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HD Supply was searching for a paradigm shift in their B2B transactional commerce solution. Not only did this project require multiple backend integrations, they sought Guidance’s expertise in transforming their legacy phone and fax system into a fully automated order entry system with sophisticated pricing and shipping rules, a huge dynamic catalog and complicated workflows.
Founded in 1974 under the name Maintenance Warehouse in San Diego, California and acquired in 1997 by Home Depot, HD Supply is one of the largest industrial supply distributors in North America. In 2004, Home Depot acquired WhiteCap Construction Supply and merged as HD Supply White Cap. HD Supply provides a wide range of products and value-added services to over 500,000 customers in the maintenance, operations, infrastructure and specialty construction sectors of the USA and Canada.
Leveraging Episerver’s Commerce and Content Cloud, Guidance built a richly integrated solution within a tight timeline. The project required over a dozen backend solutions to work seamlessly with one another while incorporating sophisticated rules, permissions and integrations.
One of the most intricate portions of this project involved integrating the Shopspray solution for their Punchout invoicing system. This seamless integration enables customers to work independently in their accounts while leveraging HD Supply’s website to create invoices and control purchasing. The results have been dramatic: a huge reduction in manual data entry, less reliance on fax machines and the increased automation has decreased human error.
Leveraging the features provided by the Shopspray solution for their Punchout invoicing system has meant a seamless integration from the procurement system and empowers the vendor to manage the purchasing experience on the HD Supply website. The Punchout system provides the ability to curate products and catalogs by account while controlling availability/pricing by account permissions and hierarchy.
Completed shopping carts are returned real-time to the procurement system to create invoices. Multiple stages of approval by various levels of personnel ensures order accuracy. Once the order procurement system has a validated invoice, a purchase order is created and an HD Supply customer service representative is given the opportunity to reach out directly to the customer for add-ons and post-order management.
The creation of the online ecommerce solution has led to an enormous reduction in phone and fax managed orders and has reduced operational overhead dramatically. This frictionless B2B commerce solution has enabled customer service representatives to scale customer relationships and build the HD Supply brand. For the customer, this new frictionless ecommerce system has reduced the overall order time and increased the average order value.
Leveraging the Episerver platform, the Guidance team extended the solution to include custom calculations for pricing and shipment lead time. As is typical with a national wholesaler and distributor, HD Supply offers several tiers and types of pricing including national price, market specific price and trader price. Each of these tiered pricing categories is queried based on account and this account driven model ultimately determines the displayed price for each customer and market.
Layered into the backend functionality is real-time pricing which allows accurate and timely pricing calculations. At over 100,000 live SKUs, pricing details at large scale and with multiple tiers is integral to HD Supply. Lead-time shipment calculations leverage geographic location, product weight, product restrictions (i.e. hazmat, oversized, etc) and product availability to perform calculations specific to shipping. All calculations happen behind the scenes and instantaneously as the customer views the products and adds them to their cart.
“This is a transformational B2B commerce solution that has replaced the company’s legacy phone, fax and back-end systems. It’s a perfect representation of the incredible potential a wholesale supplier can realize in digitizing their entire commerce solution and improving organizational operations.”
Guidance performed a thorough audit of the HD Supply website and this included its checkout process. The checkout experience was lengthy and proved a frustrating user experience. To improve the overall check-out experience, Guidance reduced the number of checkout pages from 3 to 1 single page checkout. This newly designed, frictionless single page checkout experience has greatly enhanced the customer experience and a proven enhancement.
HD Supply’s legacy commerce solution consisted of a sales representative flipping through a catalog of products to fill an order. Each order could take hours to complete! Guidance streamlined the process by implementing Episerver’s advanced site search feature with search suggestions.
Customers can now browse products via the search functionality and the suggestive search feature provides brand, category and product recommendations based on search terms. HD Supply is also able to leverage Index Boosting, which enables product specific boosted results based on different item properties like title, content and summary.
Customers are able to narrow down their search with the intuitive search functionality enabled with find/index weight capabilities. To further aid in the customer’s search for the correct product, the search box provides an auto-complete/suggestions in the results box as the user types in the query as well as showing customized suggested products as the customer begins their search.
Pricing based on the user’s and warehouse geolocation is crucial in this industry. Guidance implemented dynamic pricing rules based on the user’s geolocation in relation to the fulfillment location. Six different pricing models were used based on the user’s geographic location, product availability/stock levels, product restrictions (i.e. hazmat, oversized, etc) and account conditions. The solution also addressed the business requirement to be flexible and incorporate additional pricing models in the future with minimal to no additional development work.
A large portion of “found” revenue was in reducing the shipping penalties due to inaccurate lead times, product weights and dimensions and improperly labeled dangerous materials and thereby accurately calculating shipping cost.
HD Supply’s customers now have the ability to manage the vendor accounts so that each representative within their organization can isolate the management of their job sites and project lists from the rest of their organization’s universe.
Guidance looked to further streamline internal operations by integrating with Azure for a secure and centralized authentication system. Leveraging Azure’s Single Sign On requires only one set of credentials and reduces the number of sign-in prompts for employees.
HD Supply is now able to centralize and simplify the management of user and customer access with pre-integrated apps through Azure SSO. Users no longer have multiple logins to different applications in the enterprise and the business is able to control and enforce security policies globally.
In order to visualize the new stream of data, Guidance helped HD Supply build out custom dashboards leveraging Episerver’s Commerce and Content Cloud tool. Guidance extended the Episerver’s Commerce and Content Cloud for custom dashboarding to enable better visibility on data job activities and project logs.
“For business accounts with custom catalogs and special pricing, the flexibility of ordering online 24/7 is important! People have jobs. People spend time with their families. Life gets busy!”
Most construction sites are land parcels without an assigned official address. The billing and shipping addresses are contractually bound by the vendors and as such, the shipping addresses for construction sites are pre-populated to avoid error and any potential for fraud.
HD Supply uses an account driven model which encourages customers to create an account and receive personalized customer service and account-based pricing. Account information dynamically influences pricing and shipping costs are calculated based on the customer’s geographic location. Once an account is created, an HD Supply sales representation is assigned and thereby creates a seamless online and offline experience for the customer.
HD Supply is known as a resource of information in the industry; the website is a reflection of the wealth of resource guides (Knowledge Base) and continued industry updates (Resource Center Blog). The website is more than a wholesale supplier of construction products. By leveraging Episerver’s content management system, it’s also a resource and knowledge base for its users.
Guidance delivered a streamlined and automated transactional commerce solution that has dramatically increased efficiencies and transformed the legacy Punchout system.
Episerver Best Buying Experience Award Finalist
Acknowledging the need to upgrade their legacy commerce system, HD Supply turned to Guidance for a solution that would unify their operations. The result is a transformational B2B solution that fully integrates countless backend systems and automates a once fully manual process. Here’s how Guidance delivered a comprehensive and cohesive solution that has streamlined HD Supply’s B2B commerce thereby increasing order volume while simultaneously dramatically reducing their overhead costs.