Zippo is the most iconic and recognized lighter brand in the world. Zippo Manufacturing Company markets in more than 180 countries and has manufactured over 550 million windproof lighters. In addition to the highly collectible Zippo windproof lighter, it also offers a diverse product line that includes lighter accessories, butane candle lighters, fragrance, eyewear, and a robust line of heat and flame products for outdoor enthusiasts.
Due to a rapidly changing business landscape and shifts in customer expectations, Zippo needed a unified e-commerce strategy that allowed for operational flexibility and agility to better connect, engage and convert shoppers into buyers.
The challenge was to transition its e-commerce site from a non-responsive, difficult to manage proprietary platform, to a solution that would better connect with consumers across all platforms while providing an environment that was both flexible and scalable. With a global audience, Zippo needed a strategy to deliver business agility, world-class marketing and technology capabilities that could be managed by business end-users in a way that did not impact internal resources and projects already focused on other strategic business initiatives.
Chief Digital Advisors (CDA) was chosen to apply its innovative strategies and methods specifically designed to enable Zippo to re-platform its e-commerce site and establish a foundation of technology enabled business capabilities that would rapidly advance Zippo’s e-commerce results.
CDA’s methodology and approach focused on building out core e-commerce capabilities while streamlining business practices within the Zippo organization with the goal of minimizing the burden on internal resources while lowering technology costs.
In cooperation with top-tier solutions partners, to fulfill niche needs as a part of the larger project, CDA systematically worked with Zippo’s Marketing, Technology and Operational teams to collect required specifications and conduct a platform review and selection. A comprehensive integration plan was designed that would seamlessly connect existing enterprise processes and systems to the newly selected e-commerce platform, Shopify Plus.
Utilizing CDA’s existing technology reference architecture, Zippo was able to move quickly through the discovery and definition phases, reducing time and money spent planning. The team was then able to design flexible and agile methods and processes that could readily support the merchandising and marketing needs of the business at a cost structure far below that of alternative solutions.
With the technology architecture established, data integration became a key focus in ensuring the success of the implementation. Integrating customer orders between the Shopify Plus e-commerce platform and Zippo’s ERP that would minimize complexity and cost was a top priority. Due to the highly customizable products offered on the Zippo website, which gives customers the ability to add their own artwork and engravings, innovative workflows and automations were designed to incorporate key approval process steps prior to the manufacturing and shipping. To achieve this, CDA looked to VL and their cloud-hosted VL OMNI platform to fulfil these highly specialized requirements.
VL was engaged to implement the bi-directional integration between Shopify Plus and Zippo’s ERP system. VL was able to quickly configure their platform VL OMNI to fulfill the complex set of requirements necessary for Zippo to manage and approve customized product orders and seamlessly transport approved orders between systems for fulfillment. In addition, the solution provided comprehensive error reporting that followed internal IT guidelines. This ensured that any errors in data would be highly visible within Zippo, improving issue resolution time.
Fulfillment requirements posed an additional set of challenges that needed to be addressed. Complexities in shipping requirements, including products needing special handling such as lighter fluid and APO military ship-to’s, coupled with a desire for increased flexibility in ship methods and options required a sophisticated solution. To address these needs, CDA looked to ShipperHQ.
Using ShipperHQ’s proprietary rules engine, Zippo is now able to control the options and rates that are provided to each customer based on location data or other constraints regarding the nature of the order. The ShipperHQ solution also gave Zippo the ability to offer shipping-related promotions, including flat-rate shipping, to their customers with ease and a high degree of accuracy and control. Ultimately, the result of the implementation of the ShipperHQ solution was improved customer service. Zippo now provides a superior experience where customers are no longer exposed to shipping details that are incompatible with their location or order contents.
As the implementation designed by CDA has gone live, there have been significant improvements in Zippo’s ability to streamline internal processes and deliver a better and more compelling customer experience. The solution has empowered the organization to self manage the e-commerce business with minimal technical resource involvement. Business rules and logic are now readily controlled at the proper points of ownership. Marketing, Accounting, and Fulfillment all have the ability to tailor and tune their respective business rules and practices. Overall, Zippo now has the flexibility, agility and control they need to focus on connecting with customers and building the business and brand into the future.
Some of the most powerful results achieved since launch include:
50% Increase in conversion rate and revenue
70% Reduction in ecommerce technology infrastructure costs
Organization is focused on building business practices and methods to better connect with customers to build the Zippo brand and business versus being constrained by technology.
Methods, practices and technologies introduced through this project are being adopted and expanded across the organization, leading to streamlined business capabilities and greater results.
We serve in an advisory role to companies large and small, focused in the areas of e-commerce strategy, sales and marketing technology architecture, e-commerce technology strategy, demand generation, product innovation and launch strategy, as well as organizational capability building.
We combine our decades of experience in building enterprise solutions with the innovative capabilities of platforms like Shopify Plus to help companies achieve the e-commerce and digital marketing results they desire. As one of the first Shopify Partners to leverage the Shopify Plus platform, CDA has been at the forefront of building innovative and scalable e-commerce solutions since the advent of viable cloud based solutions.
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With support for Magento 1, Magento 2, BigCommerce, Zoey, Shopify, Woocommerce, and an open API, ShipperHQ brings a competitive advantage to businesses of all sizes.
Shopify Plus’ cloud platform caters to some of the world’s biggest brands, processing billions of dollars in GMV without breaking a sweat and dominating Black Friday, Cyber Monday without a single outage. Shopify Plus’ API integrates directly with all major third-party platforms enabling brands to leverage best in class ecommerce capabilities while integrating seamlessly with existing core enterprise business systems.
The Shopify Plus platform ultimately gives brands the freedom to grow, adapt and evolve with a reduced dependency on critical IT resources while still meeting the needs of the enterprise.
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