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The Project Scope

BMR inc. groups 325 home renovation centers across Canada and is on a mission to deliver an omnichannel experience to their consumers. The challenge was two folds: revamp the entire digital ecosystem while transforming this long-standing B2B organisation into a B2C business.

E-commerce Roadmap

BMR is aiming to provide a complete shopping experience that allows Diane the DYI, Sonia et Fred the new home owners or Anthony the professional to find the information they need to complete their renovation project to buy products online or at their closest store.

We will be successful if we develop online sales AND drive qualified foot traffic in store.

The high level project consists of the agile implementation a transactional website for their 4 brands BMR, LaShop, Unimat, Agrizone using Magento 2 and providing technical and strategical advices for BMR to adapt its internal resources processes (from buyers to marketing, finance, customer service and logistics) to the new realities of B2C.

Given the size of the product catalog (20.000 SKUs), Absolunet also implemented a Product Information Management (PIM) system to help standardize product information across e-commerce and print channels (weekly flyers and promotions).

The new website, and the PIM were launched in Spring 2017. Online purchase capabilities were added early in 2018. Through continuous release, several improvements were added to the standard shopping experience:

  • Insure top internal search queries returned relevant results to users (25% of sessions used search)
  • Automate geolocalistion to insure store assignation for the user
  • Display closest store inventory and directions on the product page
  • Present assigned store promotions in a dynamic “Sales” section
  • Allow each merchants to display personalized content blocks and store pages
  • Provide fast delivery and pick-up in store as options
  • Offer secondary payment method (Paypal)
  • Loyalty program for store customer (360)
  • Easy Return Process
  • Cart abandonment automation
  • SEO improvements for catalog pages and store pages (for local ad campaigns)
  • Various product feeds for advertising purposes.
  • Job board and application forms available in carreer section

Several aspects of Magento had to be customized to allow for specific business rules around pricing and shipping rules which included several parameters to determinate shipping costs and carrier for the user (ZIP, items volumetric weights, order value, return location).

In the long run, our main issue became technical debt. Too many customizations lead to numerous bugs and various code refactorizations to maintain speed and stability. Magento security updates from 2.1.9 through 2.3.2 slowed down several sprints. On an average velocity of 12-16pts for BMR, 5-8pts would be spent to maintenance.

On the flip side, our diligence around security turned out to be successful with 0 security breaches which is key for any retailer’s online credibility.

Key Results


“Digital transformation of the year” Award, CQCD 2018

Metrics During 2019 peak season (May 1-31):

  • 500k Sessions/week:  (181% YoY)
  • 32% Bounce Rate: (vs 42% YoY)
  • 2:37 min average Session Duration (min):(3:00 YoY)
  • 5.31 sec average Page load time  (9.79 YoY)

Technical Implementations

  • Implement Magento 2.X Enterprise Edition on AWS with Cloudflare
  • Implement inRiver and connect with Magento 2 through connectors
  • Implement API Connection between Magento and Microsoft Dynamics NAV (ERP Solution)‎
  • Implement API Connection between Magento and Legacy ERP‎
  • Implement API Connection between Magento and Proprietary Loyalty Program‎
  • Integrate Dotdigital as primary email marketing and automation tool
  • Implement and customize Google Analytics
  • Recommend Algolia as the most suitable search engine (SaaS)
  • Recommend Order Management System based on known business rules and road maps
  • Integrate Purolator and Canada Post via Shipstation

BMR - System Architecture


In retrospective

Prioritise efforts towards  “Drive to Store” strategic objective

View merchants as stakeholders and deliver value to store owners. This would imply more efforts on research, measure and testing around user geolocalization and store assignation (plan do check act cycle)

Prioritise efforts towards “Conversion” strategic objective

To this day today, conversion metrics have been pretty low (conversion rate <0.1%, session value $0,05) mainly because less than 20% of the catalog (>2000 SKUs) is available for online purchase due to logistical issues (item too big to be shipped, in boxes or not yet ready for the web. Therefore not all our categories offer “saleable” products, thus leading to shopping abandonment (60% of sessions make it to the product page, 85% dessions don’t add to cart). BMR internal efforts on changing their business processes around product management will pay off, but until then it’s impacting online conversion.

Consistenlty work on product finding

Another weakness that I’d try to correct was around product findability (UX-UI, Internal Search, Merchandising). With close to 1200 hardware categories and 20k products, it has become the sinews of the large hardware retailers

With the help of partners:
Hitachi Systems for Data Protection
Stardust for Testing
Resolution Media


LG2 get awarded for BMR Social Media Campaign


La méthode de BMR pour mener sa transformation numérique… en misant sur l’humain !

Project Details