Our client, Gill Marine – making ultra-technical sailing clothing for a variety of sailing types – approached us at the end of 2014 to replatform their existing ecommerce businesses comprising of a B2C website servicing over 20 countries and a unique Magento B2B website offering direct sales to distributors and outlets from across the world.
Gill’s business logistics is operated using Protex – an open source management software system – which needed to be integrated with our ERP solution to enable processing of orders, stock management and customer management. This presented many difficulties, as individual customers and companies needed their own pricing structure, and product inventory was different depending on the country and company.
We were required to operate a B2B and B2C site from the same installation – both sites operating differently. Gill wanted a wide variety of features available on the website, these include multi-site setup and translations.
Magento out-of-the-box does not support multiple prices per company & customer (B2B & B2C), multiple warehouse for inventories, multiple product status per store view etc., and the native customer group is not efficient enough to handle thousands of individual customers and prices.
We integrating Gill’s Protex system with our own in-house ERP software, which enables complex business logic to work seamlessly with Magento. We decided to develop the site on Magento Enterprise Edition. This allowed Gill to utilise a wide variety of out-of-the-box features, including gift cards, speed performance with full page cache and a more streamlined production line with optimised code. We combined this with other standard Magento features such as multi-site setup and translations, advanced catalog search and faceted navigation (available in all Magento versions).
Another key factor in the build was to use the Magento 1.14 responsive (RWD) base framework. This allowed us to launch Gill’s website with a responsive design which would work simultaneously across desktop, tablet and mobile (one design working across all platforms) without having to maintain multiple codebases – vital in ensuring efficiency and upkeep of the site.
When dealing with the issue of operating a B2B and B2C site, we used our ERP system to handle this integration and allow Gill to maintain multiple sets of data in Protex. This enabled imports into Magento accordingly throughout the day.
Behind the scenes technicality aside, a new look and design was required for Gill, one that was in keeping with the client’s new branding experience. Working with our design and UI/UX partners Phoenix Wharf, we were able to create a fresh and on-brand design that also fitted seamlessly, incorporating said functionality with maximum focus on user experience.