From disparate tools stack to unified digital platform: a success story by Dignify for Van Marcke

Thursday 7th of March 2024

Actualizing a powerful unified digital platform 


In today’s business world, bringing together different digital platforms is crucial for a smooth experience in B2B, B2C and B2B2C interactions. A unified digital presence simplifies things for customers and helps companies operate more efficiently. A reality perfectly demonstrated in the collaboration between Van Marcke and Dignify’s marketing technology specialists.  

The context 

Van Marcke, known for sanitaryware, heating and lately also for renewable energy, operates in Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland. “Traditionally mostly a B2B2C company, today the sanitaryware customer is relying more and more on their initiative and opinion when deciding on a product”, says Delphine Catteeuw, head of marketing at Van Marcke Trading Group. “Meanwhile heating and renewable energy still require a certain technical expertise, what keeps these offerings in the B2B2C realm”. An evolution resulting in Van Marcke now having to address two distinct customer groups: B2B and B2B. 


The Challenge 

Over the years and through several expansions Van Marcke has accumulated a number of different platforms, powered by different technologies, managed by different stakeholders and with far too few links between them.  

There arose an ever more urgent need for one, ideally all-encompassing platform that could cater to all customer groups, linked to the existing B2B e-commerce system. In short: Van Marcke sought a drastic simplification of its existing platform architecture and infrastructure.  

Simultaneously and in close relation to the goals set above, Van Marcke envisioned a seamless customer experience with its own brand as both backbone and common thread.  


The process 

Nicolas Dickers: Studio Lead at Dignify, the marketing technology specialist’s entity at Customer Collective, points out the importance of really getting to know the client. “This goes beyond examining the existing platform and its individual technical elements. It requires a thorough understanding of Van Marcke’s processes, as well as their needs and goals. Acquiring this knowledge is critical for us to be able to provide the right solutions and it plays a huge part in turning these projects into a success story for our clients.  

From the first phase of its project management process, Dignify aims to present our findings in a tangible way to the client. Creating first design prototypes to be user-tested. The second or plan phase serves to work out the full designs, based on the feedback captured on the user test client. These full designs then feed into third phase – the launch phase – in which the the platform is actually developed. This development is focused on the business priorities of the client and aims to bring measurable value as quickly as possible.  

Here Nicolas touches upon an often-underappreciated point. “A project like this often takes a long time. In the case of Van Marcke the prep-, plan- and launch-phase took over a year. That’s why we not only invest in the quality of the product we deliver, but also in that of the service that goes with it. When you collaborate over a longer period of time, mutual understanding and respect is an absolute must. This also allows us to discover previously unknown issues and suggest solutions. Thereby bringing even more value to the partnership.  



Today Van Marcke’s new website has been live for about a year “We most certainly have met the challenge to create one seamless customer experience, aligned with market needs & differentiated from competitors,” says Delphine Catteeuw. “Even though we’re still adding small pieces to the puzzle, we now have one platform and of note: this will be the same platform that services all our regions. After successfully adding Luxembourg, the next step will be onboarding France”.   

Additionally, to unify an international B2B and B2C platform, with full data-centralization, Dignify also integrated a job-posting site and sub-integrations like a bathroom furniture configurator tool, easy appointments with installers, and other practical tools, whether they were created by Dignify or not. All consolidated in a logical customer journey under one multilingual VanMarcke.com website, optimized for today’s search algorithms and with clear ownership of who manages what. Nicolas Dickers points out that a lot of attention and effort went into user experience. Not only regarding Van Marcke’s end customers, but also towards its own employees who must manage and work the platform daily.  

A success story for both Van Marcke and Dignify, to which Nicolas Dickers adds a candid point. “In building this platform, we have worked intimately with Van Marcke for about two years, and we see more valuable projects in our future. But because we fully acknowledge that one day this collaboration could come to an end, we only employ those technologies that most experts are familiar with. Because we believe that our service quality and the return on investment of the client should go even beyond the actual collaboration period that we have with them.