At Four51, we find that the type of companies who choose headless eCommerce infrastructure for their eCommerce and order management initiatives are businesses who have forward-looking dev teams who rely on an ecosystem of APIs; want to enable dev teams to make dynamic updates on the fly; need complete customization capabilities; expect speed-to-market; need end-to-end automation; and want to reduce tech debt. Companies like ViewSource Technology Group find that OrderCloud allows them to extend their dev capabilities and respond to their customers’ needs in ways they never thought possible.

Business Challenge:

A world leading manufacturer of metalworking products came to ViewSource Technology Group with a challenge. They had 53 retail customers who each sold different portions of the catalog at different prices and with different product attributes and attribute labels. The manufacturer used a manual spreadsheet system to manage the 53 customers’ product data. The spreadsheets were managed, each with their own version of the 150+ attributes that defined a product and each with unique spreadsheet layout requirements, by one full-time employee dedicated to maintaining this data.

The manufacturer realized that this process was costly, error-prone and an inhibitor to their growth as errors could occur with version control, manual edits, and more. They also knew that if they were to add more accounts, they’d also need to increase their internal staff dedicated to managing new spreadsheets for these new customers.

The Solution:

The ViewSource Technology Group knew that what the manufacturer needed was a better way to manage their product data and to communicate it to their customers. They needed something that would take the manual management out of the picture so as to reduce the amount of human errors that came with their current process.

ViewSource built a cloud-based Product Information Management (PIM) system called FLEX on the OrderCloud platform to respond to this manufacturer’s needs, and the needs of future customers. This API-first, headless eCommerce platform made it possible to warehouse all product attributes, attribute labels, outputs, etc. and automate the price list generation specific to each of the 53 customers’ requirements.

Because the PIM system was built on top of a headless, eCommerce platform, they were able to design it so that the manufacturer could leverage product data to feed the corporate website, three separate niche market B2B eCommerce sites, and other applications such as a quote configurator and traditional marketing tools such as printed catalogs. The flexibility that a headless platform provides will also allow ViewSource to continue to help this manufacturer extend the PIM solution to new avenues and aspects of their business over time.

“The innovative, flexible data model within the OrderCloud API provided the malleability needed to build a truly customizable and flexible PIM system.”

– Phil Russell, Senior Director at ViewSource Technology Group

The Result:

The manufacturer now has a single, cloud-based, database PIM system that has great flexibility to feed product data to their growing group of customers, as well as other marketing technology applications. They are now also able to redeploy the full-time employee previously responsible for customer spreadsheet management to more strategic marketing and account management activities without adding to payroll. The PIM system is now the key, foundational component that they use to create new market or client specific eCommerce sites to grow their business, as well.

ViewSource is now able to actively market FLEX beyond this original manufacturer to other manufacturing companies with complex sales strategies, including direct sales, channel sales and eCommerce sales. Companies come to ViewSource when it is critical that all product information be consistent across all sales channels to help grow sales in an efficient manner. ViewSource helps clients to organize their product information with FLEX and to implement laser focused eCommerce strategies. Once in place, FLEX also allows for easy integration with corporate websites, dealer websites, configurators, and eCommerce sites so that data is synced across all systems.

Why OrderCloud:

Phil Russell, Senior Director at ViewSource Technology Group, explained four key reasons they chose to build FLEX on OrderCloud:

  • Scalability – Being completely cloud-based, OrderCloud is scalable based on our varying needs.
  • Availability – High availability and instant response times from the API were critical to success, and something that OrderCloud was able to provide.
  • Security – With billions of dollars of transactions flowing through OrderCloud each year and robust PCI compliance adherence, our security needs have been more than met.
  • Flexibility – The innovative, flexible data model within the OrderCloud API provided the malleability needed to build a truly customizable and flexible PIM system.

To learn more about ViewSource Technology Group, visit their website.

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