Banner Solutions sought a new e-commerce platform that could overcome limitations, support individual channels and deliver an engaging user experience. After evaluating options like Adobe Experience Manager and Drupal, Banner Solutions chose Brightspot for its flexibility and seamless integration capabilities.
Banner Solutions by the numbers
Banner Solutions, a trusted fixture in specialty hardware distribution, joined forces with Brightspot in 2022 to transform its content-to-commerce approach.
The result? Seamless migration bolstered by a 59% increase in site sessions, double-digit growth in online sales and a 24% uptick in revenue.
With ambitious plans for digital growth, Banner Solutions needed to transform from the limitations of a homegrown e-commerce solution. As part of this vision, Banner Solutions looked to Brightspot to deliver the content layer that could integrate seamlessly with the company’s newly developed e-commerce stack.
In business since 1987, Banner Solutions is a specialty hardware distributor that focuses on commercial and residential door hardware, electronic access controls and automotive key supplies. It sells products from more than 250 manufacturers through its online store and network of physical stores across the U.S.
During its 2022 migration onto Brightspot, the company didn’t miss a beat. Indeed, the migration went off without a hitch and online revenue has subsequently increased 24% year-over-year.
“Replatforming always has its bumps and bruises,” mentions Ben Smith, Chief Digital Officer at Banner Solutions. “But in comparing Q1 of last year to Q1 of 2023, you wouldn’t have imagined that we’d replatformed.”
“The growth rate and adoption rate has continued to go in the right direction without any significant setbacks,” he continues. “That, to me, speaks to the efficiency of the commerce layer combined with the content layer and content delivery through Brightspot.”
Unleashing e-commerce potential with a fully integrated platform
Banner Solutions had initially developed its digital approach to meet its most immediate e-commerce needs, but it lacked support for individual channels and fell short in delivering a sophisticated user experience. As online sales grew, it became clear that the platform couldn’t support the company’s long-term e-commerce goals.
The company needed an e-commerce platform that could integrate with a content management system (CMS), create a more seamless buying experience and allow the business to merchandise different products and other tailored content offerings by channel and user interests.
On the publishing side, there was no allocation on the legacy platform for SEO optimization and no standard workflows through which content could be drafted, edited, approved and then published to the website.
“The old system did what it needed to do for the business at the time,” explains Smith. “But as we continue to scale—and this was a big part of our decision-making—the new system lays the groundwork for our continued evolution into a more robust content publishing platform than we had before.”
With a business built on three primary customer channels—locksmiths, building-material suppliers and contract hardware distributors, along with a number of secondary customer channels—Banner Solutions took a careful, data-driven approach to understand the customer journey and their goals.
The feedback highlighted different priorities and needs in each channel, creating the opportunity to offer specific functionality for each and the chance to personalize the journey and merchandise different products for the respective channels.
Banner Solutions chose TCS Interactive's Nieocom as its e-commerce layer. At the same time, it was thinking about the content layer and which CMS would deliver the flexibility and functionality it wanted.
“What quickly became clear was the flexibility Brightspot offered in terms of integrating into our e-commerce layer,” Smith says.
Discussing the importance of the content layer to the company’s overall platform solution, he adds: “As part of our overall marketing strategy, we’re dedicated to publishing articles on a monthly basis that really dive into specific areas of customer interest.
“This generates SEO benefits, but it’s also about inbound marketing. We have a very robust product catalog and we like that we can back it up with articles that give us domain authority and demonstrate our subject-matter expertise within the context of the broader industry.”
Making the move—without losing any altitude
Every digital transformation has its own unique drivers. For Banner Solutions, the overarching priority was to create a scalable framework for future expansion without impeding its number-one goal: continued growth in online sales.
The foundational flexibility of Brightspot facilitated a headless implementation with the site’s new e-commerce layer. Paired together, the platform relaunch was delivered without losing any of the momentum Banner Solutions had earned in the months leading up to the migration.
“The first quarter of 2022 was wholly on the old CMS and website,” he says. “Q1 of this year was fully on the new CMS and e-commerce layer. For me, the story is that we took a site that was growing at a tremendous clip, replatformed in a major way and did not disrupt that growth.”
The results tell the story.
Revenue has increased 24% along with 11% growth in online orders. This has included a notable increase in the number of lines with each customer’s order. What does this mean for the e-commerce seller? It’s easier for users to find, select and purchase more complex orders through a faster, more personalized and more intuitive user interface.
Paving the way for future growth
The smooth integration between Banner Solutions’ e-commerce layer and Brightspot CMS lays the foundations for future integrations. Banner Solutions has already acquired a number of businesses and further deals are in the pipeline.
In the past, incorporating features of an acquisition’s technology into the existing IT estate was difficult. This is no longer the case. Or as Smith puts it: “We’re creating a world-class system ready for integration.”
Smith says Brightspot’s functionality has already enabled Banner Solutions to start personalizing the content delivered to customers in different channels and that this is an area of focus over the coming months. “We’re excited about what Brightspot can do to really help us drive that to the next level,” he says.
This will include delivering more of the resources that customers need to make informed buying decisions. New materials will feature written and video guides about different products, as well as training and education pieces aimed at helping customers like its locksmith cohort develop their skills.
“The plan is to continue leveraging our platform holistically and to drive education and training content out to our customers,” says Smith.
He notes that this richer spread of tailored content will help Banner Solutions add value to the market and underscore its commitment to its customers.
Today, as the sales ring up following a remarkably smooth and successful platform migration, Banner Solutions’ sights are now firmly fixed on the horizon—and the potential that lies ahead.