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Global appliance brand upgrades consumer site to Drupal

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“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.

Because we have an ongoing working agreement with the appliance company, we cannot include their brand name in this case study. 

The Challenge

The global appliance brand 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 the global appliance brand 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 re-platforming. 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 parent company and deliver a mobile-friendly B2C experience 

Improve internal user experience and site performance

The appliance company's 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 But the Drupal admin panel was outdated and required some technical knowledge to navigate and publish content effectively.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 dimensions, weight, or color -- for thousands of products is stored in a centralized product content management system (PCM) located in a different country. To deliver the most current information to the client's website, the site pulls data from the PCM. But the “pull” process was disorganized and difficult to access, requiring the client 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 two languages.
“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 the parent-company's complete portfolio of digital properties, including other appliance and electronics companies. Since all the brands access data from the PCM, the parent company may, at some point, consolidate the backend and add direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce across the portfolio. We integrated Drupal Commerce so our client has the infrastructure to activate DTC if and when they want to. 

Update visual design & design language

The upgrade was integral to future-proof the parent company's complete portfolio of digital properties, including other international appliance and electronics companies. Since all the brands access data from the PCM, at some point the parent company may consolidate the backend and add direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce across its portfolio. By setting up Drupal Commerce with the website, our client 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 our client's corporate guidelines and didn't align with other company sites in other countries. 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 the global appliance brand's website allowed each organization to focus on its strengths. Coordination and cooperation were key.”
– Mark Dodgson, CXO at Relevant Bits
GE appliances homepage

More stuff by the Bits Brigade

We would love to share this client's website with you, but can't just yet. In the meantime, take a look at how we helped Autodesk go virtual with their biggest international conference.