The ease of updating the new site developed in EPiServer CMS means that barbox.com can be more responsive to customer needs, and saves time and hassle both for developers and for content managers.
Barbox.com went from a divided and resource consuming web environment to a flexible content management system generating happy customers in a very short timescale.
Barbox.com offer online ordering from an unrivalled range of industry suppliers as well as providing customers with business enhancing articles, tools and downloads to drive efficiency and profitability. Operating such a site is a complex business.
Until recently, barbox.com was constructed on a mix of systems, requiring quite a lot of continuous work from developers. But as the site continued to expand, barbox decided that a more scalable approach to content management was required that did not need input from the development team.
"The old site lacked flexibility," says Sean Stanley, Head of Technical at barbox. "Where site changes required input from the development team, the development team was seen as a bottleneck to delivering change, and the developers would see content change as an unwanted distraction. Using developers to mark up html pages was not the best way of adding value to the business," says Stanley.
When barbox.com decided the website needed a new design, it also decided to build the new site around a system that would make it easier to manage content changes to the site. Key requirements were that the new system would be based on .NET architecture, that it would be easy for content managers to use, and that the changeover from the old site to the new would not impact on the site's availability or performance.
When choosing a system to meet all these requirements, barbox looked at a few alternatives. One alternative was Microsoft CMS, but Stanley says this offered "more than we needed for the cost". The company also looked at a mid-market Content Management System (CMS), and was impressed by the functionality it offered – until it found EPiServer:´"We quickly evaluated EPiServer CMS against the other contender and while the overall functionality was similar, EPiServer CMS seemed to offer more flexibility," says Stanley.
The barbox team say they were impressed by how malleable EPiServer CMS is, but say it also has a very solid and advanced technical design. Moving the system over to EPiServer CMS and .NET in extremely short timescales was something that barbox staff had to "grapple with", Stanley says. "The fact that we achieved it is in part testament to the quality of the individuals concerned, but also to the suitability of the products that we were working with."
For content managers at barbox, the new system was a major step forward – the company says it has been very encouraged by the number of visitors to the new site and by the impact on ordering volumes. According to a customer survey the company carried out, users of the site were overwhelmingly positive.
"The new site design and the ease and flexibility of the content administration tools have all contributed to positioning this business for the next period of customer growth," says Geoff Nicholson, Head of Marketing and Content for barbox.
Barbox.com is a joint venture between Coors Brewers and Scottish & Newcastle Plc – a one-stop shop for 12,000 bars, pubs and eateries across the country to purchase all of the goods they need to run their outlets.
The new site design and the ease and flexibility of the content administration tools have all contributed to positioning this business for the next period of customer growth.Geoff Nicholson, Head of Marketing and Content for Barbox.