Wind Trap(WT), established in 2005, is a small company providing a range of products from energy generating products such as wind turbines and solar panels through to a whole range of energy saving and eco friendly devices. WT operates solely as on online business.
WT had no central System in place to control any essential business processes. Everyday tasks and processes such as stock control, margin reporting, order processing etc, were carried out manually by using various software applications like Microsoft’s Excel, Word, Access and so on.
In terms of the website the content it provided as fairly informative, however the content was difficult to read and to find or navigate around. There was no clear visual distinction between the different sets of data across categories, products, general information and sale items, best sellers, new items and so on.
All maintenance was done manually, page by page. Due to the amount of pages on the website this process, as expected, was extremely arduous, error prone and time consuming.
It was clear that WT required a complete e-commerce solution, a solution that would encompass all their business processes both internal and customer facing. This solution would comprise of a new website and a full CMS, providing all their business tasks and processes at click of a button.
Project #1 www.windtrap.co.uk
WT and e-volve decided the best course of action would be to scrap all the existing systems and build a new MS SQL database and C#.NET web application from the ground up.
Firstly e-volve made sure the design of the new WT website kept its current brand presence but delivered a new and fresh looking design.
2. Products and Product Categories
All products and product categories displayed across the site navigation and product category pages are displayed according to their performance. The performance is based on real-time sales statistics, making sure the right products and product categories are displayed according to sales and margin.
Product pages now include customer reviews and four other sections on ‘How it Works’, ‘Technical Spec’, ‘What’s Included’ and ‘FAQS’. The how ‘How it Works’ section gives customers a step by step explanation, accompanied by an image, of exactly how the product works. This ensures less customer enquiries, as many questions are answered here, which results in speedier progress to checkout.
Product pages also display stock levels and when the stock level is 0 customers have the option to add their email address for notification of return to stock for that particular product. As soon as a new product batch is added the customer will be informed via email with a direct link to the product page.
Product pages also display related products and recommended products set in admin.windtrap.co.uk system. In addition to this the website displays top 10 new arrivals, best sellers and sale items, including a dedicated sales page.
3. Product Kits
WT also required Product Kits as many of their products could be grouped to make a full system i.e. Wind Turbine Kits. This feature was built in addition to the Product Management feature in the admin.windtrap.co.uk system and allows various products to be linked into a single Kit
4. Non-carried Products and Product Kits
Some of the products/kits sold by Wind Trap are non-carried, meaning they are not warehoused by WT but are instead shipped directly from their Suppliers warehouse. When a customer purchases a non-carried item they are provided with a popup window explaining that this is a non-carried item and what the expected despatch date for the product will be.
5. Product Searching
All products can be searched for using either a site wide search option, which is our built in Google Mini feature, or searches by; manufacturer, categories, price ranges.
6. Shopping Cart Process
The checkout system also allows for customers to either checkout without an account, which is quick and easy, or create an account or sign in if an account exists. E-volve do not store any customer card details so this information is required at the last stage of the checkout system.
When a customer has both carried and non-carried items in their cart when checking out they are provided with the options to have the items sent as one batch or as two separate batches (sending carried items out and waiting for non-carried items to be despatched separately).
A Google Analytics account was set up by e-volve to allow WT to view detailed statistics about users of their website.
WT’s e-commerce solution integrates SagePay Payment Gateway. SagePay provides WT with the ability to manage all features associated with e-commerce functionality directly, including transaction management, rule bases, 3D secure and much more. For a detailed explanation of SagePay please see the E-commerce Service.
On completion of the order process, the customer sees an order review screen detailing their unique order number. They are also sent an automated email. Any new (and successful) order is displayed in WT’s admin.windtrap.co.uk system on the ‘Orders To Go’ screen.
It was decided that customers accounts would be required as WT had many return customers and this would allow a better shopping experience for them in terms of the ability to manage their orders and personal information through their account area on the website.
In addition to signing up for an account customers and by pass this process and checkout directly, entering their personal details before checking out.
The website could now make the most of the feature rich CMS (Project#2 admin.windtrap.co.uk) for dynamic content and which would be used for easy updates and maintenance of the site as well as handling all WT business processes.
The e-commerce experience provided by www.windtrap.co.uk is now a world away from the old website experience and customers can enjoy an intuitive and informative shopping experience.
Project #2 Admin System
All the features available in WT’s CMS included all the general functionality expected from a modern CMS as well as all the e-commerce features and bespoke features unique to WT’s business processes.
1. General Features
The Product Management features allow control over all aspects of products ranging from product details and pricing through to product galleries, product attributes, stock levels, product batches, product reviews and much more.
Products are added to the system as product batches. These product batches are directly linked to a specific supplier and stores information such as total invoice costs, cost per product, quantity of products and line totals. The cost per product is then used to calculated margins throughout the system. When a product batch is added any customers waiting for the product are emailed a direct link to the product for purchase.
3. Child Products
Since some products are identical except for attributes such as colour, size, weight and so on, WT required a way of linking such products together in such a way that a single product could be used to represent all the general information for a group of similar products on the website. This linkage used parent child linkage, meaning the parent product would be the product displayed on the website and its’ linked child products would appear as the options for the various attributes.
The child products would still contain their own set of data the same as the parent product since prices, offers, discounts and so on could vary depending on the product attribute.
4. Product Kits
As mentioned in project #1 www.windtrap.co.uk, WT also has a Product Kit feature which provides all the functionality of the product management features but in addition allows for the grouping of single products into a kit. The product Kit can handle as many products as required and provides additional information such as kit total prices, averages from single product prices and so on.
5. Non-carried Products
WT does not stock its entire Product line in its own warehouse therefore some products are ordered with a supplier after a purchase is made. When an order is made for a non-carried item the CMS allows the user to process the supplier order, which is e-mailed to the supplier for them to dispatch the goods. Once the supplier confirms the order and dispatch the user enters a non-carried product batch into the CMS which then updates the specific order with cost prices and margins.
6. Product Categories
Product Categories allow products to be grouped appropriately and define the website navigation and logic in terms of displaying products. Each Product Category contains its own unique data consisting of page data category ranking (overwrites margin based ranking), sub categories, related categories and so on.
WT’s postage types are Next Day Delivery, Standard Delivery and Airmail. Apart from the postage type, the postage cost is also calculated by the weight of the order as a whole. However, since some products are non-carried the postage options will also split and calculated for carried and non-carried despatch.
Order Management features provide WT with all important order information i.e. customer info, marketing, postage, shipping, status, costs such as card charges, discounts, margins; per product, per order and on postage. Information on SagePay Payment Gateway attempts and results is also provided.
The CMS also allows orders to be placed internally. Proforma orders can also be created and allows customers to pay by cheque. The Proforma order will be held until payment is taken and then converted into an actual order.
All shipping services and shipping companies are managed by the CMS. WT users will select the appropriate shipment details as per the order requirements, if the order is tracked then the tracking info will be entered against the order and this will appear on the customers’ email notification when the order is despatched from the warehouse.
Various types of packaging is used and all this information is also managed by the CMS. The WT user will select the appropriate type of packaging for the order and its associated cost will be recorded against the order.
Refunds be easily actioned and the reasons for them must be recorded. Any amount up to the order total can be refunded.
If a replacement is required then the CMS will allow a user to replace part or the whole of the order, the reason for this must be recorded against all items.
In both cases, Refunds and Replacements, the products in the order can be tracked according to their status(reason provided for refund/replacement) i.e. faulty, damaged, missing in post and so on. This can then be used to follow up products which were sent back to suppliers, queries with shipment companies and so on.
Detailed supplier information is managed by the CMS ensuring products are always linked to the correct supplier and processes such as adding product batches, creating supplier orders and so on are tightly controlled.
12. Payment Cards
WT is charged by its merchant for every card transaction that is made, therefore WT need to manage all card types it processes to ensure these charges are stored against orders, this ultimately leads to the correct margin calculations.
Reports are displayed across the CMS in the appropriate areas allowing WT to instantly see what needs processing and what changes are required to improve its services. As one example of this; each product page displays that particular products’ sales stats which shows totals on products sold, refunded, replaced, ordered, shipping statuses, top 10 recent orders, product batches, stock value and so on.
The CMS menu page shows WT daily, weekly, monthly and yearly sales states, displays items which need reordering, items which need action taken according to their status, customer reviews waiting to be processed, customers waiting for specific products and so on.
Margin is based on seven key items across the system; products, discounts, shipping costs, card charges, packaging costs, refund costs and SagePay costs.
All in all the CMS provides WT with all features necessary to run its business processes in one place.
Project #3 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Website Content
WT also required substantial SEO work to be carried out. All pages, products, categories etc which are dynamically displayed on the website have their own manageable SEO content. This SEO content was written from scratch, ensuring the highest possible ranking by Google and various other search engines and includes all keywords, descriptions, page titles, headers, general content, images and so on.
This process also included Search Engine Transition which allowed for all the old website pages to redirect to the appropriate new website pages while maintaining all search engine rankings the old site had already built up.
As stated earlier, WT’s content was already fairly good, however we were required to revise and rewrite this content from scratch. We also carried out content migration which required data to be moved from the old website and any existing systems to the new CMS and website.
Project #4: Windows Service
WT uses a Windows Service, installed on e-volve’s dedicated server, which runs daily automated tasks. These tasks send out automated emails which notify customers of products which have been returned to stock, request reviews from customers a week after purchase and general database updates.
Wind Trap is a PCI Compliant Website