Zip’s

E-Commerce / Systems Integration / Website UX

E-commerce site lifts self-service with legacy back-end integration

Client
Zip’s Truck Equipment
Capabilities & Services
E-Commerce / Systems Integration / Website UX

About Zip’s Truck Equipment

Based in New Hampton, Iowa, Zip's is a truck equipment company that specializes in the sale and financing of automotive towing equipment, industrial hauling solutions and service bodies. They offer a wide variety of new and used tow trucks, wreckers, industrial and car carriers, multi-car haulers, industrial trailers and related equipment.

The company’s headquarters includes a modern, 95,000-square-feet facility consisting of warehousing, shop area and sales offices. Zip's has a second branch in Taylor, Mich., near the Detroit Metro Airport.

Goals

Zip’s needed to incorporate a robust catalog of products that included equipment and part descriptions, images, video and brochures. In addition, many products in the company’s large catalog can contain multiple variations. Helping customers quickly drill down to find the right product for their needs was a primary requirement.

With an e-commerce website that was difficult to navigate and difficult to manage, Zip’s also was looking to improve usability for both their customers and their own organization. Not only were products difficult to find and order, it was cumbersome for the Zip’s team to manage product orders and inventory because the individual systems were unable to talk to one another.

Building the integration to allow Zip’s back-end systems to automatically sync customer, product and order data was a primary goal. Bringing these systems together would not only assist Zip’s management, but also provide its customers more self-service options to make purchases as well as view orders and invoices.

  • Build a system for easier management of parts data, specifications sheets and images.
  • Construct a gateway to push e-commerce orders to back-end systems in real-time.
  • Sync customer, product and order data to the e-commerce system on a nightly schedule.
  • Offer customers the ability to self-service and fully manage their research, orders and requests online.
  • Develop user confidence through improved navigation and website ease of use.
  • Build the new website using a leading content management system that allows for simple editing and enhancements.
  • Provide a robust equipment and parts search capability.
  • Optimize the user experience by improving website mobility, response and page load speeds.
  • Create a process to manage website development edits to allow for future enhancements.

Challenges

Zip’s was faced with an e-commerce website that was out of date and lacked the functionality needed to appeal to its customers. The original site was difficult to navigate (especially on mobile devices), making it hard to find products and ultimately costing the company significant revenue opportunities.

The primary challenges were to: (1) enhance the user experience; and (2) improve all-around customer service. A major part of this effort was to integrate with their back-end ERP and CRM systems that store customer, order and inventory data with an older version of the OpenVMS operating system.

Solution(s)

Azavar leveraged an industry-leading web content and e-commerce platform to create a high-performing, state-of-the-art B2B e-commerce website We also utilized the versatility of the new platform to develop specialized search and navigation functionality that allowed for a greatly improved user experience.

Results

Customers can now securely log in to their account online to view invoices and orders due to the custom integration with outside vendors and Zip’s financial accounting control system. With extensive product catalog caching, this new e-commerce website provides customers with more information in a shorter timeframe, expanding the opportunity for additional product purchases and upsells.

  • E-commerce website developed on an integrated and extendable platform that allows for easy content management by Zip’s staff and is built to be easily scaled for future site enhancements.
  • Robust “My Account” section to give customers the option to manage their purchases and requests independently and online.
  • Implemented extensive product catalog caching that dramatically increased the speed of searches, navigation, and product references.
  • Developed a platform for product synchronization with web services to automatically update product information from Zip’s back-end system.
  • Enabled third-party catalog and order integration to Zip’s financial accounting control system in OpenVMS via CONNX to enable customers to view orders and invoices.
  • Created custom widgets for specialized navigation and searching.
  • Implemented product catalog enhancements to support products that have multiple variations.
  • Developed custom logging and instrumentation to assist with future website and database upgrades.

Tech Corner

  • Open VMS via CONNX (for financial accounting integration)
  • Sitefinity CMS