E-commerce Book Store Improves User Experience and Streamlines Site Maintenance with Sitefinity Content Management System


Industry: Non-Profit Fundraising

Background: Big Noodle Books provides non-profit organizations and academic institutions with a flexible, convenient online fundraising platform that is educationally relevant and designed to promote literacy. Big Noodle allows any non-profit organization to create a custom-branded online bookstore within 48 hours of joining Big Noodle.

The Challenge

Big Noodle Books is a socially responsible, technology-driven fundraising company. When the organization’s chief marketing officer inherited a legacy website, there were some inherent challenges — the site’s original content management system was custom-built using an open source PHP platform. With limited documentation and technical complexity of use for both administrators and customers, frustration and abandonment levels were at an all-time high.

Component Web Services’ initial assessment revealed that web site maintenance required administrators to log in as a member. This non-intuitive method for managing content updates caused administrative confusion and errors. Updating the company’s product catalog was an arduous task, resulting in slow time to market for new book titles.

Big Noodle’s core business allows any non-profit organization to easily create a custom-branded e-commerce microsite. The complexity of registering and creating a microsite was driving down end-user engagement. The presence of three different login areas created extreme confusion at checkout and led to high shopping cart abandonment and loss of revenue.

The Solution

Based on recommendations from Component Web Services, Big Noodle unanimously decided to redesign and redevelop its site from the ground up.

We quickly segmented the various users of the website (Big Noodle administrators, organization administrators setting up microsites, and book purchasers). Through split testing and several design iterations, the concept for two main sections representing Big Noodle’s main revenue drivers was conceived. Working with the design team, Component Web Services developed two clearly marked navigation paths to quickly and intuitively guide users to the information pertaining to their segment.

“Find your organization's bookstore and start shopping now” points book buyers to drop-down tools for locating the organization they wish to support. “Create income for your organization with a customized online bookstore” explains the benefits of fundraising with Big Noodle, including an optional video demo.

Creating a wireframe website within Sitefinity content management system allowed Component Web Services to rapidly prototype the recommended architecture. Working closely with the project’s designers and Big Noodle’s copywriters, content was entered into the CMS for review and approval by stakeholders.

But the biggest challenge for Component Web Services was to provide Big Noodle’s customers with an easy way to build custom-branded microsites using a third-party catalog of inventory. We decided to use Telerik’s Rad List View control to populate a grid of books directly from the Sitefinity products API. Users simply search the catalog of books in inventory and “drag and drop” any book title (image and content) onto their microsite’s home page. The user can also drag and drop any book to change the order of the display on the page.

Behind the scenes during a drag and drop, we use Ajax to make a webservice call to change the “ordinal” field in the database. This method keeps the change in the database retaining the order so users have no need to press “submit” or “save” for their changes.

Using Sitefinity allowed the Component Web Services development team to concentrate on building out the custom requirements Big Noodle Books needed to move their company forward. We chose Sitefinity because of its open architecture and familiar ASP.Net technologies, which rapidly integrate with any third-party applications and allow us to create customized controls.

The Results

Using Sitefinity, Component Web Services was able to meet and exceed Big Noodle Books expectations for the new site:

  • Reduced site abandonment from frustrated users and helped increase client base.
  • Reduced customer service overhead, allowing agents to work with clients to increase sales revenue rather than address administrative issues.
  • Improved the member experience, simplifying users’ ability to easily create custom-branded microsites.

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