How to enable customers to easily tailor furniture to their individual needs and made the price modification process as simple as possible at the same time? The solution we developed for a client from the Netherlands meets both these conditions.
Dutchwood is a custom furniture producer from the Netherlands, selling its products in a number of European countries. The company offers handmade, designer furniture, made of top quality wood and textiles. Customers highly value Dutchwood products and follow the brand on social networks. Dutchwood Facebook profile has over 80 thousand followers.
New online store with a product configuration tool
In the years 2007-2010 e-commerce became very popular in the Netherlands. Every brick and mortar shop owner was ready to invest their money and launch an online store. Our client already had one. However, they knew that what really mattered in e-commerce was the ability to personalise your purchase. Therefore, they wanted to have an online tool for individual product configuration, making it possible for customers to adjust any product to their own expectations.
The client approached us in order to commission a new version of their online store. The aim of the modification was to enable users to customise products in line with their needs. As part of the project we were supposed to identify Dutchwood customers’ needs as regards individual product configuration as well as the producer’s capabilities in that matter. The configuration tool was supposed to be easy to manage for the shop owner and easy to operate for the customers. Our task was to create a mechanism that would calculate the costs of additional features selected in the configuration tool.
In order to work these issues out, we had to both thoroughly analyse the client’s offer and take into consideration specific needs of their customers, future users of the solution. It was possible thanks to good communication and access to analytical tools in the previous version of Dutchwood online store.
The best solution? Webmerce!
The client expected us to develop an attractive and intuitive application interface. The site was meant for both desktop computers and mobile devices. Since almost 50% customers browse through online store offers on their smartphones and tablets, it was a necessary condition.
Dutchwood already had an online store, so the first thing we did was migrating the products and the content to the new version of the site. The modifications we were supposed to do were so demanding that an advanced tool was necessary. To meet the client’s expectations we needed the calculation mechanism available within out Webmerce platform.
Webmerce is a proven solution for launching and managing online stores. It is an intuitive platform that provides advanced e-commerce functions. It enables searching, browsing, ordering and making payments both on desktop computers and mobile devices. Webmerce supports the most popular online payment systems in the European Union and USA.
How does it work?
The calculation mechanism available in Webmerce enabled a considerable optimisation of the product management process. We decided to make it similar to a buffet you can come across in many restaurants. Instead of serving plenty of “dishes” for a fixed price, Dutchwood customers can select components and add them to the basic “dish”. As the components are being added, the price changes dynamically. The total price depends on the amount and type of components added to the basic version of a piece of furniture.
Let’s take for instance a garden sofa. It comes in 10 different sizes, with or without a cover, with 4 different lacquer finishes to choose from. These give you 80 sofa combinations. As soon as the sofa features have been selected and configured, the customer can choose one of 300 upholstery fabrics.
If we dealt with the configuration in a traditional way, we would end up with a huge number of products, each of them having a different price. Fortunately, our unique attitude to furniture configuration lets us reduce the number of possible combinations in one product. It also makes the price management much easier because it is the price of an individual module that has to be changed if needed, not the prices of all the products that have that module.
In the product configuration tool we developed every product has its own size chart including prices for different size combinations. On the basis of the limit size values a possible minimum and maximum sizes for a given product are set.
The customers can adjust a piece of furniture to a given interior and check its basic price. Afterwards, they can select additional elements – upholstery, storage compartment, extra cushions and covers – that can also be tailored to their individual needs. Each additional module can have a fixed price or a price that is calculated dynamically, depending on the size given at the first stage of the configuration.
The configuration can be interrupted and saved at any stage. The customer can for instance start configuring their furniture on their mobile device and finish it on their laptop back home.
The configuration tool is integrated with social networks, so the customer can share their choices with friends, for instance on Facebook. Before they take the final decision, they can get in touch with the customer service, either via live chat or email. The website is fully responsive and optimised for mobile users.
Thanks to Webmerce we managed to implement both the functional and usability features. Our solution lets Dutchwood team effectively manage the service and it enables adding new features in the future.