In April, 2010, Bodybuilding.com selected Commerce Architects to implement a custom ATG Commerce site to replace their existing, home-grown commerce site, which had been in operation for over 10 years. The implementation included ATG Commerce Service Center, ATG Merchandising, and ATG Search with faceted catalog navigation. In April 2011, the new Bodybuilding.com store successfully launched with all of these applications. The new site replicated the original commerce site with improved business logic, performance, and scalability. The stable codebase and lack of production issues following launch allowed the teams to immediately jump into building out new features. A few examples include an A/B testing framework, a mobile version of the site, and global catalogs to support 150 different country-specific stores.
Some high-level highlights include:
The purchase process for Bodybuilding.com allows customers to choose from a variety of payment methods and product types. The new site supports the following payment methods: ATG gift certificates, ATG store credit, Paypal, credit card, and mail-in check. Support was built for the purchase of ATG gift certificates, handling of drop ship items (shipped by a third party), user-selected configurable commerce items, merchandiser-selected configurable commerce items, supplement and clothing items which often include two dimensions, such as size and color or size and flavor. Integrations were built to integrate existing ratings and reviews systems into product display and faceted search navigation. A single-sign-on implementation was developed to allow the ATG application to authenticate against a central service, allowing users to log in on any bodybuilding.com property and to be recognized in the store. To simplify the process of re-ordering items, the user can either re-order an entire previous order or individual items from the order history. In addition to these core commerce features, BCC-administrable content was created to support campaign landing pages, help pages, and generic content pages on the site.
In order to enable customers to find products as easily as possible, bodybuilding.com wanted to leverage ATG’s faceted search navigation. This was a highly customized implementation with new catalog properties and custom properties created specifically for indexing, grouping, and faceting. Three separate search types are executed to search SKUs, category, and perform type-ahead prediction. Facet display and behavior were customized to provide faceting using a range slider and complex faceting with product ingredients and their amounts. With ATG Search, Commerce Architects partnered with ATG Professional Services to ensure that the most up-to-date, ATG-recommended architecture and best practices were used.
The ATG Merchandising application and underlying Content Administration server were built as the product and SKU system of record (master). This required an integration with a middle-tier data layer to distribute data updates to financial systems, demand forecasting tools, and other applications that were reliant on catalog data. In addition, due to the nature of the products sold on the site, the standard catalog management workflow required extensions to support FDA approval by an internal team. All ATG assets, including the catalog, images and personalization assets are managed through ATG Merchandising.
In order to help the internal development team gain the knowledge and ATG skills necessary to support and expand the site in the future, the internal team and the Commerce Architects team were integrated half-way through the project. By the end of the project, the internal development team was able to actively and meaningfully contribute to the codebase.
Bodybuilding.com already ranked very high in search engine results for keywords that were central to the business. In order to preserve these high SEO rankings, the new implementation was designed to allow all existing site URLs to stay the same when we launched the new ATG platform. All SEO data including URLs are now managed through ATG’s Merchandising UI, allowing the business to modify and deploy new and updated SEO data at any time.
To allow the customer call center to manage orders, Commerce Architects implemented ATG’s Commerce Service Center. Extensions were made to support the business and allow them to manage customizations made to users and orders on the site. A custom fulfillment implementation was built to integrate with the Warehouse Management System, allowing orders to be passed to the warehouse system and order statuses and inventory information to be returned to ATG.
The site was deployed successfully with no site down time and minimal disruption to the business. ATG’s best practices were followed, including extensive performance testing, to ensure a smooth launch and transition to an entirely new, scalable, and expanded e-commerce platform.