Success Story: Van Gelder Groente en Fruit

Keeping produce fresh with EasyOrder!

Demis van Kouwen, Van Gelder 
Demis Van Kouwen, Operations Manager, Van Gelder

It's vital to provide the right experience when your customers order online. By implementing ECi EasyOrder, Van Gelder Groente en Fruit now has a flexible, user-friendly e-commerce system providing the best possible customer service.

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Founded in the 1950s, Van Gelder Groente en Fruit (vegetables and fruit) is a leading Dutch grower and wholesaler. It supplies more than 500 retail and catering business customers throughout the Netherlands. There are also several retail outlets serving around 10,000 customers weekly. In 2011, Van Gelder replaced its legacy IT infrastructure with a new  environment involving server virtualisation and network attached data storage. It included the replacement of the company’s existing web shop which had suffered from performance issues and lack of integration.

"One of our main objectives was a complete web shop solution, integrated with our ERP system and with continuous data exchange, taking modified product descriptions, price changes, assortments and order times into account," says operational manager Demis van Kouwen.

Unique challenges

The wholesale fruit and vegetable business presents some unique business challenges related to product freshness, logistics and pricing. For example, some vegetable orders need placing before a certain time to ensure next-day delivery. The web shop has to provide everyone with a robust 24/7 service for rapid ordering. "In addition, the further development of the web shop was extremely important to us," adds Van Kouwen. Although several suppliers proposed solutions, only ECi EasyOrder met the tough requirements with its successful use across different businesses proving influential. EasyOrder offers the ability to implement bespoke functionality within a standard platform, tight integration with corporate systems and the quick setting up of new customer accounts.

ECi provides software as a service (SaaS) for a rapid, low-cost solution.

ECi consultants carried out the implementation in late 2011. The work included creating a web shop design to match the company's corporate look and feel. Bespoke ordering cut-off times were defined within the web shop for next-day delivery. EasyOrder was also configured to support customers with individual requirements for product ranges and prices.

Using ECi EasyConnect technology, data from Van Gelder's existing ERP system was mapped to EasyOrder. Automatic updates now take place several times a day using interface files containing details of products, prices, customer addresses and stock levels. An order file is sent in the opposite direction.

New interfaces were also established between EasyOrder and customer ERP systems. EasyConnect's built-in intelligence makes data formatting and interfacing for automated customer orders a straightforward task. The use of improved product information and images helped round off the project.

Operational advantages

The company's customers are finding that the appearance and functionality of the web shop makes it much easier to use. It's innovative, too, as Van Gelder now offers business customers relevant online promotions through B2C techniques such as upselling and cross-selling. All customer orders are tracked closely through the system.

The tight integration with the corporate ERP system now ensures up-to-date product and stock information. Customers can check order progress, delivery times and availability, turning the web shop into a self-service portal. Scalable and functionally-rich, the web shop is ideal for future business expansion too.

"The performance is very good. The professional approach and the way it is technically designed make EasyOrder tremendously stable," says Van Kouwen.