GW Kent

Commercial Brewing Equipment & Wine Making Supplies

The Client

GW Kent has found its niche by being a high-quality distributor at a competitive price in its market industries. Their eCommerce store is a reflection of their capabilities as having efficient, fast service. In addition, GW Kent prides itself on having an unparalleled number of items in stock, including a lot of hard-to-find products, and the ability to get orders into their customers’ facilities quicker than competitors.

The Decision Point

The Magento 1 Enterprise was used for several years as the GWKent.com platform and was a significant part of the technology infrastructure. It was integrated with their ERP that has been a part of their operations for over 30 years. When it came time to move away from a soon-to-be-legacy platform, it was a natural transition to go to Magento 2 Commerce.

In addition to Magento being an integral part of their overall tech structure, the flexibility of the platform provided a necessary level of customization that meets the unique business requirements of a B2B website and allowed the Human Element team to create specific and unique enhancements for the GW Kent user experience.

The Opportunities

There were several goals and objectives for the Magento 2 Commerce project – in addition to moving away from a platform that will be sunsetting soon. One of the primary objectives was to grow traffic, revenue, and orders. With that increase, it was imperative to enhance the integration between the eCommerce platform and the ERP system. Previously there was a lot of manual data entry and duplication to get Orders, Customers, Products, and Inventory into both systems. With an increase in order volume, it was necessary to streamline those efforts and further integrate the two systems – saving GW Kent valuable time and money.

A necessary part of the project was to successfully migrate customer, product & order data from Magento 1 to Magento 2, ensuring the integrity of that data. Having the data migrated and the ERP integrated opened the doors for focusing on the eCommerce storefront to meet the needs of the industries it serves. This included features like dual navigation – a custom feature that allowed the user to shop by either industry (brewery, winery, or processing) or product category (equipment, packaging, ingredients, etc.). Another enhancement was a quick order extension that allowed the returning user to buy saved products without navigating to the product page. 

Utilizing the ShipperHQ extension to provide freight as an option for shipping was a big win for the teams. Previously, one of three things happened with shipping a placed order – the user picked up the order, FedEx delivery could be selected for small items, or the users would need to call in for a quote on freight shipping. The order would need to be reviewed and then updated on an order-by-order basis. This caused confusion with the customer and more work for the GW Kent team. Implementation of ShipperHQ removed those steps, providing an estimate at checkout thus improving the user experience as well freeing up time for the GW Kent team. 

The customer experience of the new GW Kent eCommerce website is a phenomenal improvement from an already successful eCommerce organization. In addition, Magento as an open-source platform allowed the Human Element team to create customizations, and implement relevant extensions including Xtento for SAGE (ERP) integration, Quick Order, SEO Ultimate for meta content templatization, and Klevu for search. All of these together create a GW Kent user experience that’s entirely unique.

With the increase in traffic and order volume, it was imperative to streamline business operations in order to continue without significantly inflating labor costs. With the opportunity to enter into new industries/markets using the same brand and website, a redesign was necessary, and upgrading to Magento 2 at the same time was the most efficient way to do that. On the Magento 1 site, a majority of customer service issues resulting from the website were specific to shipping issues and questions. Resolving these website issues and having the ability to give the shopper the necessary information for their experience was a significant driver of the upgrade.

The Conclusion

While Human Element’s deft knowledge in eCommerce helped launch GW Kent onto a new platform, the success of this project, and its ongoing success, is thanks to the partnership between these two teams. This relationship has allowed a continuation of growth and success and has helped GW Kent continue to expand.

Human Element continues to provide technical maintenance, custom development, digital marketing and website optimization to help evolve their business and customer experiences with the needs of the ever-changing online ecosystem.

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