Packaging products supplier Freund Container & Supply unveiled a new package of its own last month on its updated website with such new features as online price negotiations.
Freund specializes in supplying containers ranging from glass jars to storage drums made of plastic or metal, along with maintenance, repair and operations products, and wanted to provide its customers more sophisticated functions for placing online orders on FreundContainer.com.
Freund is a unit of Berlin Packaging, a global supplier of plastic, glass and metal containers and closures. Freund has been in business since 1938 and is no stranger to e-commerce, having launched its first website 11 years ago.
The upgraded site advances Freund’s strategy of increasing its digital presence in the eyes of its online customers, says Rebecca Gummerson, director of e-commerce at Freund. “It’s part of our initiative for a new e-commerce platform and being customer-focused,” she says. About 32% of Freund’s sales come from e-commerce, she says. She declines to provide a dollar figure.
Freund provides what it calls “convenience” quantities of packaging and industrial supplies, meaning that it requires no order minimums and no restocking fees for returns, Gummerson says. “We cater to companies that want five bottles or a truckload.”
The goal of its e-commerce site upgrade was to provide greater functions and improved processes by enhancing the customer experience with more interactive, streamlined functions. Two major new functions are online price negotiations and custom labeling.
Freund’s new online bargaining tool, called Deal Room, enables customers to make offers on particular quantities of containers. Through “virtual” negotiations, customers can view a curated list of available products, check any discounts and see prices for wholesale and bulk buys, Gummerson says.
Then the customer can make an offer on a desired product and Freund will either accept it or make a counter-offer. The back and forth continues online until both parties are satisfied and agree upon a purchase price, Gummerson says. Deal Room went live in early July and has been well-received by customers, she says, without providing specific results.
New custom label technology on the website helps position Freund as a one-stop shop, Gummerson says. Freund has developed templates customers can use to build and order custom labels by choosing fonts, text, images, label shapes and colors. Customers can also upload their own images and logos.
Additional website upgrades include retooled customer account functions. Until the new site rollout, Freund offered a basic customer account section on its website. Those functions received a make-over with the addition of “one-touch” reordering and an invoice generation and printing tool. Customers can now view credit lines and account balances in one place. There’s more functionality to come, Gummerson says, including more customer reporting tools and a way to gather customer feedback.
Site upgrades also include Pay Pal, Apple Pay and Discover credit card payment options. The new site also is optimized for mobile commerce, which has driven an increase in orders coming from mobile devices, Gummerson says. Freund recorded only few mobile orders before the site was optimized with responsive design for viewing on any size device, she says.
Some of the new functions were part of Freund’s growing technology wish list, but other changes resulted from input by call center staff based on their customer requests.
Freund management had been discussing a website upgrade for several years, Gummerson says. Implementation began late in 2016 and the new site was built last year on a Bigcommerce e-commerce technology platform. Americaneagle.com was its systems integrator, she says.
Freund is based in Lisle, Ill., and provides case, pallet and truckload quantities to more than 40,000 customers each year. It offers more than 10,000 products online and ships from warehouses in Atlanta, Streator, Ill., and Sparks, Nev.
Chicago-based Berlin Packaging has been in business since 1898. The company had 2016 sales of $1.2 billion and offers more than 40,000 SKUs online. In addition to operating Freund, Berlin sells scientific laboratory supplies through its Qorpak division and packaging for hazardous waste materials through its Dangerous Goods division. Qorpak accepts orders via its e-commerce site Qorpak.com and a customer contact center; Dangerous Goods lets customers request price quotes through its website, BerlinDangerousGoods.com, and place orders through its contact center.
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