Separate your product catalog from commerce.

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From online catalog to ecommerce in under three months.

Louwman Group, a family-run business founded a century ago, is one of the largest automotive companies in Europe. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the Louwman Group imports Toyota, Lexus and Suzuki autos and boats, to sell across their 70+ locations in the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, and the Czech Republic. Louwman group is also active in retail, leasing and financing, logistics and healthcare.

The challenge

Introducing online commerce to a high-touch business

Each brand in the Louwman portfolio,, and, already has an online presence. Each site provides a compelling catalog-browsing experience for customers to view all available automotive models and accessories in a standard ecommerce structure, with product lists and product detail pages. Customers can search for specific models, watch product videos, reserve a test drive, and request a quotation. The only thing customers can’t do is purchase through the site itself, as all queries and potential purchases are redirected to a local dealer.

The Louwman Group wanted to provide their customers a convenient, self-service option in addition to the dealer network. They had been considering online commerce for some time and wanted to follow the MACH approach. Commerce Layer made it possible for them to adopt the most modern, composable commerce solution and set the foundation for an efficient rollout across their product lines and brands.

The solution

Defining an MVP and testing the process end-to-end

In January 2023, Louwman Group and Lab Digital, a leading tech agency, defined an MVP that would introduce Commerce Layer into their existing architecture and test their end-to-end purchase and fulfillment processes.

For their MVP, they would begin with the Suzuki accessories category and add prices, stock availability, add to cart, shopping cart and checkout. Commerce Layer was introduced to their existing tech stack to simply make their current catalog shoppable. Product data resided in their PIM (Akeneo) and site content in their CMS (Wagtail). Louwman integrated their PIM with Commerce Layer, linking the product ID in Akeneo with the SKU ID in Commerce Layer. An integration with SAP, their ERP system, provided Commerce Layer with price and stock (inventory) information to manage the full life cycle of the order. Thanks to Commerce Layer’s API-first architecture and comprehensive documentation, Louwman Group was able to integrate Commerce Layer into their stack to power transactions and launched their MVP in three months.

Commerce Layer made it possible to introduce commerce quickly — for one brand, and one category — setting a strong operational foundation and getting key learnings. This will enable us to roll out commerce smartly and efficiently across all categories and brands.

Paul WassenaarEcommerce Lead at Louwman Group

Resulting tech stack

With a content management system and PIM already in place, Lab Digital and the Louwman Group focused on adding commerce and fulfillment capabilities.

  • Commerce — Commerce Layer
  • Payment gateway — Adyen for credit cards and Ideal for bank payments
  • Logistic partner — Post NL via Easypost
  • CMS — Wagtail
  • CDN — Azure
  • PIM — Akeneo
  • ERP — SAP

Commerce Layer’s approach to the separation of content and commerce enabled the Louwman Group to pursue a MACH approach and readily integrate into their existing systems. As noted by Erwin Griekspoor, a principal consultant at Louwman and a solution architect, "We already manage product data in a PIM, so why manage it in the ecommerce system too. Commerce Layer’s decision to focus only on transactions is powerful in my opinion."

During development, Lab Digital and Louwman mindfully created a library of UI components based on Commerce Layer’s micro frontends and tailored for their business — Add to cart button, shopping cart and checkout — that could be reused as they continue to roll out commerce across product categories and brands. Each brand is set up as an organization on Commerce Layer, where market rules would be configured (such as inventory model, promotions, payment gateway) and price lists and inventory levels would be imported from SAP.

Gerben van der Laan, a Digital Solution Architect at Lab Digital summarized the experience of working with Commerce Layer for the first time: "For developers, Commerce Layer provides a flexible set of tools that can adapt to our client's business model and desired customer experience. The quality of technical support, solid documentation, availability and fast time to issue resolution was highly appreciated throughout implementation."

Full case study to follow.