IPG B2B Portal
After years of successful partnership with MethodFactory, IPG reached back out to them for the development of a front-end B2B web interface, which included an eCommerce platform for IPG customers to be able to buy their goods online. They wanted to give their customers more autonomy to not only buy products, but to manage many aspects of their business with IPG.
Intertape Polymer Group (IPG) is a recognized leader in the development and manufacture of specialized polyolefin plastic and paper based packaging products and complementary packaging systems for industrial and retail use. Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec and Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida, the Company employs approximately 2,100 employees with operations in 17 locations, including 13 manufacturing facilities in North America and one in Europe.
After years of successful partnership with MethodFactory, IPG reached back out to them for the development of a front-end B2B web interface, which included an eCommerce platform for IPG customers to be able to buy their goods online. Previously customers had to go through sales reps/CSRs to place an order. They wanted to give their customers more autonomy to not only buy products, but to manage many aspects of their business with IPG.
Giving their B2B customers unique login access to purchase through the site, including providing payment, managing account and shipping information, etc. would a big lift for IPG, not only in revenue, but in customer service and operational efficiency through automation. IPG also wanted to give their customers protected log in permissions so they could be self-administering, instead of IPG CSRs having to manage their purchases, shipments and user permissions.
IPG’s former site was built on SharePoint 2007, and with the objectives of their new site, they would need an upgrade to SharePoint 2010 and to implement Commerce Server.
MethodFactory held thorough planning sessions with IPG before starting the actual development process. They led their regular planning workshops to create the FDS (Functional Design Specs), and then traveled to IPG offices in Texas to conduct “Voice of the Customer” workshops – in which 10-15 of IPG’s most active customers gathered to offer feedback on the proposed features and functionality of the new site. They were given options to choose from and also contributed new ideas that ended up integrated into the new website.
MethodFactory implemented Single Sign On so customers could log in from different locations across different entry points to manage their accounts and users, place orders, save items in their cart for later, manage shipping addresses, etc. Customers also enjoy the convenience and efficiency of a stored record of frequently ordered items, which allows for quick re-ordering. Product SKU mapping was also added so that if an IPG customer has their own SKU for a product, they see their company SKU alongside of the IPG SKU.
Tiered pricing is now available to IPG customers through contract pricing. Customers can have more than one contract and buy those products that are outside of their contract at a standard pricing rate. Depending on the product type, the customer can choose to buy multiple units of measure, including roll, case, pallet, etc. Pre-set business rules determine what the user can buy. Bulk buying functionality through ValueVault (a system MethodFactory helped develop for IPG) is now integrated into the eCommerce site.
A big challenge of this project was the cart page. Due to the type of products being sold, there is a lot of specification information that IPG wanted to be displayed. MethodFactory worked very closely with the IPG team, giving feedback and providing industry standards to come up with an approach that worked.
MethodFactory implemented Commerce Server and upgraded IPG from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010 and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF). MethodFactory made revisions to IPG’s system integration model to make their ERP system, Prism®, communicate with their web front-end and seamlessly sync data, such as real-time pricing and contract information. MethodFactory defined how the two systems were going to communicate, and was able to build it out to meet IPG’s new and expanding business requirements, many of which were based on their reporting needs.
MethodFactory added a sales and marketing tool, which allows users to generate personalized product fliers. They can choose from various flier templates to import product information into. Additionally, the tool allows the user to customize and personalize the flier with their contact information and print them out complete with IPG brand standards, helping to automate the generation of marketing materials. They can also order product samples through the site to have on hand for tradeshows, presentations, etc. The new site gives a lot of leverage to IPG customers and CSRs, while cutting down on operational resources and generating more revenue.