AKW is the UK’s leading manufacturer of accessible bathroom, kitchen and mobility support solutions supplying predominantly to councils and housing associations. Formed over 25 years ago, AKW have a worldwide presence with operations in North America and Europe.





The Brief

There were several key technical obstacles to overcome to bring their process into one central point of entry. One of the larger challenges to get around was the extent of the product range and how to build this into their new site so that is could be configured. Due to the scale of the products AKW sell, there were 57 million prices to incorporate and build into the site that needed to be easily changeable and manipulated by the client.

Other specifications included:

• Multi-location warehousing and inventory
• Multi-currency price pointing
• Price list pricing (50+ million prices)
• Customer quotation and credit limits
• Bespoke delivery rates with API integration

The Challenge

We were approached by AKW to help them with their business change project, and we willingly took on the challenge of building their online store. AKW needed a core functionality in the new site which related to back-end integration for stock and deliveries. The solution needed to increase customer conversion whilst reducing dependency on the phone sales team.

One of the main benefits the store needed to produce, besides the significant uplift in turnover and increased profitability, revolved around the site safeguarding the efficiency of the business as AKW needed it to be quick and capable.

"Vortex were different. The first meeting was set up within a few days and they’d already got a good grasp of the AKW business. They clearly demonstrated expertise in their field and not just a desire to push out a one-stop solution to all their clients. All the design and layout was left with Vortex and the results are quite stunning - clean, fresh and simple which is just what was required.

Vortex delivered AKW an e-commerce solution that far exceeded initial expectation and has enabled them to open up new opportunities. Uptake has been very encouraging from a customer perspective with very positive feedback on how simple the site is to use. In return, AKW are finding that customers who place orders online tend to order more in each transaction and come back more frequently.

AKW’s initial requirement was to find an e-commerce partner, and that’s exactly what they’d achieved with James, Bruce and the Vortex Commerce team. They complement each other very well, and with the backing of their knowledgeable team they handle anything you can throw at them. Their experience of the Magento product and e-commerce market clearly shines through."


Our Vision

The objective was to increase efficiency with autonomous tools and processes that would drive the business through the more profitable channel (online). This would therefore contribute to a significant increase to the company’s profitability and solidify their place in the market as innovators offering the best buying experience in their field.

The website needed to reduce the impact on telesales staff whilst increasing sales and accessibility for councils and housing associations. The site needed to have the complexity and the functionality to allow these organisations to make big purchases and edit order quantities to review pricing.

The Results

Turnover is the most noticeable increase and a key indicator of the transformation undergone and we have seen some significant figures. In the first year alone, we observed the following:

- Sales have increased by 779.5%

- Products sold saw an increase of 738%

- Total orders increased by 888%

The speed and capability of the store has also increased average order values drastically, as staff now receive prompts for potential up-sells and related products. This has transformed how the AKW staff communicate with clients, making ordering a much more efficient and overall enjoyable process.

The website addresses the need for uniformed training for new telesales executives with its streamlined bespoke back-end configuration. By manipulating Magento's standard admin panel to show only what is required, and recreating elements of the user facing front-end in the back-end, the system is creating an intuitive experience for the staff, and reducing the need for technically skilled telesales operatives.

Key functionality created allows a master account with sub accounts. This master account allows senior members of staff (AKW’s clients) to allow their team members to buy certain amounts and certain products. This helps, for example, national project managers allocate sub-account managers and gives sight to AKW, allowing them to increase or decrease pricing per customer group or per person based on external factors, manufacturing costs, or currency fluctuation. This allows a council or contractor to agree the price on multiple contracts for each of their team members which is imperative for the councils and the bidding processes. This functionality is key to changing the way the industry can accept orders.

By transforming the way AKW can do business and their clients can manage their projects, this has enabled them to transform the business from offline to online.

Higher Conversion Rate
Optimised workflow automation
Reduced dependency on telesales professionals
Better user satisfaction
Increased order amount

Impressed yet?

The Headrow

Grosvenor Street

The Team

Several talented team members worked on this transformation, including...