Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.
We needed more flexibility in terms of when people could request shipments. coolblueweb built a custom solution using bluCommerce that allowed us to do that.
We were also working with another proprietary e-commerce system built particularly for coffee grocers. We ran into some limitations with it and had to develop some specific functionalities. There were some issues with the work done by a previous contracting firm, so we had coolblueweb make a facelift for the frontend part of it. They gave us a quote on the work but also mentioned that there were some core backend problems with what we'd built. We needed to take a different approach to it in order to match our outlined goals.
We spent six weeks writing scopes and going back-and-forth in order to make sure that we'd get exactly what we wanted. In terms of development time, the work only took one to two months. We then only had to take our existing data, clean it up, and put it into the system. It turned out to be the hardest part of the whole process. coolblueweb helped us through this as well, which was more than what we'd anticipated. They initially only took care of the programming necessary to get the system where we wanted it. There was a lot of support, education, and advice that followed.
How did you come to work with coolblueweb?
We wanted to facelift our previously completed project. We were thus looking for frontend experts. My predecessor shopped around within some agencies in Seattle. He liked coolblueweb the best out of all of those. It turned out that what we wanted and what we had didn't match up. There were elements not available inherently in bluCommerce, like one-page checkout. Because most of our sales are online, we have a club signup process. New members receive a free pound of coffee, which needed to become a simplified, one-page process. It tremendously reduced our bounce rate. coolblueweb provided a lot of guidance in helping us understand what we were asking for and how to get it.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
The development happened in a few stages. The first scope had a cost of around $50,000. We continued on a maintenance plan within the next few months, for our data normalization process. Their rate was around $130 per hour. We then worked on a mail integration which took place in January of 2015. It had a cost of $5,000. The total cost overall was around $75,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We first started looking for a firm in March of 2014. There was a six-week back-and-forth period in order to determine what we were looking for. Coding didn't start until the end of May. The code was completed at the end of August, and the platform was launched in September, 2014. We then addressed some issues concerning data normalization, which took another three months to fix. The difficulty was making the data match our system. coolblueweb did anything imaginable to fix our data problems. The problems we had were with a few hundred members out of thousands. Those few hundreds still needed to be solved.