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Custom application development improves delivery costs for online customers

Nov 5, 2019 Tech blog

Recent investment in custom application development is allowing Pacific Furniture and Bedding to deliver a better online service to customers. With products ranging in size and weight from cushions to desks, mattresses and bookshelves, combined with large delivery areas, calculation of shipping costs quickly becomes complicated. Pacific Furniture’s goal was to implement a system that would improve the cost-effectiveness of delivery for the online customer, improving the store’s ability to offer the same level of service online as they do instore.

Pacific Furniture’s web shopping capability uses the PHP-based online store management system OpenCart. While this included functionality to calculate shipping based on the postcode, it was unable to accommodate volume considerations - important when a company’s products include large and bulky items.

“Customers shopping online purchasing high-value items want to understand the whole cost of their purchase,” said Gerard Egan of Pacific Furniture and Bedding. “We needed a system that could cope with both flat-rate shipping, volume-based shipping and custom quotes in particular situations. It also needed to be able to deliver this in real-time as the customer adds items to their shopping cart, calculated for the whole order.”

The ability for staff to easily update shipping variables in the backend to accommodate changes in products was also crucial. The new custom, volume shipping functionality has been live for two months and, according to Mr Egan, “the functionality and ease of maintenance for our staff is excellent. So far it is working really well and has been a great addition to the site.”

Pacific Furniture and Bedding is one of New South Wales’ largest furniture retailers with 12 locations in NSW and also a store in Victoria. Improvements in efficiencies online will allow the company to expand its service area and be confident that cost calculations remain as cost-effective as possible for the customer.

If a business can harness its chosen applications to adapt to unique industry or even organisational needs, the result can lead to significant competitive advantage. Achieving success in this way is very much a partnership relationship between the client and the IT team. It's the combination of the intimate details of a business or industry that the client brings, coupled with the depth of IT knowledge that the IT team holds that leads to success.

“IT Basecamp and Pacific have a strong working relationship dating back to 2017 when our website needed a redesign. Originally we liked that they were geographically close to our business location, but we have found the people so professional and competent. The more projects we collaborate on the greater their understanding of our business becomes, which is always an advantage,” said Mr Egan.