Phase 1: Store Absence and Integration Challenges
The problem in hand - Kohler, a leading brand in the home improvement industry, was capped on discovery and sales because of needing an online store. Not having an online store hindered their ability to reach a broader customer base and drive online sales. Additionally, their existing systems needed more integration capabilities, leading to operational inefficiencies and manual workarounds.
Solutions to be implemented -
- Store Creation: Our team built a fully functional e-commerce store using Shopify to address the absence of an online store. This activity enabled Kohler to showcase its products and directly engage with a more extensive customer base through an online channel.
- SAP Integration: By integrating the SAP system with the newly developed online store, Kohler gained real-time visibility into inventory levels, order management, and product information. This integration facilitated seamless data flow between departments and improved overall operational efficiency.
Phase 2: Serviceability and API Enhancements
The problem at hand - Kohler faced challenges in determining product serviceability for different regions without a Warehouse Management System (WMS) and Order Management System (OMS). The existing logistics API needed functionality, causing delays and customer dissatisfaction.
Solutions to be implemented -
Logistics API Enhancement: Our team developed a custom logistics API with improved serviceability checks. This enhanced API allowed Kohler to determine product availability and delivery feasibility based on pin codes, enabling better customer communication and order fulfillment accuracy. It was initially hosted on AWS and then moved to Azzure to align with the tech compliances. This required expertise and promptness from Kohler and Marmeto teams to make this a joint success.
Dashboard Development: Marmeto created a dashboard to represent serviceable regions and their corresponding inventory levels visually. Working on a pin code basis, this dashboard helped Kohler's team make informed decisions regarding stock allocation and customer order routing.
API System Architecture Upgrade: The API system architecture was upgraded from a traditional REST approach to GraphQL to optimize system performance and enhance scalability. This transition improved data retrieval and reduced response times, ensuring a seamless user experience.
Phase 3: Enriching Customer Experience with “ Split-Type Installation “ and "Shop the Look"
Problem at hand - Purchasing a wash basin and its accompanying components, such as faucets, cabinets, and mirrors, presents various customer challenges. Factors such as the different types of wash basins (wall-mounted, table-placed, and under-table installations) indicate diverse customer preferences and requirements. Additionally, the need for specific faucets compatible with the chosen basin highlights the importance of height, color, and design. Online shoppers faced challenges due to the need for salespersons to provide guidance and recommendations. The split-type installation was also pending, delaying providing a comprehensive solution to customers.
Solutions to be implemented -
Split-Type Installation: Our team developed a solution that involved integrating split-type installation into the e-commerce platform to address the need for offering different installation options. This feature allowed customers to select the appropriate installation type during purchase, enhancing their convenience and satisfaction.
The four types of split-type installations implemented were:
a) Simple Installation: Suitable for straightforward installations that require minimal effort and expertise.
b) Complex Installation: For installations that involve more intricate processes and may require additional technical skills.
c) Bathroom Installation: Specifically tailored for bathroom installations, considering factors like space utilization and plumbing connections.
d) Custom Installation: Offering personalized installation solutions for unique or specialized requests beyond the standard options.
By implementing these solutions, Kohler improved serviceability checks, provided installation options, and enhanced the overall customer experience on their e-commerce platform.
"Shop the Look" Feature: To address these specific customer needs and challenges, Marmeto developed a specialized feature on the Kohler website that allowed customers to explore and purchase pre-selected sets of products that matched their desired style and theme. This feature streamlined the shopping experience and encouraged cross-selling of related products. It was developed with the following considerations:
- Curated Product Selection: Kohler can curate a selection of faucets, cabinets, and other accessories compatible with different wash basins. It ensures customers can easily find and purchase components suitable for their chosen basin type. The feature can include detailed product descriptions, images, and customer reviews to aid customers in making informed choices.
- Personalized Recommendations: By understanding the specific requirements of different basin types, Kohler can provide tailored recommendations to customers. It includes considering cabinet dimensions, installation requirements, and the need for taller faucets for tabletop basins. By incorporating this knowledge into the "Shop the Look'' feature, Kohler ensures that customers receive recommendations that align with their functional and stylistic preferences.
- Enhanced Product Information: The "Shop the Look" feature can provide comprehensive information about the compatibility of faucets, cabinets, and other accessories with different basin types. It includes highlighting the specific dimensions, color options, and design features that customers should consider when selecting. The feature can also address common questions and concerns that customers may have during the purchasing process.
By incorporating these solutions into the "Shop the Look" feature, Kohler offers a shopping experience for customers looking to purchase wash basins and their accompanying components. The feature addresses specific customer needs, provides compatibility information, and offers tailored recommendations, ultimately increasing customer satisfaction and engagement.
- WMS (Warehouse Management System) and OMS (Order Management System) were unavailable initially, posing challenges in determining product serviceability for different regions.
- Introducing split-type installation and various hardware products such as mirrors, glass doors, washbasins, and showering equipment required additional enhancements to the e-commerce platform.
- Marmeto implemented a data layer to track installation services and hardware brands.
- The serviceability check dashboard was developed on a pincode basis, mapping pin codes and warehouses for better installation serviceability.
- Marmeto created a backend system to enable warehouse-specific order dispatch and fulfillment.
- API limitations, including traffic and request limits, were addressed by upgrading the API system architecture from REST to GraphQL, allowing for increased scalability and improved performance.
- Marmeto implemented the bucketing system to handle a higher volume of requests, resolving the issue of exceeding limits and ensuring seamless API functionality.
- The optimization of the installation service, without relying on WMS, OMS, or logistics systems, posed a significant challenge, which was overcome by developing custom APIs and a pincode-based serviceability dashboard.
Additional Challenges and Solutions:
- Data Layer for Tracking: To address the need for better tracking, a data layer was implemented to capture and analyze customer behavior and interactions on the website. This allowed Kohler to gain insights into user preferences and optimize the overall customer experience.
- Hardware Brand and Pincode-Based Delivery Service: To meet customer requirements, Kohler expanded its product offerings online to include hardware products such as mirrors, glass doors, washbasins, and showering solutions. Additionally, pincode-based service is introduced to ensure that these hardware but delicate products reach specific customer types safely.
- Serviceability and Installation Backend: A system is developed to define serviceability and dispatch orders from specific warehouses based on installation requirements to ensure accurate serviceability checks and smooth order fulfillment. This improved the efficiency of the installation process.
- API Rate Limiting and Architecture Upgrade: To overcome challenges related to API rate limiting, the API system architecture was upgraded from a REST approach to GraphQL. This allowed for better scalability and removed the limitations on the number of requests per second, ensuring a seamless user experience even during high-traffic periods.
- Discount based on Replacement - Kohler will be offering replacements with product-specific discounts. This feature would allow customers to replace their previous Kohler items and receive a discount on their new purchases.
Conclusion: Our team successfully helped Kohler overcome various challenges throughout the digital transformation journey. By establishing an online store, integrating essential systems, enhancing serviceability checks, introducing innovative features, and optimizing the installation service, Kohler significantly improved their e-commerce operations and customer experience. The collaborative efforts between our team and Kohler resulted in a successful and transformative partnership.