Parts Nationwide is a major online retailer for Replacement Parts, Accessories, Engines, and Outdoor Power Equipment. Currently the internet is filled with small popup websites run by individuals with limited inventories and poor access to enterprise level shipping and logistics systems. As a result trust in purchasing parts online has dropped significantly. This project was an ambitious attempt to create one website that would unite the companies with the best warehousing and logistics capabilities across North America.
How do you move a business-to-business operation into the business-to-consumer world without disrupting the B2B operation or breaking current contracts with your suppliers? That’s the challenge the Integrated Distributors Network wanted to conquer. In order to enter the Business to Consumer market, complex rules and regulations would need to be setup in their backend systems to determine where orders would be shipped from, which of the seven privately held fulfillment companies would be shipping the item, and what items could be displayed to the end user based on their geographical location. Add in taxes, EPA regulations, and various logistics challenges and you have a real technical hurdle to overcome. And it’s not like this is an untapped market – they’d be going head-to-head with big name brands like Lowes, Ace, and Home Depot.
With a 45-day design timeline and a 60-day development cycle, Switchbox delivered a custom-built e-commerce platform. We used elements from previous projects to redesign their shopping cart and create a management tool that allows each of the seven partners of the IDN to upload individual parts that correspond to each of their manufacturer agreements. Web services were setup to download up-to-date pricing, inventory and product images on a daily basis. The site used a geographical ZIP-code-tagging entry screen to determine which partner’s inventory to draw from, allowing different inventory quantities and pricing for all the different IDN warehouses across the country.