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Quick Facts 

  • eCommerce pilot launched on the US market in July 2020 
  • Solution makes it possible to continuously sell to new, smaller customers  
  • Smooth integration in self-contained form made it easy to evaluate the solution before full roll-out – and to demonstrate a clear increase in sales 
  • Easier for customers to buy original products online – minimises the risk of purchasing imitation products 



About Kanthal 

Kanthal is part of the global industrial group Sandvik and is a world leader in products and services for industrial heating technology and resistance materials. The company has around 1,150 employees and sells to more than 150 countries.  

Kanthal produces and develops furnace products and heating systems as well as resistance materials in strip, wire, plate, bar and tube. The products are based on the Kanthal® family of iron-chrome-aluminum (FeCrAl) alloys as well as ceramic molybdenum disilicide (MoSi2) and silicon carbide (SiC).

Start small – scale up fast 
When work began on the eCommerce pilot,Kanthal Kanthal focused on a smaller range of products and on a market where they hadn’t had much penetration previously. This eliminated the risk of transitioning existing customers from one sales channel to another – as well as making the increase in sales abundantly clear. Another important objective was capturing small customers and not just focusing on large companies and industries. By making it easy to buy original products under the “Genuine Kanthal” concept, Kanthal was also able to protect its strong brand.  

Tong-Wu“We wanted to start with a limited project before subsequently scaling up both geographically and in terms of product ranges. Columbus’ experience in B2B, the manufacturing industry and eCommerce, and their knowledge of UX, business development and technology have been key factors in our success. They have also helped us to create trust in the solution internally which we are now expanding on.”  Tong Wu, Digital Business Manager, Kanthal 

MVP makes it easy to establish the right priorities 
Creating a pilot based on the “MVP” working model (Minimum Viable Product) made it easier to contain the eCommerce solution and see how it might develop on a larger scale. The model also made it possible to reach users and the market quickly without increasing the scale of the project or making it more time-consuming.  

“As a customer, Kanthal has been a consummate professional who has understood the importance of establishing the right priorities on a project such as this. It’s crucial that you realise what is a must and what can wait. As well as their knowledge of products, business and their market, they have also shown a willingness to engage and have helped make the collaboration a success. At the same time, Kanthal has given us a great deal of freedom and really put their trust in us. They listened to our expertise and experience with eCommerce projects.”  Thomas Porsborn, Project Lead, Columbus 

Pilot an important source of knowledge 
One positive effect of the eCommerce pilot is that Kanthal has gained new knowledge on how customers actually use their products. The MVP working model and the relatively simple format of the pilot also helped Kanthal reach their market quicker than they would have with a more full-scale eCommerce project. 

“By creating a new channel and reaching new customers, we too have come to better understand how both companies and private individuals use Kanthal products. We discovered that sometimes our products are being used for applications we weren’t previously aware of. Which is of course incredibly interesting for us and creates new opportunities to improve and develop our products and our services. We are also thrilled that there are plenty of smaller start-ups among our new customers as well, some of which have the potential to become significantly more important customers in the long run”    Tong Wu, Digital Business Manager, Kanthal 

The journey has only just begun 
In just a short space of time, the eCommerce pilot has generated increased insight into Kanthal’s own organisation and an understanding of the opportunities that come with having a digital sales channel which creates new relationships and at the same time contributes to a positive customer experience.    

“We have already seen the rapid effect of an increase in new sales and more visitors to the website. In the short term, we expect to see even more penetration. Once the solution is made available on multiple markets, we believe that we will be able to achieve leverage in sales outside of the USA as well. Columbus’ exploits have been absolutely critical to this work. Besides the fact that every one of their consultants is unbelievably talented, they are also incredibly skilled at collaborating across multiple different disciplines like UX, business systems, CRM and eCommerce. They really focused on solutions and took a creative approach whenever we came across stumbling blocks which at first glance looked formidable, such as calculating sales tax. The entire project has been on time and within budget. All in all, in Columbus we have found ourselves a strategic partner who we are convinced will contribute to Kanthal’s further growth.”   Jason Capiello, Digital Platform Manager 

The solution in brief 
The eCommerce pilot is built on an Epi Server (CMS and Commerce), while card payment is handled using Adyen and Vertex is used to calculate sales tax (USA). Price and product data updates are managed manually in Epi using Excel imports. Order management is entirely manual and Epi Commerce Manager is used to monitor orders.  

In a later stage of development, we expect the eCommerce solution to be based on more integration and a greater amount of automation to make it possible to handle a large range of products and to sell to multiple markets. 

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