Haworth, Inc., a global leader in office furniture and customized workspaces, needed an ecommerce solution to help the company enter the online marketplace. Faced with a challenging implementation including complex SKUs and integration with SAP, Adobe Scene 7 and Canto Cumulus, Haworth turned to Telerik Sitefinity Partner Springthrough and Sitefinity CMS. Together they delivered an innovative ecommerce experience that met the budget, boosted organic visits by 438% and created an immediate ecommerce success by surpassing monthly sales targets.
Haworth, Inc. is a global leader in the design and manufacturing of office furniture and Organic Workspaces®. It combines science and design principles to create customer-centric solutions aligning the physical environment with organizational culture, work styles and strategies. Haworth serves markets in more than 170 countries through a global network of 600 dealers.
Although Haworth traditionally sells to large organizations through its commercial contract office furniture dealerships, the company wanted to leverage its website as a sales channel for individual customers that do not have access to Haworth’s unique and high quality products. However, selling direct meant treading carefully. The ecommerce solution needed to protect the Haworth brand and accommodate a complex product offering. Haworth products are built to order, with thousands of options and a complex model number (SKU) structure. For example, one of the most popular Haworth chairs—the Zody chair—needed to be available in over 11,000 different configurations on the ecommerce platform.
With such a customizable furniture offering, Haworth knew product visualization would be key to its success. Haworth was looking for a new technology to help customers visualize customized product details, as well as see how the furniture would look in their homes.
Haworth turned to Springthrough, a Telerik Sitefinity Partner and Microsoft Certified Partner based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Their expertise would be tested in this challenging implementation.
The chosen platform had to be fully customizable, extensible and compatible with its existing systems, including SAP, Avalara Tax and its Cumulus Data Asset Management (DAM) System. The system also had to be flexible enough to offer a unique customer experience.
Eric Spencer, Solutions Architect at Springthrough, recalled the project landscape, “There were many concerns about the SKU structure. It’s extremely complex and not designed for the consumer marketplace. That weighed heavily on our choice of technology.”
But picking the platform was only the beginning. The team also had to resolve the SKU issue. Says Eric, “A single chair can have over a million configurations when you factor fabric type, color, wood, trim, casters, size and a host of other variables.” This increases further when required modifications for modular pieces are considered. All of this had to be done in such a way that Haworth’s SAP system would accept direct orders from the ecommerce engine. The SKU had to match and the pricing had to correctly configure.
“All components of a desk are separate. If you choose a rectangle desk, for example, the system needs to know what legs, bolts, brackets and finishes go with it. If the desk configuration changes to an angled corner, bolts, brackets and legs would all change. It’s very complex.”
Visualization was also important. The platform had to work with existing and new visualization technology. Haworth does not have brick and mortar stores, so getting customers to better understand its products while visiting the online store was crucial to its success.
There were several challenges. The site had to present Haworth’s exhaustive options without overwhelming customers, while under the hood, the system needed to ensure customers would receive the right assembly pieces and hardware with their orders. Further, the system had to be flexible enough to incorporate the new visualization technology needed to create a unique customer experience. These factors, coupled with the requirement to integrate with existing systems, strongly influenced the overall site architecture and design. “We have an experienced team here at Springthrough, and bar none, this was the most complicated work we’ve ever done,” says Eric.
After a thorough review, Haworth chose Telerik Sitefinity with Ecommerce. Sitefinity met all requirements for extensibility and system integration, plus it would enable the company to standardize its web properties on one solution.
“Sitefinity is our go-to CMS,” says Eric, “We’ve encountered other CMSs, but they often have challenges since most other systems are not user friendly. ”
First, Springthrough developed a SKU generation engine based on the Sitefinity platform. This included building a user interface giving Haworth the ability to create the base elements and simple rules needed to create and price different versions of each of the products it sells in the store. “The art of good web design is to make complex technology, simple,” said Eric.
Next, came enhanced product visualization with Adobe Scene 7. Incorporated within the Augmented Reality iPad app, it lets users envision the furniture in their homes from any angle. They can see how the furniture will look, if it will fit, change the color and share photos with others. Customers can also purchase from the app which launches the Haworth site: store.haworth.com.
In terms of integrations, Haworth’s store integrates with SAP for order fulfillment, Auth.NET’s customer relation manager and Avalara Tax for tax calculations. Haworth collects tax in all 50 states and Avalara Tax aids with the complexity. For example, Haworth’s “White Glove Delivery” is technically a service, so in certain areas it’s taxable and in others not. Says Eric, “Haworth’s ecommerce site exceeded it expectations in terms of design, function, and integration.”
“Since launching on Sitefinity eight months ago, store.haworth.com has experienced a steady and sustainable increase in traffic which has translated into orders,” says Linda Stacy, Web Marketing Manager at Haworth:
- Visits: up 378%
- Unique Visitors: up 527%
- Page views: up 198%
- Mobile Visits: up 850%
- Organic Search Visits: up 438%
In addition to performing flawlessly, store.haworth.com exceeded its initial sales goals. “I 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,” says Tom DeBoer, E-commerce Manager at Haworth.
Haworth successfully launched its ecommerce platform with system integration, unique visualization and strong product customization capabilities. Moving forward, work will continue to further improve the user experience, visualization tools and white-hat traffic acquisition. Springthrough achieved everything Haworth wanted—and is now exceeding sales goals—thanks to the Telerik Sitefinity platform.