ZenOffice wanted an upgraded e-commerce website and a new corporate website. Despite much work by external web designers, this seemed unattainable. Thanks to help from ECi Digital Services, ZenOffice has now completed the project, found fresh marketing opportunities and increased its web profits.
Founded in 1988, ZenOffice Limited is a business solutions company based in Manchester. It offers a wide range of products including office supplies, technology supplies and managed print services. The company has 80 employees and a turnover of £14.3 million.
ZenOffice has been selling office supplies using ECi HorizonWeb since 2008. It then expanded into other business areas which needed to be described online. Updating their current e-commerce website and linking this site to a new WordPress-based corporate website proved impossible.
When Hayley Blackwell joined ZenOffice as the new marketing manager in late 2014, the website problem remained unresolved. A pending upgrade from ECi Horizon (InterBase version) to a new SQL-powered version added to the worries.
“In terms of functionality, our e-commerce website did what it needed to do but that was about it,” says Blackwell. “We could not talk about ZenOffice and all the amazing things that we were doing.”
Solving these problems meant creating a brand new look and feel on the e-commerce website and adding a corporate website. Only then could the company properly showcase all its new activities like managed print services.
Pressure from existing customers for more e-commerce features increased the requirements. Accommodating smartphones and tablets with a responsive web design was important too.
Both websites had to be robust and scalable, capable of supporting business growth. Although they had different purposes, it was vital that they appeared as one attractive website. “We wanted a partner that could come with us on a journey of development and support. We really needed somebody to help us,” says Blackwell.
The objectives were discussed with ECi Software Solutions which immediately recommended ECi Digital Services. The latter offered Branded Website Design alongside E-commerce Website Design – already being used by ZenOffice. It was a one-stop-shop solution for all the company’s requirements.
“ECi Design Services understood what we wanted and they had no qualms about having new WordPress and HorizonWeb websites and merging them,” says Blackwell. “From a marketing point of view, my eyes lit up. It was an opportunity to do everything from scratch.”
ECi Digital Services first made sure that the business needs were fully understood before designing a new look and feel. All the detailed tasks during the project were tracked using the Basecamp project collaboration tool.
Having upgraded ECi Horizon to SQL, the e-commerce web module holding 20,000 products was re-implemented using the new look and feel. A WordPress website was then configured including SEO work and Google analytics. The same ECi Digital Services team was responsible for everything and a sandbox environment allowed safe user testing.
“ECi know how to overcome obstacles and fix problems. We worked together as a team and we got through the project quickly,” says Blackwell. “Building two websites from scratch between April and November was amazing.”
Both websites went live in November 2015 after user acceptance testing and internal training. The seamless integration was very impressive and users believed they were on one website.
Customers and staff were asked about their opinions having earlier contributed many feature suggestions. The stylish look and feel, ease-of-use, speed and reliability were widely praised.
“We got some very positive feedback. Everything that people had wanted, we had built in,” says Blackwell. “It ticked all the boxes in our objectives. We’ve now got a website in our industry that is the best. Our web numbers are growing month on month. Our web profit is growing month on month too.”
Ordering online is becoming a preferred channel for many customers and more catalogue items, such as workwear, are planned to be added to meet demand.
“That is a real win-win for us because it frees up staff time to sell more solution based services.
The two websites are supporting exciting new marketing opportunities. For example, a marketing campaign can be run through social media, email messaging and banners on the corporate website. Customers may then make immediate purchases online.
Thanks to ECi’s subscription services, there are no worries about website hosting, support, backups, security patches and updates. Its services even include the creation of banner ads, site news, email templates and custom landing pages.
“We can update the products on the homepage and we can put up special price promotions too,” says Blackwell. “We could never do this before. We are now able to execute much better marketing campaigns.”
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