How a 3D Design Tool Increased Sales & Grew a New Customer Base.

Client: Organized Living
Industry: Retail, Home Improvement
Size: 1,000 employees

Summary


Organized Living is the leading manufacturer of custom home storage & organization products. After moving from retail distribution to a dealer and direct model, they needed to offer a more effective, engaging way for consumers and dealers to visualize and understand their home organization solutions. So, they partnered with Differential to create a 3D Design Tool, an online tool which makes it easy for Organized Living customers to create a custom, virtual closet online, and buy all items in their design with a simple click.

Background

Organizing a cluttered closet is on most people’s “Top 10 Least Favorite Things” list. That’s why Organized Living exists; they’ve been in the business of making your Saturday chore a little less painful for over 95 years, serving as the leading manufacturer of custom home storage & organization products.

The Opportunity

After moving from retail distribution to a dealer and direct model, Organized Living needed to offer a more effective, engaging way for consumers, dealers, and home builders to visualize and understand their home organization solutions. Prior to working with us, they managed orders primarily in two ways: 1) a dated 2D web app that couldn’t be updated with new products, and 2) by manually uploading spreadsheets from dealers.

Our approach was to replace the previous 2D closet design that was built in jQuery with a new 3D interactive app and integrate it with Organized Living’s back-end ERP system so that customers could design with and visualize products that were in Organized Living’s actual inventory. This solution would allow customers to specify their closet dimensions and layout, play around with color schemes and different storage products, and then purchase and order their entire custom closet with a simple click.

Jennifer Castenson—VP of Marketing, Organized Living “Differential is a forward thinking team that helped us bring our vision to life with their technical and creative expertise. By partnering with them, we were able to create a revolutionary, 3D design tool that is versatile enough to support experienced designers, yet simple enough for consumers tackling closet design for the first time. We couldn’t be happier with the results!”
–Jennifer Castenson—VP of Marketing, Organized Living

The Work

We replaced the tool with a fully-3D, in-browser experience. Organized Living created actual 3D models of every product in their offering, along with beautiful, photographic textures. Building the Designer in this fashion allowed for coding in real-life physical requirements, that is, a WYSIWYG for the real world.

Due to the heavy front-end requirements of the project, we used Meteor, a JavaScript framework, which made interacting with the browser easy. On the server, Organized Living required JSON integrations with their existing systems, so using a native Javascript database in MongoDB was a no-brainer. Organized Living’s proprietary desktop software was already offering help for dealers to design solutions for their customers, so we had to ensure the new Design Tool could tie in seamlessly.

Differential also helped Organized Living re-envision their data storage. The Designer is integrated with their current back-end ERP systems. New products, as well as updates like pricing, automatically appear in the Designer. Like many companies, Organized Living had an inventory of SKUs for every bracket, shelf, and screw they sold. We created a layer on top of that, grouped by common assemblies of product. For example, we grouped a shelf, a hanging rod, and two brackets together and gave it a name. Then, we put that in the database, and that’s what appears in the Designer. This change allows users to build closets more easily, with fewer items to place, and helps increase order sizes.

One of the most challenging aspects in building this tool was coding for some complex closet assembly rules. Based on the dimensions of the customer’s closet, certain storage products would be unavailable. For example, the closet Designer enforces rules like, no placing products beneath a rod where you might hang clothes, no placing a storage drawer in the corner where you might not be able to open the drawer, or no pairing black socks with brown shoes (just kidding about that last one). We ultimately covered these types of scenarios through a suite of automated tests. (Reach out if want to hear more details around this, we love talking about these things!)

The Results


In addition to increasing consumer sales, the new Designer has also helped develop a new customer base: home builders. Organized Living is becoming a vendor of choice among custom home builders, as the tool helps them provide more options and create specs for closets faster and without error.

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