INTEGRATION AND DESIGN

GE Appliances Canada upgrades consumer experience with Drupal  

A reliable product-specific CMS, new ecommerce infrastructure, and complete redesign all vastly improve the overall experience. 
“We had an ambitious timeline with this project and the entire Relevant Bits team was committed to hitting the deadline. Communication is key with a big project like this and they are accessible and have great communication skills.”
– Dave Weber, senior partner at Sims Advertising

About the Clients

Sims Advertising is a 30-person agency in Burlington, Ontario, that offers strategic communications, traditional marketing and digital solutions to more than 40 national clients whose combined sales are in the billions of dollars. Relevant Bits is the agency’s technology partner.

Mabe is an authorized distributor of GE Appliances in Canada. GE Appliances Canada, a Mabe company, manufacturers appliances and delivers services under the brands GE®, Haier, Café® and Monogram®. Products include refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers, dryers and air conditioners. GE is one of largest appliance brands in the United States and Canada. 

The Challenge

GE Appliances Canada dealt with inefficient content management capabilities, unreliable product integrations, and design elements that weren't consistent with the parent brand. These challenges often impacted communication, outcomes, and trust. 

The Solution

There were three main areas to focus on. Migrate from Sitecore (ASP.NET) to Drupal (PHP), integrate the remote product content management (PCM) system with the website, and update the internal and external user experience and design.

The Result

The improvements resulted in a superior B2B user experience, accurate and fast product data extraction, and a modern, streamlined design that aligns with corporate branding. 

The Background

When GE Appliances Canada engaged Sims Advertising, a site upgrade was one of the foundational project elements. So Sims turned to its UX partner, Relevant Bits, to handle the replatforming. The new site had to achieve four key objectives:
  • Move the site to an easier-to-manage platform
  • Improve product content data collection
  • Create a foundation for potential e-commerce integration
  • Align site design with U.S. parent and deliver a mobile-friendly B2C experience 

Improve internal user experience and site performance

The GE Canadian team wasn't happy with their Sitecore implementation and found it difficult to work with internally. By prioritizing a customized content management system, we were able make it user-friendly — both internally and externally. 

Migrate to Drupal 8

Moving from Sitecore to Drupal was the first step. But the Drupal admin panel was outdated and required some technical knowledge to navigate and publish content effectively. We customized the admin panel to make it intuitive so people of all experience levels can use it.

Improve access to product information 

We focused on making products easier to find and learn about, which included implementing Elasticsearch, creating a layout and system for promotions, and making sure both mobile and desktop performed equally. 

Establish the content management process

Product information, like the dimensions of a refrigerator, for thousands of GE appliance products is stored in a centralized product content management system (PCM) housed in Mexico. To deliver the most current information to geappliances.ca, the site pulls data from the PCM. But the “pull” process was disorganized and difficult to access, requiring the Canada team to verify that each set of data was correct and displayed in a way that makes sense to human eyes.

Establish bilingual system for product data

Our team created a template to organize product information automatically so the data is presented accurately and in a uniform style – in both French and English.
“The biggest frustration was working with a CMS that was difficult to update efficiently. The upgrade to Drupal 8 made for a relatively seamless data pull. The new product content management system is much easier to work with — and makes for a better presentation for the consumer.” 
– Dave Weber, senior partner, Sims Advertising

Future-proof the portfolio

The upgrade was integral to future-proof Mabe’s complete portfolio of digital properties, including GE®, Haier, Café®, and Monogram®. Since all the brands access data from the PCM, Mabe may, at some point, consolidate the backend and add direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce across the portfolio. We integrated Drupal Commerce GE Appliances has the infrastructure to activate DTC if and when they want to. 

Update visual design & design language

The upgrade was integral to future-proof Mabe’s complete portfolio of digital properties, including GE®, Haier, Café®, and Monogram®. Since all the brands access data from the PCM, Mabe may, at some point, consolidate the backend and add direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce across the portfolio. By setting up Drupal Commerce with the website, GE Appliances Canada has the infrastructure to activate DTC when and if they decide to.

Establish design consistency

The original site used a number of different fonts and styles which detracted from the overall user experience and user understanding of the brand. Our design team coordinated the fonts, sizing, colors and image elements to create a cohesive, clean and easy to read and use frontend.

Align with parent brand

Additionally, the overall look and style didn’t meet GE corporate guidelines and didn't align with the geappliances U.S. site. To further unify the brand, we created templates and style sheets that make it easy for site administrators and content editors to build new pages that reflect the parent brand standards. 
“Partnering with Sims to modernize geappliances.ca allowed each organization to focus on its strengths. Coordination and cooperation were key.”
– Mark Dodgson, CXO at Relevant Bits
GE appliances homepage

See it in action

We love working with brands that have a big reach. Check out how the site looks now!

About Relevant Bits

Relevant Bits is a strategic design and development team, brought together by the desire to do better and be better. Tackling projects that require an innovative, cooperative, and technical approach, Relevant Bits partners with companies that want to solve complicated problems. From manufacturing and retail to community education, Relevant Bits leads projects from initial strategy to launch. Based in Toronto, Canada, Relevant Bits is entirely remote, with employees located in Hungary, England, the United States, and Canada.  

We want to build something great with you.