CTrends had an urgent need to update and redesign the outward-facing public website. CTrends’ objective was to have a website that is an industry leader with the tools, functionality, and state of the art user experience to help users search and find electronic components information easily.
CTrends, located in Orange County, California, is an electronic components distribution that empowers its customers through data-driven decision-making tools, bridging every stage of product development from engineering and operations to quality and supply.
Need to increase sales
CTrends public-facing website is the main driver to generate sales. In order to grow its user-base and increase site traffic, a complete makeover was inevitable, and to offer website admins and content owners the tools they needed to take total ownership of the website.
A solution that works
A robust content management system (CMS) was the foundation of the solution to CTrends’ challenges. In general, there are many high quality, feature-rich CMS packages on the market today, so selecting the proper one was a critical part of the overall success of the project. In order to best find the proper CMS package for CTrends, we analyzed many variables to help us:
- An easy-to-use and feature rich CMS solution for web content and document publication. In addition, custom development features that included back-end systems integration, database integration.
- Rich “content administration” abilities were paramount. Enabling the content managers themselves to have an easy-to-use interface and having self-managing abilities was a critical success factor.
- User identity management and authentication were critical long-term. The custom development environment needed to be something where the developer costs were low and talent was common, yet the platform was powerful and extensible.
- Minimize the custom development needed, which means less code to support and less cost.
- Realistic skill sets for long-term maintenance and management were important.
Many CMS options were analyzed and eventually ruled out based on the variables above and our existing knowledge of the technology environments at CTrends. The one CMS platform that really presented itself as an overall clear choice is Sitefinity by Telerik. It’s a mature, award-winning, Enterprise ready platform that’s been around for almost 10 years. It’s had 7 major revisions, has over 70,000 users and is in use today by companies like Microsoft, Sony, IBM, and Fox. It’s built and managed by Telerik, which has been a leader in Microsoft Technology components and solutions for over 15 years.
Sitefinity is based on the Microsoft .NET development platform which has the benefit that “normal” .NET engineers can pick up the development easily and it allows for the eventual deeper integrations and customizations that will be required in the long-term feature scope. The best part is the user interface. It has one of the most advanced and intuitive drag/drop style interfaces for managing content on the market today. If you’re not familiar with the platform, more information can be found here: http://www.sitefinity.com/.
Make it happen
With the Sitefinity platform, nearly all the requested functionality is out-of-the-box, which means a very stable, error-free, and enterprise quality code base to quickly launch with. However, our solution required deep customization to meet CTrends’ need and ensure the new public-facing site had all the capabilities needed to streamline the day-to-day usage of the site. Here are some of the major custom features that were delivered:
- Custom widgets to display dynamic content:
- Products List
- Product Categories
- Product Category Information
- Search Results
- Part Detail
- Franchise Line List
- Member Portal
- User Dashboard
- Request for Quotation Management
- Bill of Material Management
- Sales Order Management