From Sales Supporting Tool to Potent E-commerce Solution
Initiated as a product registration solution used to expand the pool of prospective buyers, the system evolved into the company’s primary selling tool.
As Franzis offers both tangible goods and digital downloadable products, there are two product delivery scenarios involved: the E-commerce solution handles orders for downloadable products, while the orders for physically delivered goods are handled by a third-party company. Despite the differences in payment modes and product delivery scenarios, the system ensures a unified and consistent user experience for both online business managers and company’s customers.
Separate full-featured sub-sites that are managed from a centralized content management system are used to address marketing needs when promoting sales of multiple product lines.
The functionality available on the front office enables millions of web-users to:
- Register cover-mount products. The system is used to augment the mailing list with email addresses of the customers who use their accounts to register cover-mount products distributed for free.
- Subscribe/unsubscribe to/from newsletters. Active subscribers’ database contains 600.000 records (with an average of 9.000 web users subscribing/unsubscribing per week).
- Perform internal site search facilitating selection of products that are subsequently purchased using credit cards.
- Browse through how-to sections/learning courses, etc.
The back office functionality available for online business managers includes:
- A full-featured centralized content management system used to organize goods in online product catalogs on several sub-sites.
- Administration features, i.e. user management, permission management, custom report generation enabling to drill into various aspects of online shops’ performance.
- Asset management. Assets may be sold, given away for free, awarded, provided for subscribers exclusively, etc. The solution provides for configuring several download-nodes independently of the core store and registration capabilities.
- Processing orders. There are 1200 orders for tangible and downloadable goods processed every week. Tangible products are stored and delivered by a third-party company.
- Marketing module providing a number of marketing tools, such as newsletters, RSS feed, etc. To generate community involvement, forum capabilities are integrated. Moreover, new advanced marketing tools are being introduced and implemented on a regular basis.
Online shop builder Web66 capabilities were leveraged to build a rich-functionality E- commerce portal, the development effort encompassing E-commerce components development and ORM solution implementation from scratch.
The distributed solution was designed with the consistency of application components in mind. The underlying technology powering the web portal is Java. A .NET-based thick client was built to be installed at online business managers’ desktops.
Apache Lucene was leveraged to provide for internal site search, while XStandard WYSIWYG editor was implemented to ensure seamless user experience.