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Our customer speaks: Smartphonehoesjes

Smartphonehoesjes had a problem, their former PIM system was not efficient enough and couldn’t scale with the company. With plans for further expansion abroad, continuous company growth, and a change in the E-commerce platform, they had to look for a new PIM solution. They quickly settled on Akeneo PIM, with Calago as their implementation partner.

The foundation of Smartphonehoesjes is joy, entrepreneurship, and growth. They sell high-quality phone cases, tablet covers, and accessories at an affordable price. Smartphonehoesjes has been in existence since 2011, employs approximately 200 people, and has a wide range of 45,000 products. In addition to the Netherlands, Smartphonehoesjes is currently active in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

The sales of Smartphonehoesjes are aimed at consumers, but they also have a business department. From here, their products are also distributed to other parties. They also do a lot of printing and have their own production line in China.

We spoke with Geert Roza, the Product Owner of the project, about our collaboration. He has been working at Smartphonehoesjes for almost 3 years, and in addition to being the liaison between the stakeholders, he also manages a development team. He is our main contact with the organization and took the lead on the project.

A custom-built PIM system

Smartphonehoesjes never stands still and always wants to grow and improve. Before turning to Calago, they had a custom-built PIM system. This initially worked well, but over time, more requirements arose. They wanted to automate more processes and work smarter. They had a small content team and a lot of content. To manage this, everything had to be more efficient, smarter, and easier.

Automation was indeed the biggest obstacle. For example, if they had a generic photo that needed to be on 100 products, they had to add it individually to each product. This took a lot of time and needed to be more efficient.

With a new E-commerce platform, also a new PIM system.

In 2021, Smartphonehoesjes decided to migrate to a new E-commerce platform, Magento 2. With this change, they saw the opportunity to immediately replace their old and limited PIM system. “We wanted to move to a new platform, and ultimately we chose Magento,” Geert says. “After that, the choice was, what do we do now with the PIM? We compared a number of PIM systems and ended up with Akeneo. That’s how we also ended up with Calago,” Geert explains.

Regarding the choice of a PIM system, Geert mentioned that they first looked at the processes and webshops of competitors to see what systems they were using. From this, they made a small selection of platforms and assessed their pros and cons. Their main criteria for a PIM system were flexibility, user-friendliness, and automation. Other criteria included:

  • The ability to add attributes themselves.
  • The ability to easily add assets like images and videos.
  • Managing and creating content across multiple channels and in multiple languages.
  • Being able to align permissions.

In the end, the Akeneo Enterprise Edition came out as the best choice. They also considered multiple implementation partners. The deciding factor for Calago was our PIM expertise and the additions of Horizon, our own developed add-on, to Akeneo.

“Calago is, of course, a true specialist in the PIM field. Also, because we had the impression that Calago, with the Horizon platform, had that extra edge,” Geert explained.

Geert Roza, Product Owner Smartphonehoesjes

From chaos to concrete plans.

Before starting the implementation, we always begin with a Phase 0. In this phase, we first study the company, examine the current situation, and the desired situation. Then, we create a plan that includes objectives, the expected scope of the project, and any potential risks.

Geert mentioned that the approach with Phase 0 took some getting used to, but it was very valuable. Because the PIM users at Smartphonehoesjes had been limited by their old PIM system for a long time, they had all accumulated improvement points for the new PIM. Of course, they began voicing all these points right away in the early Phase 0 of the project. “It can be quite challenging to focus and not go in all directions,” Geert says about it. “I think our ambition may have been a bit too high.”

This messy start was also related to the current situation of the company. They were in the process of migrating content and had to make decisions. “Otherwise, it would have been garbage in, garbage out,” Geert explains. “Those were sometimes quite difficult choices to make,” he adds.

Fortunately, they were able to turn their plans from abstract into concrete. Calago helped with a critical attitude and contributed to new improvements that Smartphonehoesjes hadn’t thought of beforehand. Examples of this include the more practical uploading of images and critical thinking about what to do for each language and channel. This was done so that the company wouldn’t waste valuable time on unimportant matters.

A good collaboration and high user-friendliness.

Geert Roza described the collaboration with Calago as good and approachable. They could switch quickly, and communication lines were short. At the beginning, they worked with multiple consultants, but in the end, Ralph (our technical consultant) became their primary point of contact. This worked well and provided a lot of clarity.

Geert is positive about the Akeneo solution. The use of Akeneo was also well-received by his colleagues right away. “For content, it was very easy. Just the fact that they can now easily do imports and bulk edits, and images,” he explains.

The improvements regarding the images were really the highlight according to Geert. “Initially, this was only at the product level, but now we have it in Akeneo at the color, brand, and series-specific level. This setup is a significant improvement over the old situation,” he mentions.

“This improvement allows us to easily apply a standard image to multiple products,” Geert explains. This is ideal for situations where there are variations of a product, such as a smartphone case that is available for multiple models,” Geert points out. “In the new situation, they no longer waste time uploading each image separately,” Geert explains.

With 7 people using it consistently (and 25 people using it occasionally), it was important that the solution was user-friendly. Geert is very pleased with this. “It’s very easy to teach to new people. You can quickly look up things and edit in bulk. It’s not complicated; you don’t need to go through all kinds of menus or attend training sessions.”

A sunny future.

The result met expectations, and the situation within the company has improved significantly since using the PIM. The product information is much more user-friendly, and a lot more can be added to a product. Ideal for marketplaces and completing product information.

The ability to easily expand to other countries is also a major advantage of the new PIM. “We’ve been live with Akeneo for about a year,” Geert said about it. “That we’ve already added two countries… Look how easily that went. We can add other languages much faster,” Geert explained. In the first year with the new PIM, Smartphonehoesjes expanded to Italy and Spain. The plan that is currently in place is to expand to the United Kingdom by the end of this year.

In short, Smartphonehoesjes sees a bright future with Akeneo PIM. Additionally, we have recently started a second, smaller project with the company. It’s a great collaboration that we’d like to continue!

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