Argent Australia | Reviving the B2B experience with two distinct Drupal websites
Argent Australia is a nationally-renowned B2B bathroom and kitchen product supplier for the retail, project and builder markets which launched in 1958.
Digital8 was engaged by Argent Australia to develop two new websites: the first for the Argent Australia brand to replace a deprecated and outdated Magento website, and the second for their new retail brand, arthaus Bathroom Kitchen.
The key requirement was for each website to appear visually distinct from one another while accessing the same product database on the backend. The websites also needed to be open source and fit for purpose with B2B quoting capabilities.
Despite Argent Australia undergoing a change in ownership and organisational structure during this project, Digital8 successfully built both websites to Argent Australia’s requirements using Drupal CMS.
The robust digital solutions put in place by Digital8 are still used by Argent Australia.
Argent Australia was keen on solving the technical issues and reducing unnecessary costs associated with their outdated and ecommerce-focused Magento website.
As a B2B supplier, Argent required less focus on ecommerce capabilities and more focus on a robust database and CMS functionality.
Additionally, with the need for an additional website that required unique branding while still staying connected to the same database, Argent needed to find a digital agency to help them solve these complex problems.
Argent chose Digital8 to help them find digital solutions to their business problems and trusted that our web development team was up to the challenge.
Understanding the Business Objectives
A key requirement of this project was to design and develop two visually distinct websites that have access to the same product database to minimise double handling.
The solution also needed to be open source and fit for purpose to move away from their outdated Magento website.
The first B2B Argent website needed to allow their clients to create product list quotes requiring complex coding and database integration.
The second arthaus website needed to be developed in such a way to offer an enquire-for-price model at launch whilst minimising additional costs if the organisation decided to engage in ecommerce as a post-launch project.
The majority of Argent’s requirements were communicated in terms of business outcomes rather than project scope.
Therefore, Digital8 conducted extensive business analysis and user experience research to determine the user interface, feature, functionality, content and integration requirements to create an exhaustive specification for the project.
At this stage, Digital8 pitched the idea of a custom Drupal multisite to meet the key requirements of having a centralised product database and utilising an open source platform that could handle complex custom requirements.
The multisite would then also have the capability to scale and provide ecommerce solutions if the business went in that direction in the future, without it being the primary focus.
The main design requirement for Argent Australia was to create two distinct websites for the main Argent brand and the arthaus brand.
Taking into consideration the scope of the project, technical feasibility and Argent’s overall business goals, the UI/UX experts at Digital8 created high-fidelity mockups for the Argent team to approve.
The design team ensured that both websites were unique in their own right while maintaining the same overall look and feel to encompass the Argent brand identity that was already in place.
Focusing on exceptional user experience and an intuitive site structure, once the website designs were approved, prototypes were sent to the development team for technical implementation.
To deliver on the Argent website’s B2B quoting requirements, Digital8’s web developers built a sophisticated project quoting tool which allowed the user to add products into a wishlist functionality and group them into rooms.
From a technical standpoint, this required some complex configuration to ensure that a single product could be added multiple times, in various quantities and to separate rooms, despite leveraging a single wishlist function.
This tool was also developed in such a way that had the client ever wished to pivot their business plan and provide ecommerce functionality, such as a payment gateway and shipping configuration, it would be possible with minimal additional work required.
As Drupal is Digital8’s CMS of choice for large, complex projects for its ability to handle large quantities of data, our in-house Drupal developers were able to handle the unique requirements Argent set forth for the two websites.
Upon completion of the web development phase, the staging multisite was transitioned online. Digital8 was able to meet the deadline presented by Argent Australia with no delays to production.
The websites were met with a high level of satisfaction by the client and the Drupal CMS built by Digital8 is still used with both websites to this day.
At the time of taking on this project, Argent’s organisation was going through substantial structural and ownership changes which generated conflicting project requirements and timeline shifts.
While the Digital8 team is used to handling deadline changes and timeline interruptions, the organisational changes on the Argent team proved to be the most challenging aspect of this project.
To make up for the disruption in Argent’s organisational structure, Digital8 made sure to keep up with internal processes and documentation to keep the project on track.
When requirements changed or timelines were adjusted, the Digital8 team remained flexible and were able to deliver the multisite with no delays.
Despite the organisational challenges of Argent Australia switching ownership during the development process, Digital8 was able to successfully navigate the internal and external stakeholder engagement.
We were able to release a market-leading online presence for the primary Argent Australia brand and launch an entirely new retail brand to market in line with no delays to project schedule and a high level of stakeholder satisfaction.
- Built two distinct, open source B2B websites using Drupal
- Integrated both websites to use the same backend database to reduce double-handling
- Created a custom project quoting tool with various sorting functionalities
- Completed the project during a change in ownership and organisational structure within the Argent Australia company
Both the Argent Australia and arthaus websites were visually unique, whilst reusing enough components for project budget efficiency and achieved the primary aim of a centralised product database.
The Drupal product database implemented by Digital8 continues to act as Argent Australia’s master product database to this day.
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