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.