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JT Pickfords

Magento-powered eCommerce development for online premier bathroom retailer, JT Pickfords.

We have had the pleasure of working alongside online premier bathroom retailer JT Pickfords for over 8 years. The initial relationship began when JT Pickfords approached us to utilise our digital consultancy services alongside us covering all aspects of their design and marketing projects.

Around 6 years ago, JT Pickfords took the brave decision to restructure their business, evolving from a historical high street based retailer to an online marketplace leader.

We worked alongside JT Pickfords to create an all-in-one eCommerce solution powered by Magento that fulfilled their business needs and provided a healthy return on investment.

The brief

The initial brief was to create an all-in-one eCommerce solution that would both suit the new business model whilst also improving the way the business sold it's products online. This also needed to integrate seamlessly with the existing ERP system that was being used within the warehouse and distribution centre that houses all the products the business sells, from simple taps to complex bathroom furniture packs. We also had to link up the new platform to the existing payment gateways that the business used to accept payments and feed that data back to the ERP system.

Alongside all the technical aspects of the project, we also had to create a new user interface that reinforced the brand identity that the business already possessed since it's inception in 1964. We began with some simple UI and UX research, looking into the homecare industry and how other businesses were working successfully and implementing methods to help JT Pickfords get up onto a level playing field with it's competitors, and ultimately passing them.

Key challenges

The main key challenges we faced when building the initial solution were pretty complex. The biggest issue was the integration into the existing systems the business was already utilising across other aspects of their workflow, the main one being the ERP system which controls all of their stock, customers, sales orders and key product information such as UDAs. We had to connect the Magento 1 build to the ERP system using SOAP XML to allow the two APIs to work simultaneously. In the initial build phase there were months of testing and re-configuring of these connections as they needed to be automated to send orders correctly to ensure that they would quality for the chosen delivery methods chosen by the customer.

The biggest obstacle in this was the use of product 'packs'. A 'pack' is what it says on the tin, it's a group of smaller single items bundled together to create a 'pack', and these are not stock controlled products as the stock count is determined by the smaller single items that it contains. The solution to this issue was to create a bespoke Magento product type called 'Bundles' in order to synchronise the pack products successfully.

The results

After the initial development the end result was a huge success and the site has seen continued growth since. Along the way we have worked on various updates and upgrades, from finance integrations, advanced analytics integrations, server migration, custom cache scripts and much more. We are currently in the process of building a brand new Magento 2 platform for the business and migrating everything over from the existing site to the new one, which is no mean feat! Keep your eyes peeled for the case study!

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