Online Shopping at Mila d’Opiz
The cosmetics manufacturer Mila d’Opiz now also sells its products on the internet. The family-owned company from St. Gallen, Switzerland, has installed an e-shop solution for this purpose, which provides all the desired information on its care products in real time directly from the company’s ERP system.
Two years ago, when Caroline Magerl-Studer followed in her father’s footsteps as managing director of the Swissmedic-certified family business Mila d’Opiz, she had a clear vision of the future of the tradition-rich company: “Our company was a little outdated,” she recalls. “In order to continue to exist alongside the big players in the industry, we had to rejuvenate.” The focus of her deliberations was on the reorganization of the distribution of high-quality face and body care products, which were previously sold to customers exclusively via the company’s own retail outlets or trading partners in around 40 countries. “Especially for the younger, increasingly mobile customers, it is now perfectly normal to shop on the internet,” says Magerl-Studer. “It was therefore about time for us to offer our products online as well. A welcome side-effect is that via the web, the cosmetics manufacturer can also reach those countries in which it has not previously been represented with its own branches.
Focus on Advice and Service
The demands on the new shop solution were high. The aim was not only to implement online sales technologically, but also to develop a concept for providing good and comprehensive advice on the internet, both for the institutes and retail partners and for private customers. “In addition, we did not want to jeopardize our good and close relationship with the retail partners and institutes by selling on the internet,” says Magerl-Studer. “The branch responsible should therefore still be able to supply its own customers itself.”
Content Comes from the ERP System
Another special feature: To minimize media disruptions, Mila d’Opiz did not want to use a separate content management to stock the shop, but stock the shop directly from the respective article master in the ERP system. Since the cosmetics manufacturer had already been working with the GUS-OS Suite from the GUS Group for several years, it made sense to also take a closer look at the ERP manufacturer’s e-shop solution. “Of course, we looked at other systems as well,” says Magerl-Studer. “But the GUS e-shop finally convinced us.” The decisive argument was the ability to connect the shop solution directly to the ERP system via real-time adapters.
Advice in Three Languages
Within approximately eight months, the GUS team, together with representatives of Mila d’Opiz, installed a comprehensive online shop solution in three languages. Since then, customers have been able to shop conveniently at the cosmetics manufacturer around the clock and from any location, be it via PC, tablet, or smartphone. And it’s also much more convenient for the retail partners, who no longer order their goods by fax or phone, but conveniently by mouse click. In addition, with the “Skin analyzer,” the portal offers its visitors the opportunity to determine their own skin type by means of a structured online question catalog and to have a suitable skin care plan drawn up. Since the same products are not available everywhere, instructions vary from country to country.
Basically, the shop is divided into two areas: one for private and one for business customers. The reason for this is that partners and institutes can buy different products from private users, and the prices for retailers also differ from those for end users. Anyone visiting the shop first logs in as a private or business customer and is then automatically directed to the appropriate page. Depending on which country the user comes from, the language is also automatically adapted.
No More Transmission Errors
Since the online shop is linked to the ERP application, all customer orders are created directly as sales orders in the ERP system, processed there and forwarded to the relevant sales branch for delivery. Vice versa, all product information on the website comes directly from the ERP system. “If, for example, we change the price for a cream in our terms and conditions, this information also automatically appears in the online shop,” explains Magerl-Studer. “Since we enter all information only once, redundancies and transmission errors are a thing of the past.” The boundaries between Mila d’Opiz’s purely informative website and the actual online shop also no longer exist. “It wasn’t easy at first to convince our rather conservative administrative board of the advantages of online sales,” recalls Magerl-Studer. “But today, both the management and our employees are completely convinced of the new system. The same applies to our partners.” However, the rejuvenation cure of Mila d’Opiz is not yet complete. Magerl-Studer is currently engaged in a project to expand social media activities.