E-commerce development to meet the special needs of the construction sector

Polmetal launched its new B2B e-commerce platform

Polmetal, a distributor and manufacturer of construction products, wanted to boost its online sales by developing an e-commerce platform that made its entire product range available to both B2B and B2C customers. To this end, a custom development was added to the Logishop webshop that could handle the display of so-called dimensional products. The e-commerce site also responded to another specific need of the construction sector, the handling of reverse VAT. The project took almost 7 months: the Polmetal e-commerce store went live in April 2023.

Check out the new Polmetál e-commerce platform:

pruszynski.hu

History

Polmetal Pruszynski, a Hungarian member of the Polish-based Pruszynski Group, a distributor and manufacturer of premium quality steel roofing, cladding and partitioning products, has set its sights on increasing online sales. Following the modernisation of its website a few years ago and the implementation of the Company Manager ERP system, the company launched an e-commerce solution, where it started selling mainly easier-to-sell, unit-priced accessories and fasteners (screws, rivets). This accounted for less than a third of its product range, and the platform could not handle the sale of the so-called dimensional products, which accounted for the larger part. In this case, the customer is required to specify specific parameters (length, width, number of pieces, etc.) for each item ordered.


Objectives

With the launch of a new online store, Polmetal wanted to make its products fully available for ordering. The Logishop Standard webshop solution was chosen because the platform included the B2B functionality it needed, offered the possibility for custom development and was already integrated with the Company Manager ERP, which the company was using, to help ensure a smooth implementation.

It was important for the company that the e-commerce store could serve both B2B and B2C customer needs. Some of their products attract a defined target group: residential and corporate customers, as well as domestic customers and foreigners, especially Austrians, Germans and Slovaks due to the proximity to the border. (The Hungarian company, which has been operating for 20 years, is based in Tormásliget, Vas County, where it has its production capacity.)


Solution

The project took nearly 7 months to complete and was completed in April 2023. The Logishop Standard solution has been enhanced with unique features.

The creation of the new e-commerce platform required a strong customer commitment from Polmetal, especially since the implementation of the Logishop Standard package was complemented by the pre-specification phase. To make the project run more smoothly, the company also enlisted the support of external experts, who provided advice from a user perspective.

For Polmetal, the creation of the new e-commerce platform also meant that the product inventory had to be renewed and the data cleansing process involved a large amount of manual work. The company used external resources for content management and uploading.

Custom development for the sale of dimensional products

Due to the specificities of the construction sector, some of Polmetal's product groups require different ordering methods, which had to be managed in the e-commerce platform.

The article include products with units of measure of pieces, square metres and linear metres. While for the fixed size products, the so-called modular products, it is sufficient to provide the customer with the number of modules ordered, for the square metre and linear metre types (e.g. plywood, trapezoidal sheets, corrugated sheets, corrugated sheets) the webshop had to manage the purchase process by calculating the quantity to be ordered based on the different parameters provided by the customer (e.g. length, number of pieces).

LogiNet's specialists measured the custom development phase in a pre-spec phase, which was completed in 2-3 weeks.

A user-friendly solution for the dimensional quantification solution (e.g. for plywood, trapezoidal sheets, corrugated sheets, corrugated sheets, and gutter system) was created that is not only understandable for professional users but also allows a simple ordering process for B2C customers.

Dimensional products have been given a unique product end-page appearance where the customer can also specify the size dimensions before adding to the shopping cart.

When purchasing products with a square metre unit of measure, the required m2 quantity is calculated by the webshop for the customer based on the parameters entered (length and number of pieces, with multiple length versions). The value of the fixed dimension is visible to the buyer but cannot be changed. 

For products in linear metres, the e-commerce platform hides this fixed dimension from the user. Based on the length entered by the customer, the webshop calculates the required quantity.

Due to the complexity of the table, the webshop helps the user with help descriptions and tooltips on the online interface.

Polmetál B2B webshop - dimensional products

Reverse VAT management for B2B users

A specific feature of the construction industry is that certain B2B users are entitled to reverse charge VAT on certain products, which the e-commerce site had to support. In the case of a reverse charge customer, the webshop does not charge VAT during the purchase process for the pre-defined range of products. For these products, it must be indicated in the backend system that the shop has applied the reverse charge rules.

For the e-commerce platform to be able to deal with the reverse charge issue properly, it was also necessary to know which B2B customers are entitled to a VAT waiver for the purchase of the products concerned. 

Management of product variants

Polmetal's products are mainly roofing, roofing materials, and building materials for lightweight halls, such as plywood, trapezoidal sheets, sandwich panels, steel beams, wall cassettes and facade panels. In addition to the building materials and panels, the range also includes the ancillary products and fasteners required for their installation and fixing. The number of product variants is close to 2600.

The product stocks have been converted into variants (e.g. setting colour, property, and surface variants for a product) and at the same time the naming of products has been updated - user-friendly names, descriptions, images, and parameters have been set. This has made products searchable and filterable in the new webshop.

Polmetál B2B webshop - product variant

Clean design, user-friendly interface

A user-friendly and responsive interface has been added to the redesigned e-commerce platform. The online interface offers visitors faster page loading and easier navigation.