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A print product becomes a digital event platform
The Woche-Pass was founded in 1975 as a small print shop and has developed over time into a cross-media media house. In order to counteract the falling sales in the print industry, it was decided to develop a digital strategy for the print product «Woche-Pass». The aim of the new digital strategy was to take advantage of the good starting position and build a digital ecosystem around the existing print offerings and products. The marketing site was transformed into a digital event platform.
The Woche-Pass website has already been implemented by w-vision with Pimcore. However, it was a marketing site and an easy to use and complex insertion tool to increase print sales. Orders are transferred to the ERP system via XML interface. So unlike many other companies in the print industry, the Woche-Pass had already taken measures to cope with increasing digitalization. Although the entire print industry has had to contend with sharp declines in sales in recent years, the Woche-Pass has remained relatively stable. However, it had been clear to the managing director and owner «Adrian Hess» for some time that the print industry would no longer be a growth market in the future and that he had to reckon with more severe declines.
„With the new event platform, a digital vessel has been created that could hardly be more powerful.“
Adrian Hess, CEO, Woche-Pass AG
The aim of the new digital strategy was to take advantage of the good starting position and build a digital ecosystem around the existing print offerings and products. The marketing site was transformed into a digital event platform (75% of users consume the Woche-Pass primarily because of the events). It was also decided to develop the already successfully launched insertion tool into a comprehensive service tool (SaaS) for all customers. Today, customers can use this area to enter their events, manage search subscriptions and organizations or make page reservations.
The aim of the portal is to continue to be the lighthouse in the region, in terms of events and activities. This is achieved by finding all events and activities from the region on the portal.
In addition to the technical challenges, the business model also had to be transformed. So, it was decided to test several variants and to expand the print offer with digital multi-channel upselling. A white-label model is also currently being rolled out. The complete solution uses the multi-client capability of Pimcore.
For the product development, a product team was established, which consists of a Product Owner / Growth Specialist, a User Experience Designer, and a Pimcore Developer. This team will be extended by a further developer in the near future. The project is also supported by the owner «Adrian Hess» and other specialists as needed.
For the operative implementation, another team has been established to take care of all administrative issues, customer service, quality management, etc. In order to have 100% of the events from the region on the portal already at the launch, this team also took care of the recording of the content (events). This task and other measures are currently being transferred to the entire company and further teams are to be created to take over important tasks step by step.
The «Event Portal» project is therefore much more than the development of a technical solution. The organization (processes), marketing and many other areas of the company are digitalized step by step. This also includes, for example, the further training of employees.
The technical implementation with Pimcore was preceded by a 2-month interview phase, which had the goal to capture the needs, tasks, problems, and wishes of the existing customers. The next step was to develop a prototype on this basis (user-centered).
In addition to the advertising customers, the users/readers were also interviewed and the most important learning from this survey was that the users/readers appreciated the Woche-Pass primarily because of the events. Contrary to the original plan, the focus from then on was on the development of a high-quality event solution. This was also welcomed by the advertising customers, as many customers saw «events» as a good means of marketing their offers (e.g. open house days).
For the further development of the MVP (minimal survivable product), Scrum was chosen as an agile approach/development process and formal usability tests were conducted regularly to see if the implementation was understandable for the users and brought enough added value to the customers.
The digital transformation is a great challenge. We were and are aware of this. That's why a lean approach was adopted from the very beginning. The solution is to be continuously developed on the basis of user feedback.
The user and customer feedback has been very positive so far, and the increasing retention rate (returning users), the falling churn rate (churn rate) and the increased usage time and activity on the platform are very good indications that users appreciate the direction taken and that the new solution offers added value on the market. Thanks to the online marketing activities initiated and isolated growth hacks, the digital reach (monthly users) almost doubled last year.
Usability tests and behavior-based analysis measures will now be used to optimize the user experience and to incorporate further key functions that will steadily increase the added value of the platform. This also includes the further development of the integrated customer portal (Login / SaaS).
Thanks to Pimcore we were able to solve complex problems quickly and easily. For example, although we invested a lot of time in analyzing the data types at the beginning of the project, we noticed during the project that the complexity of the event data model was greater than expected. Despite the wide variety of event types, our goal was to make insertion as easy as possible for the customer and to solve complicated questions about the system logic. The customer should only have to ask himself questions about the content, but not about the optimal presentation and structure. This turned out to be more challenging than expected, but thanks to the flexible data model of Pimcore we were able to optimize the data structure in the middle of the project without having to expect data loss or major complications.
The work on the integrated customer portal (SaaS tools) also proved to be extremely positive. This is the first time we have implemented a Pimcore solution with Vue.js. This has contributed to an improvement in the user experience. Using the tool feels good and fast and is easier for the user to use because input is cached so no data is lost when the user leaves a page.
Thanks to the combination of Pimcore and Vue.js we were able to implement advanced services such as a reservation tool within the new customer portal in a very short time. For example, depending on which offer the customer chooses, the reservations are drawn or auctioned. Due to the separation of front-end and back-end logic, the system now only communicates with an API. This improves performance, reduces complexity and thus also the productivity and efficiency of development.
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