The digitalisation of internal orders with standardised online shops

Header_Adobe eCommerce_1920x480px_Axel Hartmann

Article: The digitalisation of internal orders with standardised online shops

07/2023 – With quickly set up online shops, Deutsche Bahn departments can use a customised solution for many use cases, enabling the digitalisation of internal station orders. With their DB-specific expertise, DB Systel can fully implement these shops in-house. Corporate guidelines are already integrated in the modular shop system.

Companies like Deutsche Bahn have daily procurement requirements: consumable replenishments, new tools or, for example, new notices and posters at the stations. DB Station&Service AG's 5,400 stations regularly require new custom notices, flyers and posters. When a commercial space becomes available at the station, for example, it is important to advertise for a successor. Or, if construction works are planned, the station will need a dedicated poster to advise passengers of this. And the construction site will need printed tarpaulins for the barrier fences, signposting which areas are closed for access. 

Organising these posters is one of the many tasks of the station managers. To ensure that they look official, it is important that the posters align with the Deutsche Bahn corporate identity. Effective support is required in this area to save the station managers additional effort associated with the design of notices. That is why the DB Station&Service was looking for a new solution for the straightforward and customisable creation of posters and notices with a uniform appearance.  

DB208154 (Artikelbild, Deutsche Bahn AG Andreas Varnhorn)
Every station requires custom posters and notices for its day-to-day operations.

Ordering of customised products using a standardised shop system 

A tool already existed for the creation of posters. However, it was somewhat outdated and no longer met current standards of safety or technology, so had to be replaced. "The basic idea was to provide DB Station&Service with a dedicated, individual online shop for the ordering of print products for stations on our e-commerce platform," explains Michael Ritter, Product Owner in the DB Systel e-commerce team. This type of shopping platform already includes the necessary basic functions and can be customised to individual requirements.

"From concept design through to go-live, DB Systel provided excellent project advice. They were very proactive and supportive at all times."

Christoph-Andreas Meyer, Application Manager "My station for shopping", DB Station&Service

Initially, therefore, the poster shop was created for "My station for shopping", the retail and catering outlets at the stations. The project started in autumn 2021 and the new tool for DB Station&Service went online, as scheduled, in summer 2022. Implementation and production of the customisations such as the design tool and release routine took only three months. Christoph-Andreas Meyer praised the relationship with the colleagues from Systel: "We were completely on schedule with the go-live date, which had been set nine months earlier." This platform for the stations is much more than just a shop solution where users can select individual products. It includes, amongst other things, a layout interface for exchanging texts and images of the numerous ready-to-use poster templates.

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A product detail page in "My station for shopping”. The example shows a DB opening hours sign.

The templates in the shop are specially created for this use in the station and contain motifs, sample texts as well as all necessary fonts and design elements. A release routine is also integrated in the shop. Before the posters and other material go to print, a manager from head office checks whether the design conforms to the DB corporate design and can then release it or add comments. Completed orders are processed by DB Communications Technology and delivered directly to the stations. Although the technical solution for "My station for shopping" is based on an online shop, this does not mean that everyone can access it or see the content. It is a "closed shop", meaning that only the station managers have access to it. This is ensured by an upstream login screen.  

The universal shopping platform for Deutsche Bahn 

Station&Service's needs came at just the right time. In 2020, DB Systel had already begun to build a standardised platform for shopping solutions that could be used by the entire DB Group. DB Systel initially looked for a flexibly customisable shop system as a basis for this, which could meet the requirements of the different DB companies. "We wanted to give everyone at DB Group the opportunity to start their own online shop," says Michael Ritter. "We looked at various shop systems on the market and ultimately decided on Adobe Commerce. We see this as a basic platform that we can offer all departments within DB Group." Adobe works closely with DB Systel as a strategic partner.  

"As an internal partner, we are familiar with the corporate guidelines and requirements pertaining to internal DB IT security etc. An external provider would most likely not be able to cater to all of this. With the expert knowledge of the departments within the DB Group companies and our comprehensive e-commerce expertise, we jointly advise on and implement successful e-commerce projects."

Michael Ritter, e-commerce product owner at DB Systel

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Alongside the technical platform, DB Systel has set up a team of e-commerce experts to manage the entire implementation. It comprises consultants and project managers to handle the business requirements as well as developers for Adobe Commerce. Summing up the main advantages of his team, Michael Ritter adds, "We truly are a one-stop shop, offering everything from consulting through to go-live and subsequent support". The USP of DB Systel's e-commerce support is its Deutsche Bahn DNA. Because all corporate guidelines, such as the IT security guidelines and design specifications, are already included in the modular system, and because the team is familiar with the specific requirements of DB Group's partners, simple shop systems can be set up and implemented for Deutsche Bahn in just two to three months without customisation. "That's why DB Systel was our first choice," says Christoph-Andreas Meyer.  

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Station managers can easily customise the existing templates as needed. The above example is for a site fence tarpaulin.

Users surveyed found the system "straightforward and intuitive" to use. The key advantages over the previous solution are the transparency, structure and clear user interface not to mention the additional layout customising options. DB Group partners of DB Station&Service were so impressed by the shop system for "My station for shopping" that Construction Communications, which is responsible for construction site communications, and Engineering have also set up their own shops for printed products with the support of DB Systel – based on the preparatory work completed for "My station for shopping". More joint projects for the implementation of additional shop solution use cases are planned for the future.   

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