Architecturing a furniture market leader e-commerce platform
Before we started to work with Hranipex we didn’t even know that such a huge market exists. The fact is that every manufacturer of furniture needs furniture edgings. And Hranipex annually makes thousands of kilometers of edgings for whole Europe. Their yearly edgings production would literally wrap the globe around the equator.
Read more about how we helped Hranipex build a solid online presence and start selling edges online in 10+ countries across Europe.
Since its foundation Hranipex has been growing rapidly, and has become the leader on the Central European market. From its Czech headquarters it manages subsidiaries in countries from the UK to Belarus. It’s business is orientated mostly to the B2B segment and for a long time there was no need to have anything more than a multilingual web presentation.
Back in 2007 Hranipex came to us with a wish to rebuild their company website and create a communication interface connected with their internal information system. This would allow them to present real time supplies on stock and potentially enable furniture producers to buy products online.
After our initial research we knew that the website would be the easy part but the API communicating between the information system (QAD MFG/PRO enterprise resource planning software) and the web portal would be a little tough.
Build the largest
In cooperation with Minerva a.s., main supplier of MFG/PRO in Czech Republic, we spent a couple of weeks searching for the optimal solution, and in the end we realised what we expected from the beginning - we had to write the communication API from scratch.
One of the important parts of web presentation was to align perfectly with the business strategy. Each subsidiary resides in a specific state and it can support more language versions in one country. The system was designed to support unlimited number of countries and each of them can have unlimited number of language versions (including Cyrilic or Arabic characters - we want to be ready for everything).
The UI/UX was prepared in cooperation with our stable partners and creative wizards from Bioport. Based on workshops with clients and wireframes we tried to create fresh corporate presentation with user optimized e-commerce section. Here you can see how the site introduced in 2008 looked like.
After the new website was launched we were asked to help with SEO. Altough COEX is primarily a software house many of us have a deep knowledge of how search engines work, and even if we don’t advertise it, we offer mainly on-page SEO services to our customers. We never want to be an advertising agency or commercial creators but we don’t have a problem with technical part of the job.
So we’ve took some measurements - together with the customer we created lists of the most important keywords, did competitive analysis, created ladders of search engine results and suggested on-page changes. Most of them were about proper copywriting of META parameters and suggesting to add semantic content on the products and categories. A couple of weeks after that, Hranipex held first positions on most of the phrases and the organic visitors amount was growing significantly.
After 6 weeks of software design and development we had completed the communication bridge between internal MFG/PRO system and the online server. The crucial proceses were smoothly communicating both ways and it was confirmed that we successfully overcame potential bottlenecks in peaks. Syncronization of tens of thousands stock items in hourly periods were fast enough to eliminate any delays or mismatched data.
We had to solve some issues, such as pairing new customers registered on the portal with different credentials than those existing in the system. After some time of testing it was also concluded that real time syncronization of tens of thousands stock items causes too big data traffic and changed the solution to periodical synchronization.
The website administration and also some basic configurations for data communicator is managed by Django Admin which is our main tool for back office on Python projects. It offers plain yet powerful tools for administration of literally any data contained in database and our Python magicians can bend it to any imaginable need.
In this case it was important to use one back office for all subsidiaries and also provide super admins (company headquarters) with ability to manage any of the national websites
After the launch of the Czech headquarter in 2008 we were launching a couple of subsidiaries every year. As time went, we were asked to add new functions and optimize the system - number of portals and users went up and we had to add caching layers. Huge solutions like this required SLA service and regular maintenance and monitoring. We provide Hranipex with our 24/7 hotline, administrator support and they have also our package of backuping and monitoring services.