, Web Developer / Systems Specialist at Alligo (Swedol)

Speed, Relevancy, and Flexibility 

Building a quick and relevant search experience for a B2B e-commerce website is no small task. Similar to its B2C e-commerce business, the team at Swedol has thousands of assortments each containing thousands of products. But when selling to businesses, each client had to be given unique access to different assortments, different prices, specialty items, and so on. Even within each business and its various custom items, there were multiple user roles with different access to specific items. There was a clear and tremendous need for customized results.

Thanks to Algolia’s ability to index items quickly, Swedol can now seamlessly and efficiently pass information to and from the Adobe Commerce (Magento) hosted site to better manage product assortments, only showing up-to-date and in-stock items while also only serving up the customer-specific product assortments. Displaying the contract-specific assortments (sometimes, including custom products) to the right customer is key to providing the online experience B2B buyers expect.

A combination of speed, relevancy, a self-serve Dashboard, and access to Algolia’s Partnership team has proved to be the exact solution Swedol needed, helping it scale and grow its business.

“The speed of Algolia is really one of the things we like the most, along with the Dashboard… And also, for the future, if I desire something, we really get the help that we need from Algolia to find the best way forward… We get the help we need to make decisions on things really important to us.”

Clint Fischerström – Head of E-commerce at Alligo (Swedol)

Improved Search Increases Conversion Rates

Since implementing Algolia, Swedol’s digital team no longer hears dissatisfied grumblings from the field. Their customers and internal teams are much happier, now that they can browse products and find what they want with ease. 

The Web team’s decision to leave its previous turnkey, e-commerce solution for an API-driven search and discovery experience has proven to be a success, resulting in an uplift in search results. After a year of powering their search and discovery with Algolia’s API, Swedol’s customers now spend 26% more time on the site with a 7.5% increase in searches and a 22% higher conversion rate, which of course directly translates to an increase in revenue — cha-ching!

And the Work has Only Just Begun

What’s next for the team at Swedol? If you haven’t heard, Swedol and TOOLS, another key player in the Nordic Region, have joined forces to comprise the business sector of Alligo within Swedol’s parent company, the Momentum Group. The next two years will bring more opportunity and larger projects for Clint’s team.

With the merger complete, work has begun to unify the Swedol and TOOLS systems. TOOLS’ Adobe Commerce platform (Magento) website must be rebuilt, setting up a new PIM system, alongside a massive data migration into Swedol’s ERP system, and — you guessed it — indexing TOOLS’ assortments within Algolia.

“Now with TOOLS, we are twice as big. Now we have 2,000 employees and 200 retail stores. [With the merger] we ended up with different websites and different web platforms, different search engines, and so on. Now, we are aiming to have the same systems… It’s very important to build our architecture in a smart way, to build the base. And when this heavy work is done, we are going to sell a lot more.”

Clint Fischerström – Head of E-commerce at Alligo (Swedol)

Clint and the team will spend the year ahead moving towards a complete headless commerce solution. “And when the heavy work is done,” Fischerström says, “we want to have the best search engine in the market. We want to look at everything and look at the best way to implement Algolia for our business. And we are going to sell a lot more.”

Algolia Search and Discovery integrates closely with both traditional self-hosted e-commerce platforms and headless commerce ecosystems. To find out how it can transform your digital strategy, sign up for free and see it for yourself. Or get a customized demo from our search experts today. To learn more about Swedol’s story, download the case study here.

About the author
Rachel Ward

Sr. Customer Marketing Manager

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