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Success Story - Allied Refrigeration

Project Details  

Allied Refrigeration


eCommerce


Wholesaler


email notifications, search, MailChimp integration


WebSmart PHP

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Wholesaler gains competitive advantage and improves customer service with WebSmart PHP-developed B2B ecommerce application

Allied Refrigeration, a family-owned HVAC/R equipment and supplies wholesaler, partnered with BCD Professional Services to develop a PHP B2B shopping cart that integrates with their IBM i. The application makes it easier for customers to order products online, frees up counter staff to focus on more productive tasks and gives them a competitive advantage over wholesalers who still take orders over the phone.

Our customers are very happy with the intuitive interface and useful features we have developed. One customer told us that when they're on hold with a competitor, they're ordering from us online!

Robby Nichols, Web and graphic designer


Challenge

For many years, Allied's counter staff took orders from customers and entered them into their IBM i via a green-screen interface. As the organization expanded their online presence, they required a B2B shopping cart that integrated with their website and IBM i. With over 9,000 products available, ease-of-use was key. "It's very important to us that the customers are able to find what they need quickly and intuitively," says Robby Nichols, Allied's web and graphic designer.

Solution

Allied and BCD Professional Services used WebSmart PHP, BCD's desktop and mobile web application development tool, to develop the B2B shopping cart. They chose WebSmart because it "integrates perfectly with our company's existing IBM i system, gathering real-time inventory quantities and availability for our customers to order online. There were never any limitations as to what we could develop," says Robby.

The application includes:

  • IBM i integration: Writes directly to Allied's existing DB2 files when orders are placed.
  • Email notifications: Alerts staff via email when a customer places an order.
  • Order related products and warranties: Customers can add related items and extended warranty to their carts directly from the item detail page.
  • Search: Comprehensive search facility over part number, manufacturer, description and part attributes. Customers can also input or upload their own part numbers to streamline the search and order entry process.
  • Visual information: Allied Refrigeration can present additional product information (images, video and PDFs) to help the customer make more informed decisions.
  • Admin interface: Allied Refrigeration can manage products details and accessories, featured products, the cart's menu flyout and more via a web-based interface.
  • MailChimp Integration: APIs allow Allied customers to select which publications and videos they want to be notified of.

Results

"We're very proud of the UI," says Robby. "We were impressed with the speed in which our ideas could be developed, tested, and implemented."

The new application has also saved the organization time and money. "Processing orders from the ecommerce site increases the efficiency of our branches. This allows the counter staff to invest more time in other productive ways. We also used to print large expensive catalogs that our ecommerce site has replaced, saving us money yearly," Robby explains.

Equally important, Allied is able to provide a convenient way for customers to place orders. "Our customers are very happy with the intuitive interface and useful features we have developed. One customer told us that when they're on hold with a competitor, they're ordering from us online!"

About the Organization

Allied Refrigeration Inc. has completed more than 75 years in the wholesale industry. It was started in Long Beach, California in 1934 by Leonard B. Marsh and was one of the first completely wholesale refrigeration supply houses in the United States.

The company now has sixteen branches including the main warehouse in Signal Hill consisting of over 40,000 square feet. The main products they sell are refrigeration and air-conditioning parts, supplies, and equipment. They stock over 9,000 different items representing hundreds of manufacturers. Allied maintains a multi-million dollar inventory year-round providing prompt availability, along with efficient, knowledgeable and courteous service at all times.

 

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