Success Story: BAYWA AG
The new online shop of BayWa AG
The internationally active BayWa Group focuses on the wholesale and retail trade and services. The headquarters of the parent company BayWa AG, founded in 1923, is in Munich. Its business activities are divided into the segments Agriculture, Building Materials and Energy. Other Group companies are engaged in the production of consumer goods and the car trade. Including franchise and partner companies, the Group has around 2700 sales locations in 8 European countries. The main sales territories are in Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe. The Group generates the largest share of its sales with the agricultural and food industries. Almost one third of Group sales are accounted for by the Construction division. The Energy division is the third major business segment. The focus is on sales of heating oil, diesel and lubricants (from: http://www.baywa.de).
Since 2001, RI-Solution GmbH, IT subsidiary of BayWa AG, has been operating and supporting its online shop (B2C shop). In the assortment of this shop, end consumers can buy articles from the technology sector (e.g. agricultural / forestry technology, horticulture) as well as mineral oils via the Internet ‘around the clock’. Over the course of time, the historically grown system could no longer keep pace with the technological and professional requirements of BayWa AG. For this reason, RISolution GmbH initiated a replacement of the standard software with a flexible individual solution based on the Microsoft .NET platform.
At the beginning of August 2006, RI-Solution GmbH decided to call on the expertise and a meaningful prototype of the PTA (Project ID: 2072) as a partner for the development of the web front end. The frontend contains the entire area that is accessible to customers. RI-Solution developed the backend for the administration of the article data offered in the shop. The development was completed on schedule by the end of 2006, and the new website has been online at www.baywashop.de since the beginning of February 2007.
By working together with PTA and building on their existing prototype, the project was successfully completed on time and on budget, while maintaining the highest quality. At the end of the project, the transfer of know-how from PTA to RI-Solution was in the foreground, so that the application can easily be independently supported and further developed by RI-Solution GmbH.
Objectives for the new development
- appealing layout
- comfortable expandability
- greater user-friendliness
- sustainable platform and architecture
- higher customer acceptance
- increased safety
- easy configurability
- low maintenance requirements
- increased flexibility
- extended functionality
Technology and architecture
The online shop was developed using ASP.NET 2.0 on the basis of the .NET Framework 2.0 and a 3-layer architecture (see Fig. 1). In this 3-layer architecture the database layer stores the application data. The database layer is maintained by the independent backend application. By using stored procedures, attacks with the help of SQL commands (so-called SQL injection) are prevented. The application layer receives the requests of the presentation layer, interacts with the data layer and sends the prepared result back to the presentation layer. This layer contains all graphical elements of the frontend as well as the entire logic for controlling the user interaction. The design of the online shop used for the presentation layer was developed in cooperation with the design office ‘human interface.design’ (partner of PTA).
The new shop
The new BayWa Shop with its dynamically configurable start page (see Fig. 2) contains the Technology section with the usual catalogue functionality and the Mineral Oils section. The latter offers functionalities specially developed for the needs of BayWa AG. This means that every mineral oil company can set its prices individually. In addition, variable quantity scales and hazardous goods surcharges are taken into account in the price calculation.
Essential additional functionalities
In contrast to conventional standard solutions, the new
new BayWa Shop includes the following additional functionalities:
- Use of a dynamically configurable homepage. Among other things, time-changing banners are used for this.
- Design of the websites according to the corporate design guidelines of BayWa AG.
- Adaptability with regard to branch-specific design guidelines.
- Navigation through tree-like display of the product hierarchy stored in the database and display of a ‘breadcrumb’.
- Possibility to extend the product range by further divisions and product categories.
- Possibility to highlight articles in the category overview.
- Scrolling functionality in the article overview.
- Article detail view, including print preparation, price calculator (for regional marketing), selection of article variants, display of related articles and browsing functionality.
- Protection of the transmission of sensitive, customer-relevant data through SSL encryption.
- Possibility to order articles from different sectors in a single order process.
- Calculation of freight costs (with minimum order value) depending on total amount or weight.
- Separate tax display when selling items with different tax rates.
- Possibility of checking and crediting gift vouchers and promotion vouchers.
- Creation and sending of emails (e.g. order confirmation) via database text modules.
- Dynamic contact person determination with ‘intelligent contact form’.
“The recipe for success of this project was that
– a clear division of responsibilities was agreed: RI-Solution GmbH (IT service company of BayWa AG and RWA AG) was responsible for the overall project management, technical conception and communication with BayWa AG, PTA for the technical conception and implementation with ASP.NET 2.0 and MSSQL.
– a binding technical concept was developed with the customer, which was the strict guideline for the realisation”.
Günter Fleidl, Manager Consulting & eBusiness