Traditional manufacturer ups its game with a digital overhaul
- GARED Sports Website
- U.S. and international dealers
- Began in 1922
- $18M+ sales
- 2,300+ SKUs
GARED Holdings LLC (GARED) has been manufacturing durable sports equipment for indoor and outdoor play environments for almost 100 years. The company, operating under two distinct brands – GARED Sports and Performance Sports Systems (PSS) – sells through an extensive U.S. and international network of dealers.
GARED Sports concentrates its efforts on delivering innovative products for recreational environments in schools, facilities, municipalities and parks. PSS focuses on providing facility designers in the architectural community with superior athletic equipment focused on safety and quality.
GARED engaged Spry to create a new digital experience to optimally support its customers, dealers and salesforce.
- User experience design
- Multi-site development
- Digital product catalog
- B2B lead generation
Developing a playbook for growth
GARED has a history of manufacturing innovative and quality products. The company’s web presence needed to reflect that legacy as well as position the business for growth.
GARED contracted Spry to transform its web platform to provide the key users – customers, dealers, and sales team – an enhanced online experience that allowed them to easily consume product information and connect with each other. The company wanted site visitors to be able to find, download and share relevant product information through simple and intuitive interactions. To support this initiative, GARED requested that its printed catalog and Microsoft Access database be replaced with a digital catalog for its 2,300+ SKUs.
The company also sought to gain efficiencies by integrating the new product catalog across multiple web properties. While sharing certain features and content, each brand’s website would have a distinct look and messaging to attract its unique target audience.
Digital product catalog fuels a winning user experience
Spry Digital began by conducting user research to understand how GARED’s sites were perceived, how they were being used and what would make them more valuable to their different types of visitors. A combination of interviews and survey responses from GARED’s sales team, product dealers and customers provided insights into user needs and helped identify gaps in the GARED online experience.
Spry’s discovery included an audit of the existing GARED sites and a review of their user-behavior analytics. The high bounce rate – the percentage of visitors leaving a site after viewing only one page – was indicative of the difficulty of the navigation and the lack of clarity about what a user could or should do on the sites.
Armed with these insights, Spry developed the information architecture, content architectures and prototypes that defined how a user would navigate and interact with the site content in a modernized digital experience. The solution entailed two public-facing websites powered by a single shared codebase. The distinct look of each brand’s site conveys its unique identity and aligns with its targeted end-users. Behind the scenes, the web platform was built on a single instance of the Drupal 8 content management system. By implementing a solution with only one codebase to develop, update, and maintain, Spry optimized GARED’s initial and ongoing expenses.
An integral part of the solution was the creation of a digital product catalog that fed both brand sites. GARED’s product information had been stored in an Access database and published in a printed catalog. The processes for updating and retrieving information were inefficient, and the catalog was expensive to produce and distribute. The Spry-developed digital catalog assembled all assets related to a product – specifications, images, warranties, installation instructions – in one easily accessed, dynamic library that encourages exploration and interaction.
Spry also introduced a unique customer experience to the GARED sites that was instrumental in driving user engagement and generating qualified leads: Game Plans. A user saves all the products needed for a given play environment into a Game Plan, by selecting either individual products or modifying a similar project from the examples in the Project Showcase. When a customer shares a Game Plan with other project stakeholders, both the preferred dealer and GARED sales personnel are copied, providing them insights into the customer journey and opportunities for follow-up.
Game Plans have proven to be much more than a lead-generation tool. The sales team uses them to generate quotes. Dealers use them to provide ideas to customers who are not sure what products they need. GARED’s Customer Care department uses them to confirm orders and shipments. Spry is helping GARED to identify even more applications for this innovative tool.
To encourage return site visits and provide an enhanced user experience, Spry implemented a customer login feature. Customers can access their account dashboards, from which they can manage their saved and shared Game Plans, connect with preferred dealers, view favorite products and resources, and update contact information.
For dealers, account creation provides access to a dealer portal that facilitates their interactions with their B2B customers and GARED sales personnel. The portal allows dealers to download important resources to use in responding to customer inquiries, create Game Plans as part of quote requests, and access images and documents to use as content on their own websites.
“When starting our journey of updating our digital presence, Spry presented a forward-thinking solution to grow our business. Their unique solution was a smart investment for GARED. It has already created a measurable ROI for our digital platform and resulted in a more streamlined workflow for our team members and customers. ”
- Laura St. George, VP of Sales and Marketing
Leads up. Connections made. Cost-savings realized.
The digital experience Spry developed and implemented for GARED created multiple wins. The bounce rate fell from 67% to 28%, and in the first year, customers created 576 Game Plans, ranging in value from $300 for a single basketball hoop to $100,000 for a play environment update. These qualified leads – a quadruple increase from the previous year – represented more than $3 million dollars in potential sales.
The vastly improved ability to maintain, update and access the product information in the digital catalog led to a reduction in workload, errors and response time for the manufacturer. Additionally, GARED was able to eliminate its hard-copy catalog, saving an estimated $240,000 in printing and distribution expenses.
An unanticipated benefit of the new web platform was the expansion of GARED’s dealer sales channel. Since the launch of the revamped GARED Sports and PSS sites, more than 200 new dealers have requested to join the GARED network.
Spry continues to support GARED as an active client, identifying enhancements that can drive further business results and leverage GARED’s investment in its digital upgrade.
Game Plans = 4x increase in qualified leads
Value of qualified leads
New dealers added to network
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