Our Thoughts

Using Ecommerce to Reach New Markets

Posted by Mandy Cech on Jan 28, 2016 10:00:00 AM
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Haworth saw an opportunity to reach new audiences through an online store. They needed a system to handle their customizable products and their established process for production.

“Meet the customers where they are.” That value has served Haworth well over its near 70 years of business. The furniture design and manufacturing company uses a network of dealers to meet the needs of commercial customers in more than 170 countries. In 2012, the marketing team at Haworth saw an opportunity to reach a new audience – individual consumers – through technology. They decided to create an ecommerce website to sell their extensive offerings in a simplified format.

REFRAMING THE PROBLEM

Tracking hundreds of thousands of model numbers.

Customization is a hallmark of Haworth’s brand. There are hundreds of thousands of options when you consider furniture type, fabric, wood color, trim, size, and more. The Haworth team has a system in place for creating unique model numbers (SKUs) for each variation of a product. The SKUs help Haworth in managing inventory and production. They would need to tailor any ecommerce technology to match that system for generating SKUs.

Visualization is a priority for online ordering.

Before making an investment, customers want to envision their furniture in use. The Marketing team wanted a virtual experience to show the many product options. This system needed to be simple for customers to understand and simple for the marketing team to manage.

Data should flow seamlessly from one system to another.

Haworth already used many systems to run their business - from production to billing, marketing assets to analytics. Any information that the ecommerce site gathered needed to connect with the other technologies. When a customer placed an order through the website, that should prompt the production process. The team didn’t want to duplicate information or to manually transfer it from one system to another.

As Haworth considered the road ahead, they began talking with us about how to make this website a reality. We had worked with their team in the past, so they trusted us to manage this challenging project.

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Our process


INSIGHT

Building a new ecommerce engine comes with plenty of unknown. As we spoke with Haworth, we listened to why they wanted to start this project and what they hoped to achieve. We continued to study their workflow and systems to create a plan that accounted for the nuances of their business.

CLARITY

Once we had worked through the research, we began forming a plan with the Haworth team. With so much data to consider and multiple integrations to manage, a comprehensive architecture was vital to the success of the project.

ENABLEMENT

Custom “Configurator” for Custom Products

Haworth selected the Sitefinity Content Management System (CMS) as the basis for how they would manage their website and build new pages. Our team used that platform to build a custom “configurator” which walks customers through the process of selecting their product style, color, and any other variation. When an order is placed, we built the website to replicate the SKU numbers that Haworth already uses to track products and initiate production.

Real-Time Visualization

The decision to purchase a piece of furniture is made up of dozens of tiny decisions. One of the best ways to simplify this process is through visualization. Our challenge was to display each product variation the moment a customer clicked to see it. We set up Adobe Scene 7 to store and display the many visual possibilities of a product. A customer can see the product as they change a color or add an enhancement. To help the customer picture that product in his or her space, we built an augmented reality mobile app where furniture could be display on any scene captured by the device’s camera.

Integration with ERP, Analytics and More

Haworth already had many systems they relied upon for order fulfillment, customer relationship management, analytics, and tax calculations. To ease of their workload, we built integrations between the ecommerce site and these other systems. For example, when an order was placed online, it would need to prompt the order fulfillment straight to SAP and calculate the estimated delivery time for a customer.

IMPACT

By simplifying the management of this website, we strengthened a relationship of confidence and trust with Haworth that continues today. Haworth now uses the Sitefinity Enterprise Edition to manage multiple websites and relies on our expertise to work with them to support those sites.

“We couldn’t be happier with how the Haworth online store turned out. Springthrough delivered a great solution on time and on budget. The ultimate proof is the strength of sales that we have been seeing.” Tom DeBoer, E-commerce Manager, Haworth

With this project, Haworth won a "Website of the Year" award from Telerik Sitefinity

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 PROJECT SNAPSHOT

Over the course of the engagement, we provided Haworth with solutions by

  • Implementing the Sitefinity CMS
  • Building a custom system for generating orders online
  • Creating a 3D visualization tool with Di technology
  • Using Adobe Scene 7 to provide visualization of product variations
  • Integrating the website with SAP, Canto Cumulus DAM, and Avalara Tax
  • Training content owners at Haworth

 

To accomplish these tasks, we used a variety of technologies. 

  • Sitefinity Content Management System
  • NET Web API
  • JQuery
  • Adobe Scene 7
  • Canto Cumulus
  • Total Immersion Technology
  • Avalara
  • SAP

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Topics: Enterprise Content Management

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