Hills Limited's (ASX:HIL) e-commerce platform, announced in September, is live and already driving interest from resellers.
The distributor, which recently brought its warehouse operations back in-house, said it experienced high volumes of site visits and account activations following the launch on 28 February.
The distributor told shareholders in September it was embarking on a digital transformation programme to revitalise its e-commerce capabilities and also improve core business processes, customer engagement, and operational efficiencies.
The platform is the result of a partnership with IT services provider, Cognizant Worldwide, and it offers online purchasing with 24/7 real-time inventory and self-service capabilities including customer statements, invoices, pricing, online payments, and delivery information.
“Initial user uptake has exceeded our expectations,” Hills CEO and managing director, David Lenz, said. “In the short time that the site has been live, there has been overwhelming interest and over 30 per cent of site sessions were returning users.
"According to our statistics, users are dedicating time to setting up and populating their account pages, and downloading product information and technical documents."
The e-commerce platform is part of the distributor's strategy to move from a product-centric to a customer-centric company, to improve customer engagement and business processes.
“It is a company-wide transformation. Our decision to take control of our own supply chain and open a National Distribution Centre in Seven Hills, NSW is critical to the success of the e-commerce platform.
"We’re focused on improving warehousing and dispatch processes to ensure a better online experience, but customers will see improvements in our level of service across all areas of the business," Lenz said.
Hills expects the changes to drive sales growth across both Australia and New Zealand.
The distributor has been fighting against former vendor, Milestone Systems, over a $56,000 bill that Milestone claims to be owed.
The vendor submitted a winding up order of the distributor, which was dismissed by the court on 21 February.
Hills published its financial results for the first half of the 2018 financial year, which revealed an unprofitable National Broadband Network (NBN) satellite installation business and a shortfall in antenna sales due to a competitive pay TV landscape resulting in a $21 million hit in the distributor’s revenue.
According to the distributor, exiting from the NBN satellite installation business, impacted revenues to the tune of $13 million, while the shortfall in antenna sales, scratched a further $5 million off its revenues.
David Lenz has recently been made managing director of the distributor which also places him as a board member now.