Silk Software Designs Ultra-Fast Website and PWA-Based Mobile Site for Kole Imports

Established in 1985, Kole Imports is one of the nation’s largest direct importers of general merchandise, selling wholesale variety goods and closeouts. While most of Kole Imports’ customers are owners of discount stores, the company also sells directly to consumers who are hosting a large party or social event and need to buy items in bulk. Although Kole Imports is largely a B2B business, the company wanted to avoid the complexity of custom pricing or terms for each store, preferring in its place a discounting scheme based on quantity of items offered.

Prior to working with Silk Software, the Kole Imports website was more or less a catalog that allowed customers to see the items available for sale. To place their orders, customers called their Kole Imports sales reps who then placed those orders on the customers’ behalf. Five years ago, Kole Imports approached Silk Software to build a true ecommerce site for them on Magento Commerce 1, and for help in developing a robust ecommerce revenue stream.

With the end of life of Magento 1 approaching, Kole Imports asked Silk Software to migrate its site on Magento 1 to a new ecommerce platform, and to integrate its ERP system. Mobile friendliness was a key concern for Kole Imports as more and more store owners and consumers came to rely on their mobile devices to search for items and place orders. Mobile sites can be notoriously slow, particularly graphic heavy ones like Kole Imports, and the company wanted to ensure maximum convenience for its mobile customers.

ENHANCED PWA FRAMEWORK

Keen to build a PWA mobile site, Silk enhanced the Magento PWA framework and created a custom API to support it.

MOBILE-FRIENDLY WEBSITE

The Silk team designed a truly mobile friendly website that allows users to search, view, and order items as easily as they can using a desktop computer.

ULTRA-FAST SPEED

Both the website and the mobile website load in less than a second and the individual pages load just as quickly.

FROM THE BEGINNING, SILK SOFTWARE HAS SERVED AS AN ECOMMERCE ADVISOR TO KOLE IMPORTS, HELPING THE ECOMMERCE TEAM TEST AND MEASURE THE IMPACT OF SALES TACTICS AND SITE ENHANCEMENTS. THE RESULT IS A STRONG ONLINE REVENUE STREAM.

OUR SOLUTION

Silk Software designed a site that can be best described as B2B2C. The site looks and functions very much like a B2C site but with some customizations that are specific to its B2B users. For instance, all products may be ordered “by piece” or “by case.” Discounts are awarded based on volume. Additionally, store owners are offered flexibility when they arrive on the shipping page, opting to ship via a local trucking company if available, or even provide their own UPS or FedEx account information if their rates are cheaper.

To help the company drive revenue, Silk Software became Kole Imports’ partner in experimentation. Each year, the Silk team would test four or five new Magento plugins on the Kole Imports homepage, such as Limited Time Offers or New Arrivals. If a plugin delivered a sizeable lift in revenue, Silk would end the test and implement the plugin fully.

When it was time to migrate from Magento 1, the Silk Software team helped Kole Imports evaluate multiple ecommerce platforms. Ultimately, Kole Imports opted to go with Magento 2 and asked Silk Software to do the full migration, as well as integrate its new site with its NetSuite ERP system via Cilego CloudExtend. The migration presented the Silk team with some significant data flow challenges, for instance, when a new product or image is entered into NetSuite, Silk needed to ensure it flowed into the Magento platform correctly.

The Silk team designed a truly mobile-friendly website for Kole Imports. All images and content adjust automatically to the device size. Users can click on images for a larger view, and the site navigation features big buttons and icons to eliminate the frustration of accidental clicks elsewhere.

Silk built the mobile site using Magento’s progressive web application (PWA) framework in order to promote user engagement, faster load times and operational efficiencies. At the time, Magento’s PWA framework was still a work in progress, so the team leveraged GraphQL to create a custom API to fully support it.

Custom UX

Kole Imports’ site is highly visual and special care was taken to ensure ultra-fast speed and product page load times. Today, the website loads on a desktop and mobile device in less than a second, as do all page loads.

By working hand in hand with the Silk Software team through the years, Kole Imports has been able to grow its online sales revenue year over year, sometimes as much as 100%.

KOLE IMPORTS’ MOBILE FRIENDLY WEBSITE, BUILT USING A PWA FRAMEWORK, IS MUCH FASTER THAN A TRADITIONAL MAGENTO WEBSITE, AND PROVIDES AN UNPARALLELED USER EXPERIENCE.

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