The Sennheiser brand is all about the perfect sound experience. To this day, the company is a global leader in the field of professional audio technology. Sound virtuosos will find everything that makes their hearts beat faster.
As a premium brand, it is important for the company that customers can buy directly from the manufacturer instead of through third-party providers. We have been supporting the Sennheiser brand as an Shopify agency for a total of 5 years with the migration to Shopify and the associated optimizations and integrations.
In an interview, Global Platform Owner eCommerce Armin Djafari Naini and Niclas Backes from Sonova told us which challenges the international company was able to overcome together with us and which successes resulted from the migration to Shopify Plus.
Current figures already prove that the migration to Shopify has paid off for the company.
Table of contents
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Challenges of a premium brand
1. Direct sales for an optimal customer experience
The collaboration between Latori and the Sennheiser brand has been going on for five years and during this period there have been several projects, requirements and challenges. For example, Latori started supporting Sonova in the Asian market in March 2018. Here, Shopify was rolled out for several Asian countries. The experience could subsequently prove useful in the European, American and Australian markets.
As a provider of particularly high-quality sound systems in the premium segment, the company increasingly developed a desire to no longer sell only through partners, but to supply end customers directly and create a D2C distribution channel. For customers buying goods in a premium segment, this may well be an important purchasing criterion. This is the only way to guarantee the best possible advice for the products. External perception can also be optimally controlled in this way. Both points that are very important for Sonova.
"We had the desire to no longer sell through a partner, but directly to the end customer. So we started building a webshop solution in Australia, where Sonova acts directly as a seller. In doing so, we had to build Shopify into our existing architecture so that our orders would automatically run through the systems and be sent to the end customer," says Armin Djafari Naini about the initial problem.
The goal was to create a high-quality online shopping environment for customers worldwide, as well as to be able to offer exclusive discounts in closed stores for certain buyer groups, such as students.
2. Moving away from low performance systems
In many countries, the company has worked with a partner to supply their end customers. The partner acted as a seller in individual countries. The web store system used here was not very flexible. This meant that even slight requirements, such as changing text fields or adding notifications to the shopping cart, could not simply be done by the company itself. The fact that the partner acted as a salesperson was also not ideal for the external perception of the Sennheiser brand.
There were few other store systems to consider. In a pilot project in Australia, the company relied on Magento 1 in the past, but the system was no longer supported after an update to a newer version. Due to an expiring contract, however, there was not much time for a change. Armin Djafari Naini says in an interview:
"With Latori and the team on site, we changed the complete webshop system within two months. Continuing to work with Magento was out of the question. The team was not satisfied at all with the performance of Magento."
Reading tip: When is it worth taking the next step and switching to Shopify Plus? We reveal it to you in our article.
The solution: Migration to Shopify Plus
1. Why Shopify Plus is the ideal system for Sonova
The optimal solution was found quickly: Shopify Plus was not only convincing across the board with its e-commerce functions and intuitive backend. The ability to now take minor problems into their own hands was also a decisive advantage over previous store systems.
"We ended up with Shopify and so far we're very happy with it as well. Especially when we started in Australia. The team was super happy. We now have a lot more options to edit things ourselves. The backend is much more intuitive than Magento's," says Armin Djafari Naini about switching to the cloud store system.
But the existing Shopify community was also always a good point of contact for Sonova when a quick solution was needed. For the company, Shopify Plus resulted in the optimal environment for its own web store. Armin Djafari Naini describes it as follows:
"A lot of the issues and challenges we've had are based on our overall setup: We are a global company with countless teams in each region. Enterprise resource planning and the various integrations can be challenging. Shopify is really good here. You can put together a powerful store solution relatively cheaply, which can be used in day-to-day operations without a lot of expertise."
With sales in many different countries around the world, quick implementations of projects are normally difficult - but here, too, Sonova has had a different experience with Shopify Plus and Latori, as Armin Djafari Naini reports:
"We have access to the code and can tackle a lot ourselves or through developments from Latori in relatively short intervals. Shopify's plug-and-play system is already relatively simple. It allows us to find a quick solution for bundles or other features via the App Store. This doesn't always jive with our global setup, but Latori usually finds a good solution here. "
Two other things also spoke in favor of using Shopify Plus. The first was the global familiarity of the system and the continuous further developments that come with it. Second, Sonova also appreciates the customer support that Shopify offers:
"Shopify support is always easy to reach, whether via chat, email, or phone. The employees there are also interested in solving problems very quickly," sums up Niclas Backes from Sonova.
Reading tip: How to sell internationally with Shopify and what to look out for when implementing it.
2. The use of closed stores
In the course of switching to Shopify, exclusive buyer groups and closed stores were also important points in the implementation for the audio products provider.
Closed stores are about customers being able to buy products at a reduced price in a closed environment. This includes student portals, for example.
Users of the program come to Sonova's store thanks to Latori's programming, are recognized and receive exclusive discounts that are not shown to other customers and cannot be shared via a link.
"We can react more flexibly to changes in the market there. That's a big part of our sales," says Armin Djafari Naini, describing the use of this strategy.
Special employee discounts via closed stores, where Sonova has even gone a step further in collaboration with Latori, are now also possible. Special employee stores have been set up for this purpose, where you can only log in as a registered Sonova employee. Niclas Backes describes how internal orders were handled before the employee store like this:
"In the past, it was handled in such a way that it was noted via a piece of paper in the store what the colleague wanted to buy. The products were then sent by post anyway. The whole thing took at least a week and a lot of processing time. Now the process is completely automated via the Shopify system, the order ideally arrives at the colleague's home the next day and no one has to intervene manually."
3. New marketplace connections
As a classic channel, Sonova has consistently used its own web store and specifically the aforementioned closed stores, which count as a separate area of the online store, since migrating to Shopify Plus.
For the past two years, it has also been making increasing use of marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Otto, and Kaufland. The company now uses more than 20 different marketplaces worldwide - and the trend is rising.
At the start in Australia, Sonova initially used the Shopify app Omnivore for its marketplace integrations, but this did not work optimally for the company. Channel Advisor turned out to be a better and global solution. The marketplaces are integrated with Shopify through Channel Advisor via an interface that Sonova is currently developing in collaboration with Latori.
"We decided to expand the collaboration with Latori and made the decision to create an interface between our marketplace integrator and Shopify. The current partner is disappearing from the market and will not continue this service," said Armin Djafari Naini.
Reading tip: How to find the right logistics partner for your Shopify fulfillment.
4. Headless frontend for Sonova
The decision for a headless frontend was also important for Sonova. The company's website was headless from the start - initially in the form of an in-house development as a CMS. However, this was a very specialized tool that not many people could work with. On the topic of headless commerce, Armin Djafari Naini adds the following:
"When we switched to Shopify, we integrated this very website with Shopify Check-out. Our closed stores run on Shopify, which means the closed stores frontend is Shopify and currently not headless. "
In the future, however, that should change to create a consistent image for end customers.
Reading tip: More on the topic of headless commerce as well as headless CMS can be found in the blog.
Results: What has changed since the migration
Since migrating to Shopify, Sonova has been able to increase the number of countries where its headphones and soundbars are sold more than tenfold.
"We had a web store in 14 countries at the beginning - now there are over 150. These are largely Shopify Plus web stores that we were able to integrate into our existing system landscape," says Armin Djafari Naini, summing up the success.
Moreover, since the collaboration with Latori and the associated migration from Shopify, any problems that arise can be solved directly as soon as they occur.
"There are always some things where you want a quick response. For example, with the classic: Friday afternoon, something in the store breaks and you urgently need help. Here, too, we've had good experiences with Latori," adds Niclas Backes from Sonova.
Shopify Plus has proven itself across the board as a store system. In combination with extensions and optimizations implemented by Latori as an agency, a very good solution for direct sales to end customers was created. The time-to-market was also drastically reduced. Armin Djafari Naini from Sonova sums it up as follows:
"Back then, if I wanted to integrate a payment method, 80% of the time it wasn't possible and 20% of the time it took at least a year. Today, if I want to integrate a payment method or another installment method, it's done in a few mouse clicks. Only the contractual stories here would take 2-3 weeks."
So the effort and complex challenges of the last few years have paid off. Would the company recommend switching to Shopify Plus to other merchants? Armin finds clear words for this as well:
"I can definitely recommend Shopify and also the migration together with Latori. Absolutely."
Reading tip: Latori also supported the sneaker retailer Asphaltgold in its migration to Shopify Plus.
Conclusion: How Latori and Sonova worked together
All questions regarding open tickets or problems are clarified in fixed weekly meetings. In addition to the weekly calls, Latori and Sonova are also in constant close contact - issues can also be clarified in between, for example, via e-mail or Trello.
If, despite this, there is a need for coordination in the meantime, problems are quickly discussed in additional meetings. In this way, optimal cooperation can be ensured and the response time from our side can always be kept short.
"The entire team works. There is a constant exchange. From my side it always fits and I know the comparison with other agencies. It's working on a different level," is how Armin describes the collaboration.
In the meantime, we have been supporting the Sennheiser brand for over 5 years and are proud of the successful cooperation and all the projects we have implemented together. In the future, we will continue to support them in all challenges. The next project waiting in the wings? Armin reveals only this much:
"It's about a sports watch that offers certain functions in conjunction with our headphones. Both devices will work together optimally and be coordinated with each other."
If you also need professional support migrating your store, we're here to help you. Contact our team today!