Celebrating a legacy by building an even stronger future

When your business survives the depression and World War II, you know you’re doing something right. In 1926, lifelong friends, John E. Behler and Wayne H. Young founded a HVAC/R wholesale distribution business that did just that.

Three generations later, Behler-Young has continued a commitment to the ethics, quality, excellence and teamwork that have characterized the company since its inception. Today, Behler-Young represents hundreds of manufacturers and serves thousands of customers throughout Michigan and Northwest Ohio with 18 branches and a 140,000 square foot distribution center in Kensington Park, Michigan.

Behler-Young strives to be the highest value provider of HVAC/R products and services in its market. To do this, the company centers its attention on its customers, promising the highest quality service possible. In its 90 year history, Behler-Young’s missions and values haven’t changed, but technology and customer expectations have.

People lined up in front of a Homes for our Troops flag

We were not looking to conform to a rigid eCommerce box. The Episerver B2B Commerce solution can be customized for our needs.

Kari Schellie
Senior Marketing Manager , Behler Young

Pushing the envelope of digital transformation

Within the HVAC/R industry, companies are fairly traditional and often view eCommerce as an unnecessary or even burdensome change. But Behler-Young is no stranger to breaking out of stagnation. Though there were not a lot of lookalike distribution companies to reference as it underwent digital transformation, Behler-Young took the initiative and ventured into eCommerce.

Given its limited footprint, generating leads and new business was a challenge for Behler-Young, but the main priority for digital transformation was always about making it easier for Behler-Young customers to do their jobs.

From a limited experience to a fully integrated, seamless one

When Behler-Young initially launched its eCommerce journey, the company utilized Infor Storefront for basic eCommerce, Billtrust for invoicing, a separate content marketing site and a mobile application. But none of the tools were integrated which caused customer friction instead of customer enablement. As a result, customers weren’t adopting digital.

Traditionally, customers called to pay their invoices or check their order status, which limited Behler-Young’s team and prevented its customers from being self-sufficient. Behler-Young wanted to give their customers the tools to be able to service themselves online.

Behler-Young envisioned a world where customers could pay their invoices, view their history and place their orders all in the same space. A seamless user experience – not a disjointed one. Just as John and Wayne had a vision when they launched the company, Behler-Young’s digital marketing team had a vision for an even stronger future.

Collage of historic photos of Behler Young company

Executing a vision for a stronger future

Behler-Young wanted a solution that would merge the digital experiences together, while better enabling its customers to do business with the company.

In addition, the new solution would need to integrate with the Infor A+ ERP to reflect all the processes onto the site. If the solution couldn’t do that, the rest of the technology wouldn’t have mattered.

Behler-Young also recognized the importance of features like search, account information, marketing and promotions when they set out to find the right solution for the business.

Behler-Young found their solution in Optimizely’s B2B Commerce Cloud.

The new world with Optimizely

Today, a Behler-Young customer can order products, create lists, cross reference their order history with their invoices and register for training in the same place.

Cross-functional interaction between the technology systems is finally a reality. Optimizely B2B Commerce Cloud easily integrated with all of Behler-Young’s tools.

Behler-Young is working with its customers to continuously grow and improve their site. The company has set aggressive goals to increase sales and gross profit.

Optimizely is proud to partner with a company that is future-proofing its business. It’s clear that the team at Behler-Young recognizes its strong roots that were planted over 90 years ago, and knows how to innovate and transform, so they may serve its customers for the next 90 years.

That’s a heritage to celebrate.

Behler Young website on an iMac



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