Complete Rebrand and an all new Digital Experience
STARTING WITH SOME INFRASTRUCTURE
The first step in making something like this make sense, especially for such a small team, is streamlining infrastructure. The companies Controller/Business Admin was currently managing Local Workstations (Basic User Setup, Software Installation), Email Accounts (Backend Management through an small company in Texas), Website Updates & Web Inventory, Answering Phone Calls, and providing HR support for the entire company (including the 15-20 warehouse employees).
Step One was removing a lot of this responsibility from her shoulders so she can focus on Accounting, Incoming Inventory, and Bank Transactions.
I took over local IT Server and Workstation management, migrated their email into Microsoft 365 for easy remote user management and access to full versions of Microsoft Office Applications. This both drove their cost down, their time spent dealing with tech became non-existent, and I began stripping the number of inboxes being managed down to the bare minimum.
I created generic inboxes for things like "orders" and "support" that multiple people could monitor, all through a single generic company email domain we purchased (mhcorp.co) instead of relying on inboxes from each company domain (marshallhomeandgarden.com, banyandesignslimited.com, etc).
Now each employee has a single personal inbox, and access to the necessary shared inboxes that service all 6 companies.
BRANDING & SIMPLIFICATION
Now that we have communication a bit more streamlined, let's make it make more sense to the outside eye. After some conversation with the owner - he made the decision to "sell" all of the companies to his most successful company, Marshall Home Corporation (an umbrella that already hosted Marshall Home & Garden and Banyan Designs). With this move, we can start branding the companies together, and we can move forward with new plans for the new website.
UNIFIED SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
Time to build a new website! Goals for the project include:
- Unified shopping experience
- One customer approval process for all companies
- One admin area to manage customers, products, and orders
- Easy navigation between companies that doesn't leave customers lost or confused, but still clearly defines the product lines.
- A modern eCommerce experience to that of working with other familiar DTC sites, but for B2B shopping
What We Did
LET'S GET ORGANIZED
At the Top, you'll notice my favorite part - the company selector. Each Company under Marshall Home has it's own Home Page and Navigation. So, if you type in "BanyanDesignsLimited.com" it takes you to the Banyan Home Page, but it's still a part of the same website frontend and backend.
A large, bold header pushes the primary collection for each Company to romance the customer on landing.
The "New Arrivals" Section automatically updates itself with the newest products that are added to the website.
The promotional tabs are updated when new promotions come around.
All in all, a much brighter, modern, and unique feeling landing page from anything they were working with before.
Due to the small team and need for simple management, I chose Shopify as the backend software to host the new sites. It's incredibly easy to create and assign user logins - so each employee has their own login to the admin panel, with custom permissions so they can't change anything they're not supposed to. Each employee's actions are also tracked for quality control. Because of Shopify's login system, this also means that all of the employees need only log in to one place to be able to manage orders from all of their stores.
THE ACTUAL SHOP
A simple collection page shows a cleaner, more organized selection of items. In this screenshot, we are logged out - so pricing is hidden.
Potential customers can apply, using the button on the top left, to become a dealer. Once approved (a process easily done via email) they are able to log in and see all of the specifics to pricing.
Along with a store this size (almost 3,000 SKU's) product management can become an issue. So we went through and categorized all of the items, and tagged them with relevant features. Meaning, if you hit the "filter" button in the top left, you can filter these paintings by style, frame color, size, or even the subject of the photo. This makes it incredibly easy for customers to find what they are looking for.
The text is clean, and easy to read. The website colors used are neutral as to keep text readable and not distract from the products or company colors.
*everything is marked sold out because of the inventory integration being in progress when this screenshot was taken.
Beyond just redesigning the web experience, we also had (and still have) an upwards battle to fight with product images. Many, if not most, of the images on this site were taken in excess of 10 years ago, or using equipment that was 15+ years old. Many of the images were low res, poorly lit and colored, and generally unflattering. Both through new photography and photoshop, we've begun really changing the optics of this company at almost every visible level.
One of the things plaguing this particular client was supply chain issues. They would commonly oversell products they had coming in because there was a high demand and no way to track or turn off internet orders based on available or incoming inventory. With the custom ERP Integration we implemented, we're now able to keep accurate inventory in the backend that's synced in real time with their ERP (SAGE 100c). This means that when a product sells out, it can become unavailable online within minutes. This is because not only is the inventory being automatically updated into the eCommerce backend, but the orders that come in are also being written to SAGE automatically as well - causing the inventory to adjust as needed. This integration allowed the company to take two employees out of their current roles (essentially just typing in web and Wayfair orders) and give them other, more useful jobs within the company.
But how do we take that one step further?
With the help of a Web Developer we planned and designed a tool that, utilizing metafields and the existing data integration, would then be able to push incoming inventory numbers to the live website and show customers not only how many pieces we have in stock - but what's on the way. Further, we reprogrammed the "Add to Cart" button to do the math between the numbers and not mark the product as "Out of Stock" until both the available, and incoming numbers reach "0".
This has been a huge gamechanger for how Marshall does business, and combined with proper analytics it's making their planning and forecasting something actually feasible to do.
Additionally, when products are finally "out of stock", the "Add to Cart" button is replaced with a "Notify Me" button that will not only send the customer an alert when the product is back in stock, but also collects and stores that data so that we can see how many people are waiting on various items to return to stock, and also run targeted email marketing campaigns at those people.
SO, WHAT'S NEXT?
We're still hammering through the 3000+ SKU catalog and replacing images as we can, as well as continuing to photograph and develop new products and pieces. This has been a long journey, but one I'm really glad I got to be a part of.