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The Workplace Depot case study

‘We convert approximately 5 times more customers than we did on the old website before we began using Sage Pay.’

The Workplace DepotRichard BloomfieldWebsite Editor

As one of the UK’s largest retailers of industrial and workplace supplies, The Workplace Depot sells over 20,000 products through a network of over 40 distributors. But with the rise of the Internet and traditional catalogue orders declining every year, it was time for The Workplace Depot to update their selling strategy...

In an attempt to open the business up to a new customer-base and increase business revenue, the company launched an online website in 2008. However, without suitable payment functionality, the website acted as a simple online brochure and did not see the success that the business had hoped for.

Updating the website proved to be difficult as new product information needed to be uploaded at least every 6 months, causing a strain on the teams resources. ‘Trying to get new data on the website was a massive and unsustainable task.’ commented Richard Bloomfield, Web Editor of The Workplace Depot. ‘Customers expect to be able to go online and compare prices, products and ultimately make a purchase. We weren’t able to offer that functionality and in return, the business suffered”.

Knowing that a total overhaul was needed, an all new website was launched in May 2012. Having done their research, the team knew that a number of medium to large enterprises were using a combination of Sage Pay and Magento for their online presence. ‘We wanted a platform that was flexible, allowed for expansion in number of products and was easy to use for non-technical staff.’ says Richard.

Building the site on Magento provided the flexibility for the team to make changes to the website at the drop of a hat, meaning the website could constantly evolve with their business.  The new Magento platform has also made importing data much quicker and easier for the team. Likewise, the integration process was simple and pain-free. ‘We used an external developer to handle the Magento integration’ says Richard ‘He has considerable experience in integrations and said the set-up was easier than any other comparable systems that he had used’.

Another benefit to the business has been using Sage Pay’s payment functionality to enable card payments, which has relieved the business of handling cheques and forms. As Richard mentions, ‘it’s a real efficiency plus point for the business.’

With these tools and payment functionalities in place, the online side of the business has grown rapidly and the business has seen a huge improvement in website visitors converting into buyers. ‘The website ‘visitor to order’ conversion is very high,’ says Richard, ‘we convert approximately 5 times more customers than the old website before we began using Sage Pay.’

The team understand that key to increasing conversion and keeping customers happy, is giving them choice in how they want to pay. ‘There will probably always be people who like using catalogues so we don’t have plans to abandon them completely. However, a catalogue goes out-of-date quite quickly, it is expensive to produce and it can’t reflect the kind of special offers, promotions and updates that a website can present.’

As part of its e-commerce offering, The Workplace Depot has enabled customers to pay via PayPal. Using Sage Pay’s API integration, means that the 20% of customer payments they receive through this channel appear in the Sage Pay reporting area, alongside their other transactions, saving time on manual reconciliation.

Richard believes that the Sage Pay brand is key to instilling customers with confidence ‘The outstanding reputation and credibility of Sage Pay speaks for itself and provides complete customer confidence in the secure handling of payments. We build websites for our independent distributors and the fact that we recommend Sage Pay, highlights our confidence in the quality of the product’.

Since lunching their new site, The Workplace Depot is delighted to have won the 2013 Online Retail Award in the ‘Office and Workplace Supplies’ category. “The awards are judged on a wide variety of criteria but among them is usability – finding the products that you are looking for on the site and the ease of ordering them. Since the judges thoroughly test out websites, having a reliable and respected payment system was a key factor in helping us to win.”

www.theworkplacedepot.co.uk