Engineered A B2B E-Commerce Portal To Give A Pharma Retailer New Age Competitive Edge

Algoworks designed and developed an AngularJS, MongoDB, and Java based B2B e-commerce portal to give an industrial retail agency new age competitive edge.

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About Client

Our client was a big name in providing services to manufacturing businesses related to biochemical industry. They made their reputation in the industry as one of the foremost retailer and wholesale dealer catering to requirements of large biomedical and healthcare pharmaceutical as well as chemical industry segment. Keeping with the trend of going online they decided to take their business online in the form of a niche business-to-business online e-commerce portal. They wanted to leverage the internet to not only expand their business globally but also provide manufacturers a platform to check and compare the latest prices of products by raw material dealers. They approached Algoworks in helping them design, develop, deploy, and maintain that e-commerce portal and make it robust enough to handle large traffic.

How We Did It?

Flexible AngularJS Frontend

Challenge: Create a scalable and flexible framework

In order to sustain in the competitive market of online selling, e-commerce portals had to constantly adapt and evolve. For our e-commerce portal to stand the test of time, we needed to make our portal flexible and scalable enough to facilitate future changes. However the most difficult challenge was to create a modular website design and user interface that is attractive, modern, fast, and user friendly, and can be changed according to need easily.

Solution: A modular approach with AngularJS as front end

Keeping the need for change and moder design in mind, we choose AngularJS as our primary front end design framework. Our front-end was of modern design with intuitive UI, attractive animations, latest design features, and most importantly was optimal for viewing in all devices.The biggest achievement in this step was our modular design. We divided all our components into independent modules that interacted with well thought out API sets. This gave our whole architecture flexibility to adapt. For changing any feature of the e-commerce portal we would just have to update the related modules, and then just reconnect them back to the main system. This allowed us to implement many features very efficiently including full-text-search features, price comparison modules, product cart and price calculation modules etc.

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User Activity WorkFlow

Challenge:how to automate B2B centric user activity workflow

The main aspect of the e-commerce portal was that it was a business-to-business e-commerce portal, i.e. that it provided products intended for use by industries and factories. Unlike a generic e-commerce portal, a B2B portal has different needs, for example some of the products requires the buyer to furnish government issued licenses and certificates to be able to acquire the product. the new e-commerce portal should fully automate the workflow and make the process as user-friendly and efficient as possible.

Solution: Designing and implementing a B2B e-commerce workflow

We designed and implemented complete transaction workflow for the B2B e-commerce portal. The workflow starts with user opening the website. From there they can either login or can directly start searching products. The product information is saved in a separate MongoDB database, and the user information and other data is saved in MySQL database. We used fulltext search as our primary phase 1 search method. The search displayed a list of all products matching the searched term along with all the manufacturer’s that are making these products. The users also had the ability to compare two or more products. Once the user has selected the desired products and added it to cart, they can start the checkout procedures. The checkout procedures were different from the normal B2C e-commerce portals in way that the creation of invoice required submission of required documents, approval of buying request by admin, and entering payment information i the system. Since the transaction exceeded millions of dollars, normal payment gateways were cannot be implemented therefore we implemented a unique way of entering bank transaction details in the system.

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Product Information Management

Challenge: How to upload and update information of thousands of products

One of the USP of e-commerce portal was its large product base. The portal had to maintain millions of products and it’s information, and that information had to stored in a smart way to facilitate search. However the biggest challenge for the client was to actually update and upload product information of these million products in the system.

Solution: Updating product information through excel files in the MongoDB database

Our client received the product information in the form of excel or csv sheets from various sellers on a regular interval. Therefore the most efficient way to update the product information was to create a solution that allowed the admin to upload the excel file and update the data in the e-commerce portal database. We created a custom java based solution to do just that. The product information was stored as documents and collections in a separate MongoDB database. Using MongoDB increased the performance of the portal in fetching and displaying product information when user requests product searches or requests for detailed product descriptions. Our solution was smart enough to automatically update the information of products that were being added for the first time, alert the admin about any change on any value in any existing product, and notify the admin if any product was not present in the latest product list excel. The admin had the ability to chose whether they want to update the new information or keep the old one.

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Robust Admin Section

Challenge: How to simplify and aid the functions of Admin Users

As highlighted in previous points, each order first had to approved by an administrator. Only after the admin approves a proforma invoice, verify the attached documents, and confirms payment, can the proforma invoice be converted to order. The client needed a way to help improve the performance of their administrators for the convenience of the administrators and for expediting the speed of product transaction.

Solution: A user friendly administrator dashboard

We created the administrator dashboard using AngularJS as frontend. The dashboard was neat and simple yet had every feature that a admin would need in arranged in well researched menu positions. Just like a user workflow, the admin also had their own workflow. The admin’s responsibility included uploading latest product information, verifying and approving the proforma invoice, and checking the overall performance of the website in general. The most important task out of these was to check and approve proforma invoice. We provided the admin capabilities to check and verify the order, verify the attached documents and raise re-document-submission requests if required, verify and approve payment and then finally convert the proforma invoice into order.

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User Activity and Reports

Challenge: How to create ad-hoc and standard reports

As said earlier, the e-commerce portal has to adapt based on its performance. But how to track that performance? The client needed a way to track all user action, and create intelligent reports of all activity done on the website.

Solution: A robust system to track user activity and generate reports

We designed our system in such a way that can keep logs of every important user and administrator activity. Every critical user action, every important data commit, and every action on an order, was maintained on carefully planned database tables. The client could decided what they wanted to track and what not. We improved our user levels and created multiple hierarchies of administrators. This allowed us to provide each type of admin user different level of reports. Admins can generate ad-hoc reports through a special tab in their admin dashboard. In addition we created a system that sent regular standard reports to pre-set email ids. The client had the ability to alter report frequency and email ids. We also provided advanced filters to these reports that allowed the admins to gather smart reports out of data.

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Results

Average Monthly Revenue Increased By 60%

Taking business online increased the retail company's revenue by 60%.

Order Processing Rate Increased By 40%

Advanced admin dashboards and features allow agents to process more 40% more orders per month.

1 Million+ Products Uploaded And Updated In A Day

New product upload feature helps admins to upload and update product information of 1 million+ products in a day.

Won Best Website Awards In Business To Business Website Section

The website was praised for its performance and design, and won many awards in best website for business categories.

Testimonials

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