MedSpares is a medical equipment supply company based in Vancouver, BC. They sell and deliver high-quality medical diagnostic parts. As a start-up with an offline business model, Medspares didn’t have a website, and they were accumulating products faster than they could sell them. They looked to Acro Media to develop a robust, secure, and efficient eCommerce solution to meet demand and scale the business to handle an increasing amount of transactions while decreasing fulfillment time.
"The biggest challenge of the build, and also one of the greatest successes, was the development of a custom product import which we called Commerce XLS Importer."
Through a discovery conversation, it became clear that one of the core functions of the site would be to give users the ability to search for products using a part number. This search functionality is integral as parts are unique to the machine for which they are built. The only way to identify and find each part is via its product number. This would also enable customers to quickly place their order for immediate dispatch.
The combination of Drupal Commerce and Apache SOLR, a powerful filtering module, was the key to success for this project. SOLR works with Drupal’s Search API module to give the client the ability to create views (filters) in which they can refine the focus of searches made from the back end of the site. This provides unparalleled flexibility. Drupal's out-of-the-box search is great for searching keywords in basic content nodes. However, MedSpares needed a search capable of narrowing down Commerce product specific search results to specific datatypes, such as product title, SKU, model number, etc. The Search API, combined with Apache Solr, allowed us to configure exactly what data is searchable and assign priority to this data, resulting in a more relevant match and better user experience.
The biggest challenge of the build, and also one of the greatest successes, was the development of a custom product import which we called Commerce XLS Importer. This allows Medspares’ technicians to update a spreadsheet with product parts as complete machines are decommissioned and disassembled. The spreadsheet then updates the website inventory with images and descriptions. This allows for simple updates of products with multiple variations.
Determining the specifications of the importer was a lengthy process, but Acro Media was able to establish the functionality and logic required for the project, and then train the client in the use of the new system. This training was primarily focused around the data entry method of the Commerce XLS importer, helping ensure that spreadsheets would be correctly updated so that they are compatible with the Importer’s functionality.
Since the launch of the new site, Medspares’ sales have significantly increased, and their business is continuing to grow. As a result of the project’s success, Medspares was able to establish partnerships in the UK, which is helping them to further develop and grow within their competitive industry.