The previous Lemax web site was created in 2002 and its functionality had not been updated for some time. The site was difficult to update and navigate and over-time, it became difficult for retailers and collectors to use. Lemax noticed their site visitation rate dropping at a steady pace, and retailers and collectors were complaining and some even demanding they build a new web site.
The goal and challenges for the new web site were as follows.
Create a new web site that could serve as an online catalog so retailers and collectors could browse and purchase products online. At the same time, re-brand the entire site to target specific visitor demographics, and provide additional services to Lemax retailers without the need of having to print a 52-page catalog each year. The print catalog includes of 2,500+ products and each must be clearly visible to the retailer. If the retailer is unable to see clearly visualize each product, then the site would be considered a failure and the catalog would have to continue to be printed.
The site needed to be feature-rich and include functionality such as easy navigation, product search, product zoom and multi-media videos. Retailers are interested in seeing new products and hearing about new product arrivals. Collectors are interested in seeing the series of products that they collect. The requirements for the web site were separated into three different categories.
Requirements for Retailers
• Fast and easy to navigate
• Online catalog with ability to zoom in on products
• Find Décor with Lemax ideas for store displays
• Find accurate, updated information
• Receive newsletters and press announcements
Requirements for Collectors
• See products by themes
• Find products easily
• Review and hear about new products
• See new ideas for design and decoration
• Register for newsletters
Requirements for Lemax
• Add content and products easily
• Assign products to departments easily
• Single sign-on for content management system and e-commerce
• Scalable (Five-year term)
• Permission-based page groups
• Quick to implement and deploy
A web site based on a Microsoft solution and a CMS application from a trusted vendor. The winner is Sitefinity. Accompanied by Mallsoft eModules for Sitefinity, the two applications resulted in a perfect solution for Lemax.
eModules for Sitefinity are .NET C-Sharp modules that have been built around the Sitefinity API. These modules include many features, such as product and department controls, product search, and product display, tell a friend, add to cart, check out, order fulfillment and many more. All eModules are integrated directly into Sitefinity and each module consists of a template that can be easily changed and swapped out without any difficulty. Templates allow eModules to be easily deployed and upgraded without having to overwrite any custom code. Each module can function independently or together on a single page consisting of multiple eModules.
After comparing apples to apples, it is just amazing what you get out of the box with Sitefinity. The license and integration cost are minimal, allowing for resources to be used elsewhere. Upgrading Sitefinity is easy, as it does not overwrite any customized code that has been created. Support tickets are usually answered within several hours, and the community of developers now supporting Sitefinity is rapidly growing.
Sitefinity and Mallsoft’s eModules for Sitefinity work extremely well together as a single solution for Lemax. Having a feature-rich CMS system and extending its capabilities to include e-commerce is seldom seen in a CMS application and is highly desirable. There were many obstacles to overcome that are seldom seen in e-commerce sites, including the ability to turn off the e-commerce capabilities of the site during certain times of the year was unheard of. Because Lemax products are seasonal, it was critical that Lemax did not compete with its online retailers during certain months of the year.
The combination of Sitefinity and eModules for Sitefinity has given Lemax the ability to continually grow the web site with minimal operating costs. The site has also strengthened the relationship with Lemax retailers by providing the ability to exchange product data via a “Product Feed,” allowing customers to purchase Lemax products directly from a retailer’s web site.
Because there were many products that overlapped themes and categories, it was imperative that this work not only for the customer, but for Lemax employees updating the web site. Combining a content management system and e-commerce system together is not very easy; however with Sitefinity and eModules for Sitefinity, anyone can extend the functionality of Sitefinity and create a custom online catalog or e-commerce store.