BuildDirect is a leading online marketplace for home improvement products. Based in Vancouver, they connect homeowners throughout North America directly with sellers of building materials. BuildDirect eliminates heavy retail markups, offers doorstep delivery, and provides a simple, trusted shopping experience.
At its core, BuildDirect is a platform company that has emerged as an industry leader by:
Developing unique predictive analytics capabilities and machine learning algorithms to predict consumer demand
Building a supply chain for heavy goods that delivers from anywhere in the world, to the home
Launching an online marketplace, dubbed Home Marketplace, that connects sellers directly with homeowners
In order to continue fueling growth and building on its momentum, the company needed to implement IT structures that allowed them to scale efficiently and pivot quickly in the face of market changes.
„Pimcore dramatically transformed our business by automating the exchange of data and creating a supplier-side portal for manufacturers.“
Tal Ball, Chief Technology Officer BuildDirect Technologies, Inc
BuildDirect’s product management workflow was simple: For every item they offered, the internal merchandizing team received basic manufacturer-provided product information such as specifications, dimensions and materials. Then, they’d expand upon that content to create a compelling, brand-driven product story accompanied by smart photography.
After the launch of Home Marketplace in February 2016, BuildDirect expected to increase their number of SKUs exponentially — which would come with a massive amount of raw factory product information. At the time, the highly skilled product marketing team could merchandize only a few dozen items each week, and would soon be handcuffed by the lack of scalability available with the legacy IT structures.
Knowing they needed to implement a golden source for all item descriptions, product meta data, digital assets, and web content, BuildDirect ran an RFP for a Product Information Management (PIM) application that:
Could be designed for workflows unique to the organization
Came with out-of-the-box APIs for accessing information recorded in the database
Had an SDK to extend the possibilities of those APIs, or the ability to develop new ones.
Pimcore rose to the top because its API made for fast and easy integration with BuildDirect’s existing ERP, CRM and other business intelligence systems.
Lightning Jar, a Pimcore partner, drove strategy and design of the initial PIM for BuildDirect. In just two months, the company was ready to migrate thousands of suppliers to the new system and train an internal team of approximately 50 people who would be responsible for integrating the application with their workflows.
Product Information Management
Pimcore scaled incredibly well: It could handle millions of SKUs and tens of millions of relationships (taxonomies, related products, etc.), remaining responsive and snappy at each turn. And, the MVC-based Zend framework allowed BuildDirect’s technology team to create custom portals capable of editing and importing data.
BuildDirect already had existing e-commerce experiences in place. That content was first switched over to the new master data source in Pimcore. Pimcore’s API let the IT team easily feed data into the existing experiences. The same principle applied to catalogue extractions and integration with Google Product Listing Ads (PLA), Amazon and other marketplaces.
Web Content Management
The CMS provided everything BuildDirect needed to create and manage their digital experiences: marketing-focused landing pages, corporate pages, FAQs, and even interactive experiences.
A supplier-facing portal allowed BuildDirect’s sellers to self-merchandise, request BuildDirect services, and access help section videos. Sellers could also view a map-based dashboard with company sales predictions and insights on generating more sales by adjusting their strategy or adding warehouse locations.
Because of Pimcore’s workable PHP framework, BuildDirect’s internal IT team owned the PIM solution after launch and have been able to support future evolutions. As needed, they have had the flexibility and tools necessary to create custom portals for targeting suppliers, partners, franchises, and other distinct audiences.
Powerful e-commerce flexibility: Implicit and explicit personalization features let BuildDirect categorize and segment website visitors to provide the right content for the right audience.
A trusted shopping experience: Pimcore allows BuildDirect to introduce customer journey predictability and product consistency across channels.
Data-driven sales platform: Pricing can be configured to reflect specific warehouses and suppliers.
A data-powered workforce: Pimcore scaled up BuildDirect’s product marketing capacity without increasing headcount.
Backed by business intelligence: BuildDirect can now better solve pricing and markup challenges, as well as shipping and delivery logistics, with the same arsenal of product data that drives sales.
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