Authentica B2B portal development for a beauty distributor company
Authentica has been developing the project for more than five years. The developed project is a B2B solution for online trading while also providing a tool for communications between suppliers and an affiliate network.
According to the russian beauty market research by GfK Russia, the internet channel of cosmetics sales occupies at least 10% of the entire market and it is also the fastest-growing channel — up to 30% per year. Many distributors have made big bets on the Internet channel, enhancing their online presence.
The competition in beauty industry services is extremely high. Today it is not enough for beauty salons to have an extensive assortment and keep track of new products in the market. An established and highly automated system for working with suppliers and inventory of products is also important. This is exactly what Authentica provides through its B2B portal.
Why not a ready-to-use solution?
Authentica supplies professional tools and equipment for hairdressers and beauty salons, as well as related to the beauty market training. There is also a separate online store for B2C sales.
In 2014, Authentica decided to create a B2B web portal, which will make communication between the company and customers more convenient and faster, complementing the already established traditional system, built on email, telephony and meetings of company representatives with customers.
The portal should be integrated with several of warehouse, logistics and accounting systems that were implemented earlier and have already proven their effectiveness. The developed system should also provide the user with the opportunity to conveniently work with payment documents and provide integration with the accounting system.
Another reason why Authentica did not choose a ready-made solution is the huge assortment of goods that comprises more than 10,000 items.
It was also necessary to consider:
- frequent changes in marketing programs and promotions;
- the ability to change content rapidly;
- analytics of the effectiveness of user interaction with the portal.
Ready-made solutions for creating online stores can not fully meet all these requirements.
We have chosen Ruby on Rails framework for the development due to the need to quickly launch the B2B portal. After the launch of the basic functionality, the development switched to a mode of continuous improvement and adding new features.
Online showcase is the main unit of the system, which presents the goods and services of the company. Products are distributed by brand, each brand has a line of products. We have implemented convenient navigation through a filter system to not to get lost in a huge catalogue of products.
A detailed description of cosmetics and professional tools is significant for buyers to make a choice. We paid special attention to the presentation of the products information in the form of textual and visual content. User can see the full description of the product and download the documentation for it as well.
The developed system allows our partners to do business related to the purchase of expendables much faster, find information and inspiration for the development of the business in the materials and cases that we share. The system has also significantly improved our customer service, both in the field of order processing and logistics. “Faster, more informative, more client-oriented!” This is the motto that we followed during the development of the system.
Automated flexible bonus system
During the formation of the order, the system offers to a buyer various product probes and bonus products. The range and quantity of the offered bonus products depend on the current marketing programs of the company and the current volume of the user's order.
Chat for employees
Beauty salons often have several boutiques in the city. It is convenient for the owner or manager to have a single tool for communications with his employees, including identifying the need for consumables. We have developed chats inside the system to meet that need. Chats have an interface that is close to the usual look of messengers and they allow top management to communicate with subordinates both personally and in groups.
Processing large orders
After the formation of the order on the site, the system generates payment documents. Since the salon usually orders a lot of goods and orders are repeated from month to month, the user can upload an order in pre-created Excel form. Clients have the opportunity to integrate the portal with their solutions based on «1C» at the level of payment documents.
Integration with other information systems
Information about the order is transferred to other company systems integrated with the client portal, which work directly with the formation of the order in the warehouse, logistics, and internal accounting. The site constantly exchanges information with these systems to maintain the assortment and availability of goods in an up-to-date state.
Work with content
As the portal offers a large amount of information, we have implemented a convenient system for working with text and visual content. The portal has built-in blog functionality. A special section contains articles and videos related to the beauty industry.
The effectiveness of the presentation of goods is constantly analyzed. The algorithms for the presentation of products are constantly changing, depending on the analytics results and current marketing objectives.
Why the outsource development team
The creation of such portals implies the phased approach to the development of the project. After the implementation of the basic functionality, it is more effective to transfer the development to an external team, rather than keeping own developers.
This is because the number of development tasks is unstable. For example, if the current problem is completely covered by the portal’s functionality, then it needs only one developer to solve it. But when it comes to changing marketing strategies, sales concepts, the emergence of new trends in the market — it is necessary to make changes in large blocks. An external team of developers allows you to quickly change the composition of the team, regulating the number of necessary specialists following the existing load.