“The primary focus for our business is customer satisfaction and loyalty.”

You might think this mission statement was crafted by a fashion retail company executive, or was a quote by an FMCG, well-known brand. Given the rapidly changing landscape in grocery retail, you could even have attributed it to a grocery retailer. I bet you couldn’t expect that those are the exact words stated by the CMO of the one of the world’s largest steel companies, Severstal.

Recently Severstal launched their new online store powered by SAP Hybris Commerce. The new e-commerce platform replaced a legacy system that wasn’t capable of supporting a customer-focused strategy or global sales growth plans. The new Severstal e-commerce site will feature 5,000+ product items.

In the past, a steel company wouldn’t likely be considered a customer-focused business, but in the age of digital disruption, Severstal is raising the bar higher, and placing the customer in the center of the company strategy. Delivering the best customer experience, and thereby customer loyalty, via digital channels is now their corporate blueprint.

“We see a considerable potential to improve efficiency through introduction of digital technologies,” Alexey Mordashov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Severstal said last December at the World Economic Forum meeting in Moscow, Russia. “We can see that digitalization will affect all areas of our lives.”

Digital is the key sales channel for Severstal. The company plans to have their Russian customers order steel products 100% online by 2018. They are also planning a 2018 global roll-out of the e-commerce platform, making it available to customers throughout the world.

Embracing a customer-centric strategy, Severstal asked customers to play an active role in developing and testing the new e-commerce site. This proactive approach allowed Severstal to exceed client expectations and provide an outstanding customer experience.

“We see huge potential in e-commerce,” Severstal CMO Dmitry Goroshkov recently told Bloomberg. “While retail sales account for the bulk, industrial companies shouldn’t lose time in developing their own online platforms.”

Companies from all different industries can learn from the Severstal customer-focused strategy. By focusing on premium customer experiences and partnering with the world’s leading e-commerce vendor, Severstal gains tremendous competitive advantages, allowing them to gain more customers throughout the globe.

Read how Severstal bets big on e-commerce at the Forbes SAP Voice channel by clicking here.

Read the full Bloomberg article and watch the video interview by Alexey Mordashov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Severstal, at Davos WEF here.

Blog originally published on the Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce.