Bloomreach Helps MKM Future-Proof Its Business With Composable Commerce
Founded nearly 30 years ago, MKM is the largest independent builder’s merchant in the United Kingdom with 2,500 employees and over 100 branches across England, Scotland, and Wales. It serves various customers across B2B, B2C, and B2B2C. The building supply wholesaler knew it had a bright future ahead, as it continues to outperform the market with its unique and customer-focused business model.
However, MKM wanted to modernize the digital experience it offered to its customers online and take a B2C approach to commerce like many B2B-focused businesses. And multiple challenges were holding it back from reaching that next step. Fortunately, after implementing all three pillars with Bloomreach (Engagement, Discovery, and Content) — commonly referred to as the Bloomreach Commerce Experience Cloud — and strategically using composable commerce, MKM is already beginning to see significant results.
Not only was MKM’s tech stack reaching its end of life, but the company was also highly aware of the issues surrounding its website — from slow load times and costly maintenance protocols to its digital experience being a subpar reflection of its stellar in-person experience. MKM recognized that the industry was changing, and within the next five to seven years, 45% of its current customer base would be retiring. Therefore, the business needed to lean into the “expectation economy,” or the idea that consumers, especially those who identify as millennials and Gen-Z, have greater expectations than ever around every purchase decision.
The wholesaler also needed to address that its website only accounted for a limited amount of its business revenue. Additionally, MKM did not want the website experience to continue to reflect poorly on them as a provider of much-needed products and services and leave a potential channel of revenue untapped. The brand was also concerned about its website being the first touchpoint in the buyer’s journey, since it may deter a prospect from visiting one of its branches.
Finally, the existing website had no way to provide cohesive reporting, customer relationship management (CRM), or personalization. All of the product data was siloed, too — meaning that there was no single source of truth. Essentially, these shortcomings left MKM in a serious bind. The company had no way to evaluate the marketing and merchandising tactics that were working, differentiate customer and buyer types from one another, or ensure customer lifetime value.
As a business, we have developed an excellent reputation for providing outstanding service in-branch. We wanted to replicate this online, too. That’s why we’ve invested in improving our online presence and digital service offering with Bloomreach, Vue Storefront, BigCommerce, and Brave Bison.
Being an independent builder’s merchant, MKM had many different aspects of its digital transformation journey to juggle. Since its branches are unique, each contains its own stock profile, products, prices, and customer and buyer needs. MKM also serves many customers outside of B2B, catering to a B2C and B2B2C audience as well. So, the business required hyper-personalization for its customers and buyers. The brand also needed to consider aspects of localization in its new strategy, especially since shopping trends and habits can change by location and customer or buyer type.
MKM’s new and improved website was made possible with a successful partnership between Bloomreach (experience services), Vue Storefront (front end), BigCommerce (commerce platform), and Brave Bison (website concept and implementation). To put it simply, Vue Storefront’s Frontend as a Service can easily integrate with leading commerce platforms, like BigCommerce, as well as Bloomreach’s Discovery (site search, merchandising, and recommendations and pathways) and Content (headless content management) APIs to create connected and personalized digital experiences that meet consumer expectations.
The combination of Bloomreach, Vue Storefront, and BigCommerce also creates the perfect MACH architecture for personalized composable commerce. Because they have achieved certain guidelines, each company is a certified member of the MACH Alliance, a not-for-profit industry body that advocates for open, best-of-breed enterprise technology ecosystems. The members of this alliance champion the microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native SaaS, and headless standard of modern technology.
But MKM knew the entire Bloomreach Commerce Experience Cloud could work well for them and even added Bloomreach Engagement to its new commerce tech stack. This acquisition tool would provide the brand with the insight it needed to build and personalize those modern (and very non-linear) purchase journeys, covering all the touchpoints from the moment the customer or buyer opened their account through their first purchase — and all the lapses in between to loyalty status.
With a fast, SEO-optimized front end that is pre-integrated with a best-in-class experience solution and a top-notch commerce platform, MKM achieved several of its objectives simultaneously. The brand can differentiate itself from its B2B competitors with a custom front end that was easy to build and will be even simpler to continually manage. Combined with the Bloomreach Commerce Experience Cloud, these high-grade tools are approachable for business users and will optimize the customer and buyer experience to drive return on investment (ROI) and convert prospects for increased revenue.
This integration between these four partners was a major time saver for MKM with a short time to go live and a low total cost of ownership (TCO) for its Digital team. With Bloomreach, Vue Storefront, BigCommerce, and Brave Bison, MKM was able to relaunch its entire digital landscape to deliver hyper-personalization and localized experiences to each of its different customer and buyer segments — across all geographies.
After only four weeks of going live, MKM has experienced remarkable results. With a growing online presence, the company can continue attracting customers to visit its website. For this reason, MKM saw a 39% increase in site traffic YoY, as well as a 75% improvement in average page load speed and a 77% boost in average time on page. The wholesaler also observed a 27% increase in total web orders and a 43% uptick in online revenue in addition to a 7.9% increase in average order volume. As time passes, MKM is confident that its online presence will strengthen its brand and as a result, its online revenue will significantly contribute to the next era of its business.