"Woolman’s support in the project was crucial. Due to their extensive commerce experience and Shopify tech solutions, as well as the close cooperation with Axla Logistics, we were able to launch our very own D2C business model in a short space of time.”
– Marita Hanhineva, Marketing Director, Orkla Care Finland
Forming a direct relationship with the end consumer
Nordic powerhouse Orkla is the leading supplier of branded consumer goods across the Baltic and Nordic regions. Innovation is in Orkla’s DNA. In fact, it drives their growth and culture.
As early adopters, Orkla Care Finland understood the unlimited power of building and forming strong direct relations with their end-consumer. Not to mention the data insights they could share with their retailers.
The challenge for Orkla Care Finland was threefold.
- Finding the way to get started in building a D2C concept
- Choosing the right D2C strategy and tech, so they could experiment with D2C without compromising current operations and systems
- Partnering with a third-party logistics partner to enable deliveries
1) Finding the way to get started
Orkla Care was by no means a newcomer to D2C. They already experimented D2C by launching ”Möller Kotiin – Möller To Your Home” platform ten years ago.
Their biggest takeaway: it’s simply too complex to run a D2C store within existing systems.
Despite the earlier setback, Orkla Care knew that innovation can only be achieved through experimentation, and during a seminar presentation from Woolman, their fire got reignited:
“We were inspired by Miika’s speech (Woolman founder), where he described how Woolman builds D2C pivot stores outside of current systems and processes. Easy to set-up and scale (or alternatively in the worst-case scenario, pull the plug and shut it down). This was very appealing to us, as we know innovation drives our success but also needed the flexibility to scale up or pull the plug. We understand the power of data and direct relationships with the end customer. To us, D2C seems like a logical choice”.
2) Choosing the right D2C strategy
What is the right strategy for launching Orkla Care Finland's D2C model?
Should they sell one individual brand in one store? Or run multiple brands in a single store? Together the experts from Woolman and Orkla Care Finland business owners bounced off ideas and challenged each other to identify the business concept. They did not just want to sell products, they wanted to build a concept based on customer value.
Orkla Care Finland had identified an important customer segment: Queens – the caretakers of the family, who solve issues for the children and grandparents in everyday situations. Queens would become the core of the D2C strategy and the concept built to answer their needs.
As they had a clear understanding of their purpose and products, it was quickly decided that they would deliver unique value and fully utilize the opportunities of the direct channel. Orkla Care Finland would bundle handy every-day essentials together.
Unscented washing and cleaning products bundles for people with sensitive skin. Special bundles for kids who leave the nest for the first time i.e: washing, cleaning products for personal, as well as household hygiene. This innovative way of looking at their products meant delivering real value for their end-user everyday situations. It was a switch from selling products towards selling a service.
3) Partnering with third-party logistics to enable deliveries
The final challenge was deliveries:
How do we deliver the goods outside our current systems?
Orkla Care Finland identified early on that their corporate logistics would not support D2C business. Instead of making that into a problem, it was turned into a solution. Axla Logistics (a third-party logistics provider, 3PL) was invited to the table. Woolman and Axla have worked together for years, having an existing integration with Shopify and the warehouse management system made this operation a piece of cake.
Thanx to Axla, Orkla Care Finland could bundle various products, handle returns and even recycle package materials efficiently, outside their current logistics processes. Orkla Care Finland can now deliver their products in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way.
“We spoke much with Orkla Care Finland and Woolman about delivering the best customer experience, starting from the checkout process. Axla works with several different last-mile carriers and these can easily be activated in Shopify’s checkout using Nordic Shipping App. Our integration takes care of the rest and as a result, the consumer can actively choose exactly how and to which pickup point they want the delivery.”
- Matias Toukonen,Sales and marketing manager, Axla Logistics
Key takeaways from the execution
How the branch from one of the oldest and largest conglomerates pulled through the agile and fast business experiment?
✔️ Strong commitment from the management team and permission within Orkla conglomerate
✔️ Concept built on customer value, not on selling products
✔️ Experimenting: setup outside of current systems and processes, easy to set-up, scale or shut down
✔️ Ensuring resources: Orkla Care Finland hired a merchant to run the ecommerce store, dedicated resources for customer acquisition, agreed on marketing budget that can scale and engaged their people from digital team to sales - to contribute their knowledge
✔️ Mutually agreed KPI’s and and using the data for developing both D2C and B2B business
✔️ Finding a partner who can help you walk through the whole process
✔️ Brought Orkla’s vision to life: bundles of joy that provided fun and easy solutions for families.
✔️ Made it possible to experiment with a D2C business model, with no strings attached
✔️ Developed the commercial tech solutions on Shopify to support experimenting with D2C outside their current corporate systems
✔️ Implemented easy and sustainable deliveries and returns process, outside their current corporate logistics systems
✔️ Made a future-proof store that's ready to scale up whenever proven to be successful
Orkla Care Finland is now able to directly connect with their end consumer. Not only is this extremely valuable, but the data and insights gathered from their D2C store can now be shared with their retailers and used to develop new innovative products or bundles.
Whereas Woolman provided the concept and e-commerce solutions for the store, Orkla turned to their advertising agency partner, Kind Company, to execute the naming and the store’s design.
Orkla’s management team is still learning from the data gathered from their D2C store and is currently sharing these learnings with their retailers, so they can continue to innovate and stay ahead of the competition. But most of all, find new ways to bring value and truly connect to the needs of their end consumers.
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