Problem

Hale Pet Door came to Dolphin Micro with an ecommerce system that was unreliable, challenging to use and poorly matched to its business model. A large percentage of the company’s orders were normally placed through its website, but problems with the site’s performance were driving its returning customers (local pet door installers) to place more orders by phone, overtaxing Hale’s customer service team. Hale was concerned that unless the site was improved, sales could suffer.

“We needed to provide our customers with a better ordering experience while also streamlining our back-end processes,” says Hale’s Mysia Wolfe.

view

  • Hale's custom ecommerce system automates order processing
    and makes it easy for customers to connect with local installers.

  • A large, sophisticated custom content management
    system drives most of the pages.

  • One of the many custom content editing screens,
    this one for tradeshows

  • Map-based search function makes it easy for
    customers to find local dealers.

Solution

The goals for Hale’s new ecommerce system were to:

  • Improve the site’s reliability.
  • Provide a better, more self-service customer experience.
  • Automate manual order processing tasks.
  • Support the company’s network of pet door vendors by making it easier for consumers to connect with local installers.

Using Ruby on Rails (as well as a host of other technologies), the Dolphin Micro team built a completely custom ecommerce solution that could handle the complexity of Hale’s customers’ ordering process while making it far easier for the company to run its business. Hale’s updated web store is fully integrated with its order management and accounting systems, automating back-end processes that were once manual.

A central repository, synced with Quickbooks, handles all incoming orders, whether placed online or by phone. Direct-to-consumer online orders are quick and easy. A custom content management system and map-based search function help other Hale customers find local dealers and installers. The same CMS makes it fast and simple for the Hale team to manage do-it-yourself guides, “buy now” options and other site content.

“Today, over 90 percent of our orders are placed through our website and automatically uploaded to our accounting software, saving us countless man hours each week.” says Wolfe. “Implementing this system and seeing how successful it’s been has made us think differently about how technology can impact our business. Dolphin Micro has been a wonderful partner throughout this process for the last 6 years.”

Since the system’s initial rollout, Dolphin Micro has also built a dealer website system. The Hale team now has the ability to create individual websites for its preferred installers, from which customers can order their pet doors directly and schedule their installations. Thanks to effective local SEO techniques, these sites have enabled Hale to enjoy a significant increase in sales and rapid growth.