U.S. Supply is a B2B wholesale distributor of plumbing, heating and air conditioning products for residential, new construction and commercial applications. In business for 70+ years, the company has 12 branch locations and two distribution hubs. They decided to expand into the online B2C market and thus launched a new brand and website, Plumbing Supply & More. The project included updating their eCommerce, ERP and PIM system integrations and workflows.
Industry: Wholesale distributor of plumbing, HVAC, thermostats, tools, and other supplies for commercial and residential new construction and retrofits.
Market: Contractors, plumbers, trades businesses, do-it-yourselfers (DIY).
Differentiator: U.S. Supply has 12 retail locations in eastern PA and south NJ, each selling a full range of equipment, parts, and supplies. Inventory systems at their point-of-sale (POS) locations are integrated with their online stores, ussupply.com and plumbingsupplyandmore.com.
- Adobe Commerce instances for ussupply.com and plumbingsupplyandmore.com
- Sales Layer Product Information Management (PIM) system
- Epicor Eclipse ERP system including POS for 12 stores and bi-directional integration with ecommerce site
- SpeedShip by WWE using Eniture integration
- Amazon Web Services (AWS) On-Premise Managed Hosting
Overall, HWW made significant updates to the existing B2B website, developed a new site for B2C selling, and vastly improved U.S. Supply’s data management processes.
Optimizing the B2B site involved updating the theme, adding customer-specific pricing functionality, and addressing the vast amount of outdated or incomplete product data. Simultaneously, HWW improved brand visibility and prepared for new marketing campaigns by transitioning the URL from a “virtual counter” domain to the company name, ussupply.com, to boost marketing efforts.
Pain points, such as customer difficulty finding items, prompted a comprehensive restructuring. This included data cleaning and defining attributes for improved search and filtering. The attribute cleanup process resolved inaccuracies in 10,000 SKUs and eliminated duplicates. This attribute definition phase allowed successful implementation of layered filtering to help users reach their desired product info quicker. An additional challenge stemmed from the outdated search software used on the website. To bolster search capabilities, HWW transitioned ussupply.com to Elastic Suite, a software solution designed to enhance search and product discovery capabilities for eCommerce websites, and fine-tuned configurations.
To improve site speed, HWW implemented a lightweight mega-menu. The mega-menu used is a custom-built extension HWW developed in recent years that enables a site administrator to easily structure menus, name categories as desired, and create direct links to filtered results.
Completing the data clean-up work was critical to developing a B2C site for the new brand, Plumbing Supply & More (plumbingsupplyandmore.com). Once the updated ussupply.com launched, focus turned to designing and building the new site.
The new B2C site is a separate sales channel from the B2B site and had to be designed as such – with distinct branding, styling, and user experience. The site was built by HWW using a custom lightweight theme that leverages as much default Adobe Commerce as possible to meet timing and budgetary goals. Special features include Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) functionality.
Updating all product data facilitated better use of Sales Layer, the company’s Product Information Management (PIM) system. HWW handled all configurations, set-up, connections and testing for the integrated system. All product data is managed in the company’s Sales Layer PIM and autonomously pushed to both ecommerce sites, then flows to the ERP system managing POS sales.
U.S. Supply now can manage product and inventory information for online shopping channels and physical locations in one integrated system. This level of management saves administrators time and produces more precise information, all of which leads to a better buying experience for customers. This is key to the company’s growth strategies of expanding to new sales channels, simplifying processes for customers, and marketing to attract more customers.
Adding the more robust and flexible Elastic Suite search functionality has resulted in noteworthy improvements for users. For example, customers are no longer contacting Customer Service in frustration over ineffective search results, which allows representatives to spend more time on higher-value tasks.
New features that empower U.S. Supply to enhance internal efficiency, while providing customers with a more user-friendly site navigation experience include adding:
Previously, the B2B site did not display pricing until a user signed in. Now, the site displays advertised prices for every product, without needing to log in. Once logged in, Once a user logs in, the connector pulls the customer’s specific pricing from Eclipse and they see their specific assigned prices. In addition to helping with usability, this helps with search engine optimization (SEO), as Google prioritizes eCommerce sites that show pricing.
Since successfully completing the migration and refinements for ussupply.com and developing plumbingsupplyandmore.com, HWW continues to work closely with USS, providing day-to-day support and making incremental changes to continually increase efficiency of the complete ERP-POS-eCommerce system.