Inside Transcat’s B2B Digital Transformation
Founded in 1964, Transcat has supported testing and measurement requirements for multiple industries for over 50 years. Transcat customers include businesses from the pharmaceutical, industrial manufacturing, energy, and chemical process industries. They sell everything from aircheck and particle counters to thermal cameras. With operations in the U.S. and Canada, Transcat distributes their own products alongside those made by other leading manufacturers, including over 500 test equipment product lines, making them one of North America’s largest and most respected calibration and compliance services providers.
Transcat had enjoyed significant growth on Magento Commerce 1, but their business was changing. They needed to digitize the core areas of their business, including equipment rentals and sales of pre-owned equipment. They needed to elevate their brand and customer experience to influence customer perception and retain their position as an industry leader in the face of changing market dynamics. Overall, they wanted to create operational efficiencies to enable their business to be more agile.
In 2018, their solution partner, Gorilla Group, helped Transcat research a number of alternatives. But they decided to stay with Magento Commerce for a number of reasons. Foremost, Magento provides “incredible value” for the enterprise capabilities it offers. With Magento Commerce, Transcat had the ability to create a differentiated customer experience across target segments and expand their digital business offerings. Magento would allow them to digitize very different types of businesses within the company, from enabling rentals, new product sales, used goods sales, and even a calibration service. Only Magento offers the power and flexibility to serve multiple business types and needs, all in one platform.
An end-to-end B2B digital transformation
Gorilla Group wasted no time in upgrading Transcat to Magento Commerce 2. They integrated Transcat’s key business systems, including their ERP, using a custom-built middleware. This became a critical part of the solution, as it enables key site functionality and ensures the real-time transfer of order, customer, and product data. They also restructured the site hierarchy through new dynamic site mapping and created a new site design based on UX testing. Transcat dedicated the main navigation on the homepage to the foundational pillars of their brand: calibration services, test equipment, rentals, and brands offered.
A number of key extensions were implemented to complete the digital commerce solution, and to offer a full-featured experience to customers. They implemented tools for smoother payments, like PayPal, added back-end management tools such as URapidFlow and Google Tag Manager, while an Amasty store locator helps customers find their nearest physical location. The Magento B2B module enables price quoting, and was supplemented with a custom-built quoting solution. Meanwhile, site search performance was improved using Elastic Suite, and scalability was added to shipping management with ShipperHQ.
Gorilla also built an integration for the Transcat middleware to manage rental orders, bringing this business unit online for the first time. The API was specifically designed to allow for dynamic updates directly within an order, making it easier and faster than ever to rent a megohmmeter (to measure the electrical resistance of insulators). Meanwhile, one of the more exciting elements of the new platform is the Product Configurator. Now users can build dynamic products on the go, customizing equipment for their specific use. This creates dynamic SKUs that can be mapped to the Transcat ERP.
An elevated B2B user experience
Transcat planned for a short, 18-week timeline, and launched on January 23, 2019, right on time. The new Transcat site has put the brand on par with the world’s largest B2B distributors and elevated the user experience to among the best in the industry. The user interface provides each business unit with its own distinct identity within an overall cohesive brand experience. The complex functionality running behind the elegant front end enables all segments of the distribution business to flourish: new products, pre-owned, rentals, and calibration services.
Through integrations via the custom middleware, Transcat can now create dynamic SKUs based on customer interactions, and present those in real time along with up-to-the-minute pricing to customers, and flow that information back to the ERP system. These new capabilities have set the tone for Transcat’s ongoing digital transformation.
While some data is still being collected, initial figures have shown dramatic growth in account registrations and customer acquisition, and a major lift in organic site traffic. Mobile visits are up by more than 17 percent. But, most importantly, the new site has enabled a streamlined internal process, which is delivering significant cost savings and organizational efficiencies.