Southern Timber

Ipplepen-based Southern Timber are one of the largest independent timber merchants in the south west.

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Prior to contacting Vu, Southern Timber had been making do with a website which looked decent enough but which required high maintenance and provided a sub-par user experience.

Then, one day, everything changed…
 

Timber!!

Many businesses worry about what might happen if their website should vanish overnight – especially e-commerce sites which rely on a reliable turnover of products. Southern Timber experienced this nightmare scenario when their previous web developers went under and took their precious data with them.

“They let us down badly,” said Dave the general manager but, in truth, the data loss was the worst of a long history of problems.

“The site took a lot longer to put together than we thought and it always felt there were a lot of people being pleasant on the phone but when you got to the bar, only one person pouring drinks,”

“The e-commerce site was integrated with another system and was so slow and clunky, the biggest image you could put on there was 500 x 500. It was dreadful and very limiting.”

Southern Timber spoke to a number of different agencies but nobody inspired them with confidence until they spoke to Vu.

“Dom read the brief, answered the questions and made a few suggestions as well,” recalled Dave, “You were proactive and we also felt you could do the work in-house rather than have to lean on outside help.”

“We liked your quirky site, you were local and every bit of the jigsaw seemed to fit: the price, the timescale and, to be fair, you have delivered.”

“We liked your quirky site, you were local and every bit of the jigsaw seemed to fit: the price, the timescale and, to be fair, you have delivered.”

 

Going With The Grain

Southern Timber were happy with the overall look of their existing website and wanted to carry that through to the new one for a consistent brand experience.

“We had a backup and wanted to replicate our existing site visually and bolt on e-commerce functionality,” explained Dave. “This would look similar to what we had but not be restrictive in the way customers could place orders.”

They also wanted to cut down on wasteful admin by reducing the amount of data entry required and streamlining the process for adding and amending products.

“You weren’t fazed. We feel if we need to take it to the next level you could handle it.”

Data security was clearly a high priority so we quickly put their mind at ease by explaining how we lock down access to our servers and back up all of our clients’ websites on a weekly basis.

What’s more, all of our websites are built on open source software so if the worst did ever happen, some one else could easily pick up the ball.

Removing Dead Wood

Shipping was causing another headache for Southern Timber. The company they would use for each shipment would vary depending on several factors. This meant different rules, regulations and prices for different products – confusing for customers and an administrative nightmare.

With Vu’s help, the shipping system was overhauled. Full delivery info is now displayed clearly at the basket stage of a much smarter e-commerce platform. Customers now know exactly what to expect before they buy.

“With a bit more time on it, we’re going to quite easily double what we’re doing at the moment.”

Green Shoots

Sometimes a blessing can come in disguise. Southern Timber may have struggled on for months or years with an unwieldy website had a data disaster not forced their hand. Now they have a nicely integrated, customer-friendly platform that does justice to their proud reputation in the timber trade.

The success of the project has given Southern Timber reason to feel optimistic about the future.

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