Over the past 40 years, Waterdrinker has developed from a local plant dealer to one of the largest exporters of flowers, home, and garden plants worldwide. In 2016, Waterdrinker asked us to build a custom and mobile-friendly eCommerce B2B platform so their different customer groups could easily buy flowers, plants, and accessories online. Three months after the start, we delivered a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Since then we have continuously developed and released new functionalities.
Waterdrinker strives to provide tailored services and experiences to its various clients: florists, garden centers, wholesalers, chain stores, and retailers. Both main groups of customers, Cash & Carry and Big Professional Buyers, required different functionalities, and those functionalities required custom integration with Waterdrinker’s existing systems.
We conducted usability testing sessions to gain insight into the purchasing behavior of Waterdrinker customers. We have learned that Waterdrinker users do not behave like traditional consumers. For example, a large professional buyer who regularly buys large quantities of plants requires a fast and smart checkout process – optimized for placing repeat orders. These customer insights helped us optimize overall navigation and remove bottlenecks.
Initially, we explored several open-source shopping frameworks such as Magento 1 & 2, Sylius, and Solidus. We concluded that out-of-the-box store frameworks lacked stability or lacked the ability to connect to an industry-specific ERP system.
Because of this, we decided to build custom software. The main goal was to ensure that the framework would be stable, adaptable, and resilient. This custom system can deal with the current complexity, possible delays in the ERP system or Waterdrinker’s API, and handle many parallel requests.
The custom shopping engine we built connects to Waterdrinker’s existing systems and shows different storefronts for different customers. Each storefront is optimized to provide the best possible experience for the Cash & Carry and Big Professional Buyer customer groups.
For example, large business buyers can easily replenish their weekly inventory to ensure their store has enough plants and flowers in stock. Cash & Carry customers can find inspiration and keep up to date with the latest trends in a dedicated section.
When creating the front end for Waterdrinker, we kept one challenge in mind: everything we built had to be flexible enough to easily change the look and feel of the store. We have developed an easy to customize white-label solution that allows Waterdrinker to have multiple storefronts with different visual elements and assortment.
The platform is now live. Customers submit their purchase orders with ease and we work to optimize the experience.
Since the first release in 2016, we have continuously developed new functionalities in sprints, short periods of 2 weeks. Before each sprint, we prepare the user stories based on a backlog. After each sprint, all stakeholders have the opportunity to view the software and discuss the next steps.
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