Solid Foundation for a Stellar Future
Gerber Plumbing is a nearly 90-year old plumbing products company whose reputation for manufacturing some of the highest performing, most reliable plumbing products on the market has earned it considerable clout and weight within the plumbing trade.
Following its acquisition of the decorative, consumer-focused product line of Danze Plumbing Fixtures, Gerber became positioned for a new growth trajectory.
For a stint, the company continued to manage the two brands under separate websites, and then reached out to Solid Digital for the design and development of a new, consolidated site. The new site needed to define and fuel the next era of growth for Gerber, as the company pursued a leap forward into the decorative, consumer-facing market while solidifying its commitment to wholesale distributors and the trade.
The redesigned website needed to develop new branding that incorporated both Gerber and Danze, while enabling all audience types to easily navigate the site and find the information that they needed.
Solid Digital had designed Gerber’s previous site. The utilitarian visuals and navigation had adequately served contractors and members of the plumbing trade, but when viewed from the perspective of incorporating a consumer-facing product line, the user experience came to be viewed as stark and uninviting.
The new site needed to align with Gerber’s vision of becoming a well-recognized, family-friendly consumer brand, and a dependable resource among do-it-yourselfers. At the same time, the site needed to build upon the strength of the equity and trust that it had built with commercial clients, and convey Gerber’s continued commitment to serving their needs.
Intermingling of Markets
Rebranding the site for a consumer-facing audience, while achieving just the right mix in terms of visuals, messaging, and navigation, was a balancing act that was achieved collaboratively within a framework of an excellent working relationship between Solid Digital and the team at Gerber. The new branding direction proved to be fresh, full of life, and elegant, while still conveying that Gerber was committed to serving as a trusted resource for the contractors and plumbing professionals who had come to count on an efficient experience with the site.
The color palette and branding elements that Solid Digital developed, were adopted companywide and incorporated into printed materials and other marketing collateral.
SEO was another essential factor in the merging of the two sites. Solid Digital’s SEO team was careful to ensure that the previous sites’ were able to maintain their Google rankings by adeptly aligning the new site with the existing URLs.
Making It Work
Photographic images that depicted the products at the center of family life brought a level of fun and flair to the site.
From a technical standpoint, managing to correctly merge all of the data from both sites was a considerable undertaking, and in the process, Solid Digital was able to solve a challenge on the product schema facilitating the updating or revisions to product information, while still maintaining search functionality.
Every product required very specific sets of data, and an additional level of complexity resulted from nuances surrounding the thousands of products on the site. Some are available only in Canada, some are discontinued but still need to appear on the site, some are available while supplies last, and some are coming soon. An essential factor for ensuring continuity of the user experience for professional clients was the ability to search for a product via the SKU (stock keeping unit) number.
Additionally, different purchase options needed to be presented to homeowner/consumer clients and professional/commercial clients. The site managed to seamlessly present both client types a complete overview of local purchase options, filtered by zip code.
Plans are currently in place to enable clients to purchase products directly from the website, and that will be achieved via WooCommerce, which is an Open Source e-commerce plug-in for WordPress.
The convergence of a myriad of factors is required for the successful outcome of a project of this size and scope.
From the perspective of both web designers and developers, as well as content editors at Gerber, the WordPress Elementor plug-in represented a game-changing new level of efficiency and possibilities.
A next-generation page builder, Elementor enables designers to do work that front-end developers typically do, providing a visual representation of html code and styling without coding or technical expertise. Rather than having to toggle back and forth between a site administrator page to an actual view or preview of a page, Elementor saves time and removes guesswork by enabling both content editors and web designers to view layouts and while they are designing them.
Elementor’s highly intuitive UI feature enabled the clients to ultimately take over the site. Content editors can now make changes, as needed, with a flexible and easy-to-manage drag-and-drop functionality.
Finally, there is no substitute for the excellent working relationship that was led by an informed, engaged client and a collaborative energy that drove productivity throughout every phase of the process.