The history of Kahrs GmbH is unique in the timber industry, due to the fact the company has only ever sold timber online. Founded in 2008 by Michel Kahrs as a distribution network, Kahrs GmbH is now an established timber stockholder. At the end of 2017, the B2B shop www.holz-kahrs.de went live based on the Shopware Enterprise Edition.
With a vision of revolutionising the online timber trade, Michel Kahrs launched the online shop holzhandel-deutschland.de, which was aimed at private DIY enthusiasts. Success came quickly and increasingly larger orders soon started coming in, creating the need for a new storage area. With the move to the 120,000 m2 Louis Krages site in Bremen, Kahrs found enough space for its extensive range, from wood for terraces to saunas.
With a focus on hardwoods from overseas, Kahrs wanted to make its high-quality timber products available not just to DIY enthusiasts but also B2B customers. The decision was therefore made to create another shop, this time based on the Shopware Enterprise Edition, including the Shopware B2B Suite.
The shop was implemented by the eCommerce agency Webcustoms IT Solutions GmbH, which also belongs to Kahrs as a project he set up early on after realising the potential of selling timber online. Webcustoms IT Solutions supports other companies in the timber industry that are also getting started in eCommerce.
Kahrs chose Shopware for its B2B shop, even though its B2C shop runs on another system. "We want to grow sustainably with Shopware and its powerful features. The Shopware B2B Suite maps important processes in the online shop that B2B customers require and are necessary in the commercial segment," explains Managing Director Michael Kahrs, referring to the possibility of mapping the distribution of rights, roles and budgets as well as release processes within one standard solution. "The mapping of the B2B processes in the shop and the ability to let customers use the B2B Suite simplifies some processes that would otherwise have to be done manually. For example, the customer-specific creation of employees and delivery addresses," continues Kahrs.
In addition to the B2B Suite, another decisive factor was the open-source nature of the product, which made custom developments and industry-specific adjustments easier, especially the required adaptation of units of measurement. In many shop systems, purchases are calculated based on individual items. This is not, however, normal in the timber industry, where quantities of wood are calculated by the linear metre, cubic metre, square metre, pallet, list, bundle, etc. The connection of the "Formula Manager", which was developed in-house, solved this problem, enabling customers to purchase products according to units of measurement that are standard in the industry.
As usual in a B2B environment, visitors to the site cannot view prices unless they are registered and activated for the customer group in question. As a registered customer, the category listing provides additional industry-relevant information about the categories and individual products. Here, Kahrs relies on Shopware’s Business Essentials plugin.
The key to the successful implementation of its top-performing B2B shop was years of experience in the online timber industry – out of which the eCommerce agency Webcustoms IT Solutions GmbH came into being, which in turn supplied helpful expertise for the B2B project – as well as close cooperation with Shopware.
"Our professional B2B shop makes us pioneers in the timber industry and enables us to provide business customers with better service, transparency, faster availability and more streamlined processes. Either you move with the times – or the times will move you!" concludes Kahrs.