06 Sep Case Study: From User Confusion to User Engagement – Creating the Perfect Website
In 1998, TRI-Supply & Equipment began serving the East Coast construction industry, from Pennsylvania down to Virginia. At a time when corporate consolidation was decimating small businesses, TRI-Supply defied the odds, and not only survived but prospered.
Offering friendly, same-day service, TRI-Supply built a reputation as a dependable supplier of both materials and equipment, delivered directly to job sites. This made them fixtures in the Mid-Atlantic region, known to contractors and builders up and down the coast.
However, as construction suppliers moved online, TRI-Supply began to feel the pinch. Their long-time customers were loyal, but new prospects were having a hard time getting the information they needed to make informed buying decisions. TRI-Supply’s website was older, hard to navigate, and didn’t offer the depth of services the company felt it needed to in order to remain competitive.
They knew they needed to incorporate their extensive product catalog, listing rates and product availability across their retail and rental businesses, but they weren’t certain how to best accomplish the transition. After receiving a recommendation from True Value cooperative, they decided to enlist the help of New Media Retailer.
Website and Social Media Requirements
In order to attract and retain new, internet-savvy customers, TRI-Supply needed a user-friendly web presence that made it easy for customers to browse their large catalog, check product and equipment availability, get price quotes, and find useful information about the company and their industry.
TRI-Supply was hoping to establish themselves as industry experts and thought leaders in the regional market by producing insightful blog content and compelling social media posts. They needed an engaged audience that passionately shared their name and drove new business to their website.
Most critically, the company needed an organic way to separate their retail and rental businesses so that customers looking for rental equipment weren’t confused by retail listings and vice versa. The two businesses were related, and TRI-Supply wanted their customers to have easy access to both, but they wanted them distinct enough so that each type of customer could easily find what they were looking for.
The Surprise Challenge
Through their True Value partners, TRI-Supply & Equipment had access to True Value’s existing online catalog. This was available for direct inclusion into the TRI-Supply website. In theory, this should have made the job easier, but in practice, it created additional hardships.
As Leah Curran, TRI-Supply’s marketing director puts it, “We are not your typical homeowner’s hardware store, and so we had to find a way to eliminate products we didn’t carry while adding our own in.” They needed their entire product catalog to feel consistent, even though they only had direct control over their portion of the product line.
This turned out to be more challenging than expected, particularly since the catalog had to be split across TRI’s retail and rental operations.
To handle the differences between TRI’s retail and rental businesses, New Media Retailer recommended the company create two websites instead of one. These sites would be designed to complement each other, with a consistent voice, and layout, but their content would be exclusive to the services each provided.
To create a cohesive whole, they would each include strategically placed links throughout their designs, making it easy for users to jump to the sister site when they needed services from both arms of the business.
Then New Media Retailer got to work on True Value’s online catalog to facilitate the necessary edits and make it easier for TRI-Supply’s unique content to be tied in, creating a seamless catalog that functioned equally well on both of TRI’s websites.
Finally, New Media Retailer took over the management of TRI’s social media accounts and their email marketing efforts so that they could roll out a consistent online presence and build a brand voice that effectively established TRI-Supply’s dominance in the Mid-Atlantic region.
TRI-Supply’s customers all agree that the new site is a major improvement over the company’s previous effort. The online catalog provides contractors and their employees quick access to the entirety of TRI’s product line and makes it easy for them to plan job site purchases and handle equipment rentals.
The dual-site design prevents retail customers from getting confused by rental offerings and helps rental customers find information about equipment availability without getting lost in a sea of retail equipment. Both customer groups report that the two sites make it easier to find what they’re looking for, leading to a dramatically improved customer experience.
This extends into New Media Retailer’s involvement with TRI’s social media and email marketing campaigns. Messaging is now far more consistent, compelling, and effective. Their social media accounts have become potent promotional tools, driving engagement and web traffic. In its entirety, TRI-Supply’s new web presence is exactly what they were looking for, and it’s performing better than they ever could have hoped.
New Media Retailer is Successful Once Again
Since the new websites went live, TRI-Supply has noticed a measurable upswing in new customer accounts, and they couldn’t be happier with the results. They’re finding that customer interactions are shorter and more effective due to the increased information access the new websites provide. This has freed up the company’s salesforce to pursue larger accounts and more effectively provide the focused customer service the company is known for.
Leah Curran sings New Media Retailer’s praises when talking about the project. “Our online product catalogs allow our outside sales personnel a powerful tool to use with our customers. Not that we don’t want our customers calling us, but now they have information at their fingertips. This, plus all the rest of the new content enhances our customer’s experience with us. With the services provided by New Media Retailer, employees of TRI-Supply & Equipment can focus on selling materials and renting equipment…what we do best!”
TRI-Supply is excited to see how their collaboration with New Media Retailer pays dividends in the future. They fully expect their business to continue growing and recognize that their new web presence will be a critical component of that growth.
“Yes, we would recommend New Media Retailer to our peers,” Leah says enthusiastically. “They’re consistent, professional, and results-driven.”
New Media Retailer is equally enthusiastic about the results of the project. They’re continuing to drive TRI’s social media and email marketing campaigns, and know that these efforts will establish TRI as the online industry leader they hoped to be. New Media Retailer can’t wait to drive the same results for other clients as well.