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CREATING THE GOLD STANDARD IN CX WITH OPTIMIZELY DXP

Rio Grande’s site simplifies B2B ordering, delivers an intuitive user experience, and provides new CMS tools for enhanced site performance.

5 minute read

Who Should Read This?

This case study will be especially relevant for those interested in the following topics:

  • B2B & B2C COMMERCE
  • MEGA PDP
  • OPTIMIZELY CMS & COMMERCE CLOUD
  • BRANDING
  • CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE (CX)
  • COMPLEX PRODUCT CATALOG
  • COMPLEX INTEGRATIONS
  • SITE PERFORMANCE
  • CUSTOM SHIPPING REQUIREMENTS

THE CHALLENGE

Rio Grande chose Guidance to modernize its website with a cohesive and well-organized shopping experience using the Optimizely Digital Experience Platform (DXP). A deep analysis of Rio Grande’s business needs revealed multiple opportunities for improvement.

Guidance sought to design simple-to-use interfaces, personalize the experience for tiered customer segments, support international purchasing, and reinforce Rio Grande’s market position as a resource for jewelry makers, large and small. The complexity of the catalog, vast repository of product data, and integrations against existing systems, presented UX and technical challenges ultimately solved by Guidance’s enhanced application and CX architecture.

THE BRAND

It all started in Albuquerque, NM, in 1944. Saul Bell, an ambitious entrepreneur of precious metals, bought the White Eagle Trading Post and turned it into one of the largest B2B suppliers in the jewelry-making industry. Now, Rio Grande offers a massive product catalog with more than 30,000 products from 29 different brands. They provide an abundance of educational resources to support their global community of jewelers, manufacturers, metalsmiths, and educators.

TURNING A COMPLEX CATALOG INTO AN EFFICIENT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Every company engaging in eCommerce understands the importance of providing customers with a seamless customer experience (CX). Rio Grande’s highly variable and incredibly deep product categories on their previous site consisted of tens of thousands of SKUs set up as individual product detail pages (PDPs).

Customers would have to search for each metal type, color, gauge, dimensions, and additional attributes as a key means of wayfinding on the site. This type of navigation made ordering materials in bulk a painstaking process for their B2B customers.

To solve this problem, Guidance implements a “mega PDP” with multiple categories and several levels of product configurations. The complex rules governing the “mega PDP” functionality require careful planning to keep the configurations fairly straightforward for customers. International customers also need certain purchasing conditions like country fees, voltage needs, product regulations, and VAT/import rules.

Before

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After

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Complex user scenarios called for a clean approach to the UI on the front end and a carefully vetted set of product configurations on the back end.

Integrating all this product data into an easy-to-use interface without overwhelming the customer requires finding the right balance of display information. The “mega PDP” centralizes all this information into a single page with configurable products to create a seamless buying experience for B2B customers.

This solution for B2B purchasing from a complex catalog aligns with how customers navigate product categories and select different configurations. The new site allows customers to choose from hundreds of product variants with different format options from a single “mega PDP.”

Guidance put in a lot of time and effort to understand the product data and business needs to make the catalog work. Morphing the product’s data from the product inventory management (PIM) system into an intuitive customer interface requires a considerable amount of data and business logic. It took a high degree of strategic UX design, complex logic, and product data customization to achieve a successful result.

Even with a deep catalog and a complex product set, shopping on the Rio Grande Website feels seamless to it’s users.

OPTIMIZELY’S CONTENT CLOUD ENHANCES CONTENT MANAGEMENT OPERATIONS

Rio Grande chose Optimizely’s Content Cloud to streamline their content operations. The system’s ability to handle complex business logic made it the perfect CMS platform for Rio Grande’s robust catalog and content updating needs. Their new site needs a high level of customization and flexibility to promote new products, improve useability and strengthen SEO.

To empower their team with a dynamic set of CMS tools, Guidance develops a library of fully-customizable templates and pre-built blocks they can use throughout the site. This solution makes content updates and site enhancements faster and easier without requiring developers.

A large library of customizable templates allow the Rio Grande team to easily make site enhancements and content updates.

REFRESHING THE RIO GRANDE BRAND WITH A PERSONALIZED APPROACH

Many jewelry makers see Rio Grande as a dependable and long-standing resource. Changes to their branding and communications strategy needed to maintain the essence of the Rio Grande brand. Changes to their long-standing logo need to be subtle.

Through small strategic tweaks, Guidance designers dropped the blue oval background and classic tagline before turning the text blue. The new logo looks more prestigious and powerful as it stands alone against the white background.

Rio Grande’s new site needs the ability to support multiple B2B customer accounts with different available features, pricing levels, and branding. Each customer tier makes development and implementation exponentially more complex.

This level of personalization demands creative solutions from a UX and technical perspective. A remarkable amount of business logic is needed to create a multi-level customer database inside a single site. The site’s ability to transition seamlessly between customer account segments empowers Rio Grande to deliver a truly personalized experience for their customers.

Personalization

A multi-level customer database and a fully customized UI allow Rio Grande’s customers a truly personalized experience.

Most consumers buy from brands that align with their values and personality. Crafting empathetic messaging helps strengthen these essential customer connections. Their history as a family-owned business who strongly values their employees, social responsibility, and environmental causes now stands at the forefront of Rio Grande’s website.

The site reinforces camaraderie with main headers and sections displaying images of actual employees and jewelry makers from their community. These strategic solutions help Rio Grande communicate their core values to their customer base, build brand loyalty in digital environments and achieve a high level of personalization for customer segments.

LEVERAGING AZURE STORAGE QUEUE OPTIMIZES SYSTEM PROCESSES

SAP powers Rio Grande’s pricing, inventory, shipping rates, order fulfillment, metals prices, and customer data. To maintain the continuity of their data and workflow during the transition to the new site, they wanted to keep SAP for their enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). This forces Guidance to integrate new platforms against pre-existing systems.

The problem with SAP is that certain functions (like creating an account or completing an order) can cause delays when done synchronously on the site, disrupting the user experience. To mitigate this disruption, offloading certain operations into a background process using Azure Storage Queue proved to be the best solution. These background processes also allow Rio Grande's website to handle transient or severe outages of SAP without damaging the user experience.

The SAP integration entails working closely with the Rio Grande team to understand data and business logic and perform end-to-end testing. Using Azure Storage Queue avoids synchronous SAP operations, improves site performance for the user, and dramatically enhances the system's resiliency.

UNIFYING DATA BETWEEN ENTERWORKS AND SAP ENHANCES SITE PERFORMANCE

Enterworks remained as Rio Grande’s product inventory management (PIM) system from their previous website. This part of the web redesign involves another custom integration against a pre-existing system. Enterworks maintains all of Rio Grande’s product catalog elements and synchronizes data daily. The SAP ERP system delivers pricing and inventory in a separate process. The challenge here is unifying all this data into Optimizely’s data model.

In this instance, Guidance designs processes to unify pricing and inventory from SAP to the remaining product data in Enterworks. Overlaying these two data sources optimizes the system so that its functionality works seamlessly regardless of the original data source. These site customizations show Guidance’s ability to implement against complex third-party systems while improving existing practices and functionality.

Results

The project was a true partnership between Guidance and Rio Grande, working hand-in-hand to see each piece of the project through. Each side approached the project with care, drive, and respect.


Together, we created a dynamic user experience, enhanced site performance, and streamlined content management operations against a complex catalog and pre-existing systems.

Summary

Rio Grande has spent the last 80 years becoming one of the largest B2B wholesalers in the Jewelry-making industry.


With a need to modernize their web presence and deliver a better customer experience to their growing global community, Rio Grande partners with Guidance to design a custom-built website equipped with the tools needed to excel in the digital marketplace.


Through a series of complex implementations, Guidance simplifies Rio Grande’s complex catalog, creates an intuitive customer experience, and develops strategic solutions to optimize the site’s performance.

SERVICES

  • Branding
  • User Experience
  • Visual Design
  • Project Management
  • Technical Architecture
  • Consulting
  • Website Redesign
  • Data Migration
  • Ecommerce Web Integrations

TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS

  • Optimizely CMS
  • Optimizely Commerce Cloud
  • SAP
  • Optimizely Product and Content
  • Optimizely Web Experimentation
  • Azure Queue Storage
  • Avalara
  • Sift (Fraud)
  • PowerReviews
  • Returns labels: UPS
  • Payment gateway: Delago
  • GA4/GTM
  • HubSpot
  • EnterWorks
  • Sendgrid

Find out how top brands are breaking boundaries and exceeding sales projections with Guidance.

CONTACT GUIDANCE