Our series dedicated to web agency interviews continues. Today, it is Yann Tertrais, CEO of the Soledis agency, who introduces us to his agency specializing in e-commerce and web marketing. If you are wondering how to increase your online sales or improve your web traffic, the following will interest you!
Can you briefly introduce yourself and describe the agency?
I have been running Soledis since 2012 alongside Yoann SAMSON, one of the founders. Soledis is an E-Commerce and webmarketing agency. As a Prestashop Platinum Partner and Google Partner, our goal is to improve, for each of our customers, their traffic, their conversion rate, and their online sales turnover.
How do you differentiate yourself from other agencies?
There are only about twenty Platinum Prestashop agencies in the world, and ten in London: this seems to me to be a first important differentiator! Our team also includes experts in specialized fields, notably in B2B e-commerce and ERP connectors. The fact that we are also a web marketing agency gives us a global sensitivity to the issues of online visibility and e-commerce. We are not simply integrators of technical solutions, we also (and above all!) Have a marketing expert eye on the e-commerce activity or influence of our customers. Finally, our references speak for us: 400 customers of all sizes, 99.2% satisfaction and great stability!
What advice would you give to a project leader comparing different agencies?
To choose the right web agency, you must first look at its seniority. The more experience she has, the less you will pick up the broken pots: there have been others before you! Then take a look at its certifications: OpenSource web experts, like Prestashop, surround themselves with the best agencies to constantly improve their solutions. Prestashop also provides training for the developers of its certified agencies, which is a guarantee of technical quality for the client. And finally, do not hesitate to ask for quotes and compare the details of the offers: it is often revealing of a methodology and an expertise. So 3 criteria in my opinion: experience, certifications, methodology.
Could you simply explain to our readers the main phases of creating a website?
- Before getting started, you have to know what you want, where you want to go, and what resources you can count on. From there, we go through a phase of analysis of business needs, written in exhaustive specifications. It sometimes seems a bit long, but it’s really about projecting all the client’s needs for their online activity so these are rich discussions about the prospects for the development of the company! In this step, the role of the project manager is essential: you have to ask the right questions, anticipate the slightest needs. Customer involvement is also essential. It is also in this step that we validate the CMS, the modules, the hosting mode, the associated services …
- Second step: development and configuration. You have to personalize the container, configure its functionalities.
- Third step, data (product sheets, images, customer accounts, etc.): whether the site is a creation or an overhaul, data must be created and taken over, and very often adapted. The objective is to “fill” the site. All of this is done on a development server, meaning that the site is not yet online.
- Last step: getting started with the back office then putting it online. The customer will be trained in the use of the backoffice of his website to be able to keep it alive over time.
- Finally, when everything is ready, the site can be put online.
So 5 steps to create a website: Analysis of business needs, site development, data recovery then back office training just before the site goes online.
Have you had to face major difficulties when launching a project that you had not anticipated at the start?
At Soledis, we spend a lot of time on the preliminary analysis, the discussion stage that is used to write the specifications. This step takes time, but the objective is precisely to avoid the unforeseen.
The most classic error is a gap between the initial estimate and what is validated after the specifications. This rarely happens, the last time was 2 years ago… This is the difficulty in properly estimating the business aspects impacted on the online sales site. Whether it is logistics, volume of products or options, purchase tunnel, the pitfalls are numerous! To overcome this, our method is simple: establish a climate of trust allowing us to say everything to each other, but also to take the time to understand each other well …
Website creation – Custom price estimate
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You are a Prestashop Platinum Partner, concretely what does that change for the customer?
This certification assures the client that the Soledis teams have been trained directly by Prestashop, that they have significant experience and all the expertise necessary to meet any need in a Prestashop online store. We have many great references (Danone, Bolloré Group, etc.) but also many lesser known and equally successful companies! In addition, Soledis and Prestashop are working hand in hand to improve the CMS based on customer user issues. This is also the strength of an open source CMS, it is evolving all the time!
Prestashop is not a specialized BtoB solution and yet it is one of your areas of expertise: how do you do it?
When we chose Prestashop as the base solution, we were well aware of this lack. With our experience as a BtoB publisher, we have therefore developed specific BtoB functionalities. Moreover, some have become modules sold on ADDONS, the Prestashop shop.
You therefore edit modules for Prestashop. Can you tell us more?
Yes, we currently have 5 modules for sale:
- “Google Data Studio Connector” allows you to synchronize and access your PrestaShop data from Google Data Studio: Orders, Carts, Details …
- “Quick order”, a specific BtoB module allows you to place a mass order via a form, the download of a CSV file or by scanning the barcode of the products.
- “Feature group”, to display your features in a professional and organized manner on the product page of your store.
- “PDF generation of gift messages”, to directly generate a PDF containing the gift message and including all the billing information WITHOUT the prices.
- “Easy connection as a Customer” to be able to easily connect as a Customer, by searching the name, the company, or the e-mail of this one in the new search field at the top of the back office.
Other modules are of course still in development, or rather in “adaptation” for sale: these are features already active on several of our customer sites.
Zoom – Benjamin Chiron Distribution customer case
The Chiron Distribution company has been established in Cholet since 1929. It is a wholesaler of supplies for plumbing, roofing, heating, garages, agriculture, construction and green spaces, on sale exclusively B2B with delivery on construction site or withdrawal in store (in Cholet, 7,000m² store).
The mission consisted of redesigning a BtoB e-commerce site on Prestashop 1.7.5 and linking flows via Talend with the Microsoft Dynamics Nav 2009 R2 ERP, the mission lasted around 10 months.
After starting its e-commerce activity with a website developed in-house (which always poses development, responsive and SEO difficulties), Chiron Distribution can only appreciate the ease of administration of a site. Prestashop!
And a quick word of conclusion?
BtoB e-commerce is sometimes perceived as a gas factory by some SMEs who do not dare to get started. This is rather a good sign: it means that the manager is aware of the specificities of his market, and of the differences with BtoC!
At Soledis, we have made these differences our specialty. To find out more, do not hesitate to read our white paper: “10 + 1 essential features of a BtoB E-Commerce solution” by clicking here.