E-commerce websites are nothing new, but how does a boutique web designer handle a website order that combines 130 vendors to make over 25,000 products available throughout the entire United States? JD Softtech had the opportunity to find out when we were approached by Pro Image Sports, a national franchise that sells sports merchandise.
This project was incredibly demanding in terms of site functionality. Effectively fulfilling orders for a number of products this massive, over a geographic area so large requires an especially organized approach.
After agreeing with Pro Image Sports on the scope and size of this project, we began our first step to: the project discovery phase. In reviewing the retailer’s lineup of products, we found that the sports merchandise market offers us a useful way to categorize individual items.
In imagining how the end-user would feel best represented when using the site’s front-end, we realized that we’d have to organize the Pro Image Sports product range into sport played and team affiliation from the outset. From there, individual item classifications such as jerseys and caps will make sense, since the customer has already chosen the specific team he or she is rooting for. Magento 1.0 gave us the most valuable set of features for this purpose.
On the back-end, we had to incorporate a massive extension called Unirgy. This allowed the site’s back-end to operate as a multi-vendor platform where each of the 130 individual franchise owners can process orders and edit inventory. With this important element complete, we could move onto the vendor onboarding process.
Vendor onboarding involved setting up vendor specific tax rates (since they differ from state to state) and incorporating a flexible shipping calculator that uses the customer’s shipping address to determine the closest location from which to ship any particular.
The foremost challenge with this project was its sheer size and scope. Making one website for 130 separate vendors for 25,000 products required us to use a lot of third-party extensions. This made the project more about effective management than about coding structure.
Categorization, taxonomy, attributes and product data uploading all represented unique challenges due to the sheer volume of products online. We had to come up with a system that would offer uniform results for each of the company’s individual vendors. Our day-to-day tasks involved offering a great deal of support to the Pro Image Sports team.
This project gave us the opportunity to work with a large database of products, maintaining conformity across the board so that vendors and customers had easy access to their favorite sportswear and team merchandise. We learned how to help clients handle extension-heavy websites and how much continuing support is needed on our end even after the site is ready.
The launch of this e-commerce store was a major milestone for Pro Image Sports. JD Softtech was an integral part of that milestone and continues to offer support to the retailer, bringing new upgrades to the site and helping the last batch of vendors with the onboarding process.