Geovin is a second generation family owned business, based in Canada, with a serious commitment to quality. In 2012 they moved into a new state of the art manufacturing facility, utilizing the latest technology and automation in their building process. It allows them to deliver very high quality products, with boutique customizations. They partner with the interior design community and furniture retailers to allow consumers to purchase furniture that is a perfect match to their design preferences and space.
Problem to Solve: Transition manual order process to eCommerce site
In the thick of the pandemic, Geovin came to us to help innovate their website to match their product experience and bridge the gap for their dealers navigating closed showrooms, and limited direct contact with their customers. Geovin’s website had been a fairly static brochureware style site with no online ordering abilities, and no way to facilitate communication between customer and dealer. But those weren’t the only new hurdles they faced – shifting and volatile supply costs, as well as higher and fluctuating delivery costs, meant that in addition to building a new site, their data needed to be nimble. It needed to allow them to quickly make changes across tens of thousands of SKU variations in minutes for both Canadian and US dollars, but also dynamically display the correct price as MSRP or Dealer Cost based on who was using the site, a consumer or dealer.
Identified Needs and Solutions
3D Product Configuration and Custom Product Type
We implemented a 3D product configuration tool. Users can now launch this tool, allowing them to change the size, color, fabric and functions of their furniture in real time.
We utilized the Shapediver API to accomplish this. Shapediver is a platform that provides a tool to export 3D models generated in Rhino with a Grasshopper extension, and upload them to the web. This makes them available to anyone via the Shapediver Viewer. Their API allowed us to connect WooCommerce attributes to the model parameters, lighting schemes, and positioning so that the rendered model and WooCommerce selections stayed in sync, correctly displaying the price and associated SKU for each variation. We built a custom UI to showcase attribute thumbnails, and allow the user to see and evaluate options as they make selections in real time – updating the SKU code and price to the matched variant as they explore their options. They can spin the piece of furniture around, zoom in, update hardware or door styles, and even capture a screenshot when they save and close the configuration.
To alleviate performance issues, we also extended the standard WooCommerce Variable Product type to a new Geovin Variable Product type. This allowed us to create our own functions to replace more processing intensive functions and ensure that working with tens of thousands of variations didn’t bog down the load time of the site.
Dealer and Consumer Communication Tools
With a robust new product page, we now needed to help dealers streamline communication with their customers when they couldn’t meet face-to-face. Because existing Geovin Dealers were new to this kind of technology, we’ve rolled out tools for them in a stair step approach. Easing them in comfortably to a solution that meets the needs of their consumers. We’ve implemented two of these communication tools already and have a third slated to launch later this year.
- Email Product Configuration Selections
- Dealer Sales Order Creation
- Wishlist (coming soon)
Custom import script aligned to ERP data structure
Next on the list was the need to accommodate fluctuating business costs, and quickly adjust product pricing. Geovin already had in place an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tool to give perspective on their supply chain and manufacturing processes and resources. This system could easily generate a CSV of specific data Geovin was using to determine product pricing. We built a custom import script that could be run via WP-CLI. This script takes the exported ERP data, finds the products that match given the changed criteria, and adjusts product pricing accordingly. We also opted to add a custom field to handle USD, as a straight currency exchange didn’t account for additional factors necessary related to converting a product price for a US consumer or dealer.
Gated and Tiered Dealer Access, along with Geolocation to provide a dynamic viewing experience.
We wanted to ensure that when a user visits the Geovin site, they can experience the brand from their perspective — no matter if they are a consumer, or a dealer. We created a gated experience for dealers, allowing them to provide access to their staff and toggle between MSRP Pricing and their specific Cost. We also adapted the WooCommerce checkout process to specifically match dealer needs and expectations in generating a sales order. Dealer’s can copy additional emails on submission, add their own PO numbers or Tag ID’s, and provide custom order notes or specific shipping instructions as needed.
We also tracked a user’s Geolocation ensuring that pricing was delivered in their expected currency and that freight disclaimers were appropriate to the location they were browsing from.
Geovin sees the launch of their new site as transformational to their business, “ushering in a new era in the company’s history” – those are their words, not ours. They are looking forward to all this will allow them to accomplish as a company. Here’s a highlight of the most exciting outcomes.
- Geovin staff will be spending less time assisting dealers with manual orders, which will allow them to shift their focus and expand their business into even more of the US.
- Customer service and manufacturing will spend less time addressing mistakes in order submission and fulfillment with a visual rendering along side the order. An automated system ensures the right code and build requirements are delivered to the production team every time. This results in money and time saved fixing or remanufacturing an incorrect order.
- Geovin leadership feels equipped to quickly pivot and adjust when production costs change, ensuring that they don’t have to navigate a stretch of diminished profit margins uncontrollably.
- Empathetically equipping their retailers with free, advanced tools that would typically be cost prohibitive for a small business to implement on their own, strengthening relationships with their most valuable users.
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