03
Jun
2021

From a product catalog to a full-fledged online store: how Uptime created Esvika’s new web presence 

Customers’ expectations for online stores are higher than ever and gone are the times where merely having a web-based product catalog was enough. As such, Esvika, a company focusing on electrical supplies, decided that it’s time to move towards a fully functional online store, which also needs to be integrated with the company’s other systems, including warehousing and accounting software. 

Although the most important task of any online store is to offer a good customer experience and to make shopping as convenient as possible, the use of automation wherever necessary is also crucial, as such the work done by hand needs to be cut to a minimum and different systems need to be able to talk to each other without any hiccups.   

In the case of Esvika’s new web-based solution, Uptime’s development team was tasked with creating a fully functional online store to replace the old web catalog, with the aim to offer Esvika’s full product range to both B2C and B2B clients. In addition to that, Esvika’s employees had to be given a more convenient and flexible toolset to manage listed items, compared to the current inventory solution. 

During the development process, it became clear that there were no prefabricated solutions on the market that could perfectly meet the expectations that Esvika had for its store, as such a number of custom solutions had to be created by Uptime’s team.   

“One of the big reasons why the prefabricated solutions did not meet the criteria set forth was the need for consultative sales – we had to allow the customer to make price inquiries, which are reviewed by a member of Esvika’s team who then lets the client know what kind of a bulk offer could be made, which products might the client be missing from their order, and so on. In a lot of cases, it isn’t as straightforward as just using the “buy now” button,” explains Raimo Seero, Uptime’s CTO. 

“It is a B2B business, where it is not uncommon for a worker to place the order, but for their manager to confirm the order in a later stage. These special needs, combined with the need for integrations with various other systems, led us to create custom solutions,” said Seero while noting that Magento was also being considered, but in this case, it just wasn’t enough. 

Integrations and technologies 

The development of a modern e-shop is much more than just listing items on a website. A proper online store must be seamlessly and reliably connected to the business processes of the entire company, and it must make the creation and management of new processes easier and more convenient. 

As such, any online store needs to be integrated with the company’s other systems. In the case of Esvika, it was necessary to integrate the new solution with, among others, inventory, accounting, and business management software. 

The e-shop is also integrated with both iScala and the Estonian business register. For the customer journey and payments to be as smooth and secure as possible, Uptime also created a solution that allows the user to authenticate themselves with an ID-card, Smart-ID or Mobile-ID.

One can also not forget marketing needs when creating online stores. In order to allow Esvika’s online store to rank better with search engines, Uptime developed a solution that creates URLs that perfectly fit search engines, as such making it easier to optimize any page for search results. 

For example, the URL of a product could look like pood.esvika.ee/valgustus/ultraled-suvistusraam-eaton-lum10534, containing the necessary and relevant keywords for Google, while also being readable by an actual human being. 

“The biggest and most interesting technical challenges for this project were the iScala business software integration and the related URL-slug generation, as well as adapting to the preexisting logics of Esvika’s own customer database,” Kristin Kuhlap, project manager at Uptime, described the biggest challenges of the project. “We also had to update the company’s business processes a bit during the project.” 

“Cooperation with Uptime during this project has been good and effective. We have worked together to solve complex issues, to improve our processes, and we have completed the first phase of development for our electronic sales channels. Further work will continue because many more good features are still to be implemented,” said Guido Tamm, Chairman of the Management Board of Esvika.  

The following technologies were used for Esvika’s new online store: 

Back-end 

  • .NET Core 3.0 
  • ORM: Entity Framework Core and Dapper 
  • Database: MariaDB 
  • Emails: SendGrid 
  • Background processes: Hangfire 
  • Tests: Moq and xUnit 

Front-end 

  • Vue 
  • Various plugins 

You can see Esvika’s new online store here: https://pood.esvika.ee/kataloog