American Golf, a UK-based company, had been a leader in retail golf equipment sales for nearly a half century. In addition to the brick-and-mortar efforts, their online retail strategy had grown over the years, but they were running into some serious roadblocks. They approached Net Solutions when they realized they needed to take their eCommerce website to the next level but were limited by their existing infrastructure.

In order to keep up with the growing demand for online sales, American Golf turned to Net Solutions to build a completely new website from the ground up. The new website would be powered by a heavily customized, feature-rich Content Management System (CMS). The new CMS integrated with a number of third-party providers to drastically improve communication between American Golf’s Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) software and their Client Relation Management (CRM) system.

The result? A multi-channel eCommerce strategy that boosted sales and maximized ROI for both the online store as well as their brick-and-mortar shops.

Here’s how American Golf’s work with Net Solutions made it all possible.

Rethinking the Legacy System

Rethinking the Legacy System

In the early stages of eCommerce, the challenges were relatively simple. Companies looking to sell online needed things like a secure payment system, a fulfillment plan, and a few other things.

As eCommerce grew, however, customers began to expect more—and legacy systems struggled to compete. This was particularly true for American Golf, where simply adding new features to an unwieldy legacy platform proved cumbersome and ultimately counter productive.

Management envisioned a new website with capabilities like centrally managed store-level events and discount systems, and the legacy system simply couldn’t accommodate these features. They also hoped to offer customers a more personalized experience, improve their own operational efficiencies, and create better reporting to aid both their online and brick-and-mortar strategies.

A Brave, New Platform

A Brave, New Platform

Based on Net Solutions’ proven track record for building powerful eCommerce platforms, the management team at American Golf put their trust in a team thousands of miles away. Despite the distance, the two companies partnered to create a state-of-the-art, eCommerce-powered website with the following features.

A Bespoke CMS: Net Solutions built an entirely new, custom CMS from scratch. It gave specific teams at American Golf granular control over content, using a role-based permission system that was implemented through the CMS. This not only increased the speed at which users could handle web data—it effectively managed (and limited) the risk of unintended changes by unauthorized users. Finally, the CMS allowed admins to override content and data imported from third-party integrations.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV/Navision Integration: American Golf uses Navision (Microsoft Dynamics NAV) for their ERP. Net Solutions created a custom CMS that they integrated with the ERP to synchronize product information as well as inventory levels in real-time. This enabled multiple features and innovations, including the Collect@Store feature—which allows shoppers to order products online and pick them up at a local store. Without real-time inventory tracking, this wouldn’t be possible.

Mercado (Now Adobe Search & Promote) Integration: The new platform integrated Mercado to promote relevant products based on user behavior. This worked by integrating it with product and inventory information so that it could identify products that were related to a user's browsing pattern and most likely relevant to their intent behind browsing the store. For example, if someone were browsing for driver golf clubs, it would show them similar products.

Store Locator: The new system integrated AFD and Google Maps so users could locate the nearest brick-and-mortar store.

Discount Manager: Net Solutions implemented a new feature allowing American Golf staff to manage discounts. The engine allowed them to create discounting rules, applying discounts to specific users, products, situations, etc. The new feature gave staff greater flexibility to promote specific products to shoppers who were likely to buy them.

Demo Days Manager: Local American Golf stores often feature Demo Days—events where professional golfers would demonstrate the use of featured products. Net Solutions created a centralized system to manage Demo Days across locations. It also managed user registration for these events.

Online Club: American Golf has long offered its brick-and-mortar customers access to their AG Club—granting their loyal customers access to special promotions. To encourage users from their brick-and-mortar stores to visit the website, they extended the offline clubs to the website. This allowed American Golf to track long-term behaviour and customer loyalty. Plus, it allowed them to make contextual, highly-targeted offers to shoppers.

Coming Soon Manager: A management module was created where American Golf staff could announce upcoming products, creating buzz prior to a product launch. Users could register to be notified when a new product becomes available.

Trade-in Feature: Net Solutions implemented a rule-based function allowing users to identify the fair market value for used products they were considering trading in for new purchases. This became a popular feature for users who wanted to upgrade.

Ball Personalization Feature: American Golf allowed users to order personalized golf balls—custom printed before delivery.

Fulfillment Manager: Fulfillment Manager: After integrating the online commerce platform with the ERP, the next step was to create a fulfillment manager that assigned all orders to a fulfillment center once a user pressed the “order” button. Custom workflows allowed the creation of various assignment rules along with instructions to fulfillment center staff.

Multi-currency Support: Since American Golf had recently begun opening stores in Ireland, where customers preferred to pay in Euros, they enhanced the web platform to support multiple-currencies (as opposed to just British Pounds).

Secure Checkout with DataCash (Now MasterCard Payment Gateway Service): DataCash provided a reliable, hosted method for users to pay online using a preferred credit or debit card, increasing their confidence in the platform. Additionally, it flagged potentially fraudulent payments for manual processing, protecting American Golf from potential losses..

Amazon Integration: American Golf lists and sells products through Amazon. A robust integration with Navision (Microsoft Dynamics NAV) allowed for real-time updates to inventory levels based on Amazon sales.

Analytics & Custom Dashboards: The new web platform integrated Omniture and Google Analytics, allowing management to gather deep insights into user behavior. A custom dashboard allowed them to keep track of key metrics in normal operations. On top of that, the new system configured specific reports that were accessible in-app and could be sent via email.

Additional Integrations: Net Solution integrated a number of additional services and platforms into the website, such as Adfero (for news) and Bazaarvoice (for reviews and ratings). These integrations enhanced the functionality of the platform, increasing customer satisfaction and engagement.

Measuring Success

Measuring Success

The new platform was well-received by customers, and American Golf saw the following results from their efforts.

The chief takeaway from Net Solutions’ work with American Golf is that established retailers can, in fact, integrate their brick-and-mortar sales efforts with their eCommerce strategy, excelling at both while compromising neither.

They just need an open mind, the right strategy, and a solid tech partner to help them get there.

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