Intelligentsia Coffee, a coffee roaster, wholesaler and retailer, streamlines the process for complex wholesale orders and upgrades mobile ordering.

Like many companies that sell to businesses and consumers, Intelligentsia Coffee Inc. faced a multipart technology update. The project included replacing patchwork e-commerce software, implementing a new enterprise resource planning system and upgrading its mobile commerce capabilities. Unlike other companies, Intelligentsia could tap into its own brew to help weather long days and short nights tied to technology evaluation and implementation.

The core of the projects, which began in 2015, launched in December 2016 with a new e-commerce platform from Magento Inc. The next phase of the technology revamp was implementing an ERP system from Sage Inc. that’s expected to go live in late 2018, says Matt Riddle, director of e-commerce at Intelligentsia.

Every day Intelligentsia customer support reps were fielding emails asking for tracking numbers. Over the course of a week that destroys productivity.
Matt Riddle, director, e-commerce
Intelligentsia Coffee

About 75% of the company’s business is B2B and about 90% of that business is now conducted online, running on Magento’s Enterprise 2.1.7 system, Riddle says.

To date, the new technology has helped increase mobile traffic and decrease customer service calls, Riddle says. Intelligentsia wanted to improve its mobile capabilities to meet client needs and results came in better than expected: a 30-40% increase in site traffic and a 35% lift in mobile conversions. “We know wholesale customers are independent coffee shops and they don’t want to browse, they want to get in and get out of the website,” he says.

Wholesale customers access a dedicated portal located on IntelligentsiaCoffee.com, the company’s website that also sells directly to consumers. Making the ordering process for wholesalers faster and easier came about through some customization of the Magento technology that enables structuring different levels of pricing and products across many customer segments.

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For example, the House Blend product is available in multiple sizes, including 12-oz. bags for consumers, in bulk to wholesalers and in various size bags to retailers. Each size is available in whole bean or ground form with 10 unique grind settings—producing as many as 60 variations. The new system enables shoppers to configure orders and yields specific pricing for each customer, Riddle says.

Wholesalers were initially slow to try the new tools, but quickly saw the benefits of a streamlined ordering process. “A lot of time on our previous platform was spent giving customers information, like an order tracking number,” Riddle says. “In the past there was no way to do that until the order got to UPS.” That meant every day Intelligentsia customer support reps were fielding emails asking for tracking numbers. “Over the course of a week that destroys productivity,” Riddle says. Customer service reps now have more time to make recommendations about products rather than answering order questions.

Riddle has a long history with Intelligentsia’s technology, having started with the company in 2002 as a barista. His educational background was in web design, however, and after a year spent training wholesalers how to prepare coffee, he took on in-house management of the previous e-commerce platform.

Upkeep of the old system, plus learning that its core software was slated to be sunset, drove Riddle and company management to begin exploring a new e-commerce platform. Intelligentsia reviewed many options, including the software-as-a-service format, enterprise and homegrown systems, but, in addition to its configuration capabilities, also chose Magento for its easy integration. “We knew we had an ERP system following close on the heels of the e-commerce platform,” he says.

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