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“They bring full attention and fully attempt to resolve every issue that we’ve ever brought to them."
Nov 3, 2014
Owner, Retail Manufacturer
PulsarFour upgraded a website to accommodate an evolving business model. The project involved consulting, design & development, and support & marketing services, the latter of which is still ongoing.
After the website’s launch, the team has remained on standby to lend support, a task for which they have been amply recognized. The improved website and marketing strategy have helped to double user traffic, with additional users browsing every week.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this
client over the phone. Below is an edited
Please describe your company.
The company is called Thomas Bates. It’s a branded apparel accessory company that manufactures belts, bags, and wallets in the United States and Asia. We have been at this for more than 25 years, and we’ve had a website that has been functional since roughly the first days of the Internet, I believe it’s 1992.
What is your role and responsibilities?
I am the president and founder of the company.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What was your goal for working with PulsarFour?
We had three or four iterations of our website through the years, basically moving from a strictly wholesale support site to a pretty much strictly retail site. It was the last iteration that PulsarFour completed for us in 2014, where we made the leap to a retail format and built a whole new site.
Please describe the scope of their work.
Basically, our retail business through our work with Amazon and other retail portals, has evolved during the last three years, to the point where we decided that we needed to develop a new website last year. The work began with a collaboration with PulsarFour. We collaborated to understand how broad of a change we would do, whether we build an entirely new site, or graft pieces on to our existing site.
P4 helped us reinvent the website all the way from inception to design. Since we are more of a manufacturing product based company, P4 was able to provide an extensive list of things that needed to be done, how to best get those done, and then those things were all woven into an initial contract to build the site. The process officially started in January, the website went live the first of June.
What was your process for selecting PulsarFour with which to work?
P4 offered us access to the development staff that was not provided to us by our other provider. We felt more distant from the actual design community of the site. With P4, because they have their own people on staff, it just made us feel more comfortable with P4 developing our site. Honestly, their proposal was far larger than what our other provider offered in terms of a complete remake. We still wanted to make the investment with someone we felt we could partner with, every day, every hour, and every moment as we got the website up and running.
Initially, we also had our former Web provider and host as another bidder on this contract. It was our decision at the end that we had to get both feet in and make the complete change to the new site, which we have done.
Is the partnership ongoing?
Yes. After the release of the website, we have elected to work with them on implementing a marketing plan. In addition to the marketing plan, they are helping us with site support, continuing to refine the site, making corrections, and helping us to expand the search options we offer. We are expanding the options that are specific to us, such as actually allowing the customer to construct a product. We call it the Configurator, and it’s a pretty unusual functionality. It’s working very well for meeting our customers’ needs. We are still in contact with PulsarFour every day making improvements.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they’ve done for you?
It’s been a combined effort that’s probably equal to about 10,000 hours.
Do you have any statistics or metrics to track improvement from the project?
They provide an intensely dedicated support and level of interest in their customers. We’ve been satisfied with that, and we are still working to gain the full benefits of the new site. Website traffic has now doubled, which is good, and we see traffic growing very rapidly every week as a part of our marketing results. We hope to see favorable results during the holiday season. Nearly 40 percent of our volume, or more, comes from the holiday season, and we’re just at the beginning of that. We’re hopeful to see a really positive result at the end of this holiday season because of the new site.
Is there anything unique about PulsarFour that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?
PulsarFour has an intense focus upon achieving what the customer wants, but also keeps a focus on what the client needs. I have been satisfied with P4’s intensity, level of support, and development work for us in bringing the site to fruition.
There’s an intensity that comes from working with them. They bring full attention and fully attempt to resolve every issue that we’ve ever brought to them. So, yes, I’m satisfied with the work they have done. There’s a lot more work that we need to do, and we know we need to do, but we feel we’re going to continue working with them, and try to achieve our goals of building a really world-class website. We know we have all the bones for it, and it looks great, and we’re getting tremendous positive feedback on the site. Now, we just have to turn it into a fully successful commercial site on the retail side.
Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or something that you might do differently?
There’s the obvious issue of culture that comes up when you’re sitting outside of Boston, as I am, and working with a company like P4, who’s based both in the U.S. and has a strong workforce in Ukraine. We didn’t elect to bring on staff internally that were fully Web knowledgeable, because of this, we’ve relied more upon P4 to provide all those services. I think what I would suggest to other potential buyers, is to hire in-house staff that have Web development experience to help direct a process like this. I think we could have cut a bunch of corners and time had we anticipated some of the things that were coming up in terms of development.
Certainly, P4 has the capability, and has the staff available, but they look to us to give them the direction on what to do and when to do it. The evolution of a site goes from building it, and then the real work starts. That’s not necessarily the way we were looking at it. I don’t criticize them at all for not being more forthcoming with a marketing plan.