Wehkamp is one of the largest online department stores in the Netherlands with half a million website visitors daily and over ten million shipments annually. In addition to the 400,000 existing products, the company wanted to add books to its portfolio. Descartes scalable B2B integration solution helped to launch this in a short period of time.

The Challenge

For any webshop, availability is the first promise it makes, as one cannot sell something that is not available. Therefore, Wehkamp needs to have real-time insight into stock availability with all of its partners in drop shipment. Full inventory visibility and the flawless exchange of Order-to-Cash (O2C) data with partners is crucial to ecommerce success, as they enable a company to meet its promise of ‘order before midnight and get your product the next day.’

The company needs scalable solutions, as the number one rule in online shopping is to never break a promise. To be able to grow, we need a fully automated and integrated drop shipment model. The Descartes B2B Integration solution efficiently and effectively addresses these requirements.

- Arjan Romp, Manager Supply Development Wehkamp -


Wehkamp and Descartes have been working together for over 15 years, starting with traditional EDI message exchange. Today, the two companies also work together on integration with drop shipment partners. Supporting drop shipment is one of Wehkamp’s main drivers for growth.

With the drop shipment model, retailers, like Wehkamp, display the current stock of the supplier on their own website and suppliers take care of the order fulfilment, distribution, after sales and returns after the purchase. The main advantage is that no expensive inventory is kept. This requires a continuous status check on available stock. Additionally, the consumer wants to know precisely what is in the package and when it will arrive. Because of the high volume of shipments on a daily basis, the process of information exchange between retailer, supplier and logistics services provider (LSP) needs to be fully automated.

Drop shipment plays an important role in Wehkamps’s addition of books to its product assortment. It was the main reason the company started looking for a solution—one that could also be implemented quickly in time for the holiday season. All of the messages that Wehkamp needs for the integration of information it wants to exchange with suppliers is done by EDI or through web services. Most of these are either hosted or supported by Descartes.
“The difference made by Descartes was the adoption of a human-to-human approach instead of pushing tickets through a helpdesk. The collaboration between Wehkamp and Descartes was characterized by true cooperation and collaboration to get this done,” says Arjan Romp, Manager Supply Development Wehkamp
He adds, “Descartes played a crucial role in the integration with new suppliers, which has been very successful. Wehkamp works in an agile way, with a ‘can-do mentality’, and it selects partners based on the same criteria. Descartes has proven to be a partner that can adapt to this way of working.”

The Results 

With the growing importance of drop shipment in Wehkamp’s ecommerce assortment, the company sees a big difference with the traditional way of integrating with suppliers, which was more batch-based and based on large PO shipments. Today, everything is based on the order level/consumer level, which needs to be real-time, 24/7, 365 days a year. Also, the volume of messages is much higher, which has been efficiently supported by Descartes.

  • Advanced integration with partners on a scalable platform
  • Real-time visibility into stock to support ecommerce