The Story So Far
Fixfast are a specialist building industry supplier, providing a wide range of products from fixing and fasteners to tools and more, to various sectors including roofing, cladding and glazing.
We were approached in the summer of 2020 to help Fixfast provide a high-end, self-service offering to their core customers, which would affect their entire tech ecosystem - both that which is visible to customers and behind the scenes systems.
This case study is a prime example of how our carefully thought-out solutions can help businesses grow one piece of the roadmap at a time.
In the past, if you think of great customer service and user experience, you would think of a B2C or D2C brand - it's not likely you would think of B2B doing this particularly well. Unified wanted to help Fixfast stand out from their competitors and provide a brilliant customer experience and really help elevate their brand as a market leader.
This would mark a radical shift in their way of doing business, encouraging consumers to order online rather than pick up to phone, and we were there for the challenge.
It was important to form a really open, collaborative partnership with Fixfast right from our preliminary meetings together. We very quickly formed a team that has stayed in place from the first steps, to provide a phased digital transformation - from solutions architects, senior developers, creative and digital marketing experts and more.
From early roadmapping exercises, it was clear that a lot of data and processes that were vital to their roadmap were offline, and key components were missing. We implemented our custom NetSuite ERP integration, implemented Akeneo and fully implemented Magento B2B. Lots of work but providing a real strong basis for functional scale and transactional growth.
Linking up these systems meant that customers could manage their account fully online, taking advantage of new features like wishlists, offline orders, hierarchical/multi-office user permissions and extensive billing history. We also introduced the ability to allow customers to convert a basket into a quote and then cherry-pick an order from that quote over time. This was vital when an order can run into thousands of individual items.
Look and feel
Fast forward to 2023, having focused on a functionally-rich experience and having driven customer retention up by 23%, the website was performing well, but we wanted to drive customer engagement, search engine performance and website speed at a pace. We all felt the existing web design and user flows were hampering us implementing the next swathe of website changes.
As such, it was time for a radical, design overhaul - from photography styling and UX concepts for PDP’s, to new, modern typography, a sleek yet understated colour scheme and lots of intricate details and design flourishes. And to provide consistency of the visual language developed, as with any of our projects, we produced a comprehensive style guide to use when building any website feature, page, or component. And finally, we needed to make sure the site performed as well on mobile screens while out in the field, to large screens of architects and specifiers and buyers back in the office.
Derrick Herbert - Website Manager - Fixfast
Epicor ERP Integration and Akeneo PIM
The ERP system wasn't integrated with the website. The functional demands from Fixfast meant that an off-the-shelf integration wouldn't work, so we used our scalable, Unified IPaaS. This meant that the previously hidden-away, back-office data was then available on the website - bringing areas such as the "My Account" area alive - including offline orders, invoicing, billing information, company user permissions, wishlists and much more.
Fixfast have a large catalogue of products with many product variations and complex data sets. Combine that with where the product information is used - from catalogues, in-house customer service and sales teams, end-user specifiers, buyers and many more - it would take months to update product information and keeping product data consistent across all channels was nigh on impossible.
By integrating Akeneo, we facilitated the efficient creation, approval and distribution of product data across these channels, ensuring that accurate and up-to-date information reaches customers, partners, and the sales team. Akeneo also enabled Fixfast to centralise and manage product data in one location.
They've gone from a laborious, slow, frustrating process, to speedy turnaround across all channels and have greatly enhanced their product data - quantity, accuracy and quality throughout.
Need for speed - Hyvä to the rescue
A new UI and UX was great on paper, but if the website didn't load and work incredibly fast, we wouldn't achieve be able to move more customers to using the website first - a huge goal of our roadmap of work. We needed the website to be fast on mobile as well as desktop – so consumers could shop on-the-go whether in the office, at a construction site or from home.
We knew we would struggle to achieve the speeds we all wanted with the native Magento front-end solution, so it was time to implement Hyvä front-end theme.
The performance is streets ahead of the previous native-Magento website, passing all Core Web Vitals scores.
We managed to implement a tech stack which allowed for a great looking, fast, B2B site, with no sticking points; Magento on the back end, Hyvä on the front, Akeneo in the middle and Storyblok providing headless support for an easy to use CMS.
Fixfast have a captive, educated audience. The website needs to inform and educate customers with informative, in-depth content that answers their specific questions and needs. Their content also runs way beyond traditional ecommerce, which is often centred on the product pages, including their Skills Hub - providing advice and lots of technical information for their industry.
As a B2B brand that sell safety-critical products, we wanted to make sure they had an easy to use information system which was tech centric and easy for users to navigate. This meant that they needed a really good central data store for both website and print publications. Storyblok working side by side with Akeneo also allowed us to integrate regenerated data sheets- thousands of them – which used to be manual.
We suggested using Storyblok CMS alongside Hyvä and Akeneo. Implementing this headless CMS also meant that this would allow Fixfast to focus on content, knowing the design style guide and the website integrity would be respected, ensuring brand consistency across all material and pages.
Working with Fixfast for the last 3 years – gradually improving their site and B2B functionality has been rewarding and innovative. Success in B2B online marketing often hinges on a deep understanding of the industry, the target audience, and the ability to provide solutions that meet the specific needs of potential clients, and we did just that.
Next on the horizon is a true focus on customer experience; an enhanced customer account area, conversion rate optimisation, further performance optimisation and a swathe of digital marketing services. We can’t wait to see where this roadmap takes us next!
“Working with Unified has been a breath of fresh air. They have a great team of friendly people who are easy to work with and most importantly, know what they are doing!"
Emma Watkins - Head of Marketing & Customer Service - Fixfast