Delta Education

Delta Education is a leading publisher of elementary school science curriculum in the United States. They sell hands-on science kits, readers, and other learning materials to K-8 educational institutions. Over the past 3 years, education has shifted toward more inquiry-based science – helping children learn scientific methods through investigation – and Delta Education has nurtured this process by providing materials that can be custom built for each school system’s unique objectives. Today, Delta Education’s Full Option Science System (FOSS) program is a cornerstone for their core curriculum offering.

FOSS is a leading inquiry-based program, available with a wide variety of supplemental programs and instructional materials serving educators and increasing student engagement with science.

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Whatever it Takes

Goals

The previous version of the Delta Education website was a relatively large, legacy e-commerce site for the Delta and Foss product lines built without the use of a CMS by a single programmer from 2004-2006. The goal of the update was to create a website that could act as a critical piece of a larger, integrated program – coordinating catalogs, sales, and online efforts for Delta Education. It needed to be a fully responsive, fresh design with both CMS and E-commerce all on one platform, capable of integrating with several other internal systems.

The specific project goals included:

  • Sales and marketing integration. Established triggers for phone and email follow-ups.
  • Complete curriculum product line support. Product family organization and set grouping, as well as downloadable content, subscriptions, and event registration.
  • Content management. Direct, independent management of content by marketing and merchandising teams.
  • Single site for content and product details. Curriculum solutions including a robust set of supporting materials like research papers, samples, state correlations, news, and other rich media. This data needed to be directly associated with one or more product sets and able to be managed directly by the support teams.
  • Custom e-commerce functionality. With various third-party integrations.
  • Better web visibility. Established through SEO best practices.

Challenges

One of the most substantial challenges of the project came from the complexity of Delta’s product catalog and e-commerce requirements. The catalog had been represented incorrectly in the previous version of their website, which sometimes made for a clunky and potentially frustrating user experience. For instance, a product set alone is complex because of the multiple types of SKUs available for purchase, which are in turn then grouped or purchased in a variety of combinations based on the customer’s specific needs.

Delta desired a standard shopping cart that could process not only “normal” straightforward product purchases, but also provide the flexibility to handle a more “mixed bag” and allow for certain products to be ordered in bulk. They also wanted to provide an easy way for customers to re-order specific SKUs if needed. These capabilities required a custom checkout process that provided an individualized set of checkout steps, integration with Avalara for tax estimation services, custom shipping cost calculation business rules, and a custom payment gateway provider (Stripe).

Delta wanted a very mobile-friendly, responsive design that would allow for normal CMS, e-commerce, blogs, event registration, and featured sections of the site – merged with the marketing portion of their website to have one solution for managing marketing content and product detail pages. Plus, while each of these elements needed to be included with the current rollout, the development team also had to build with the future in mind – including a later phase that will integrate with Delta’s ERP system.

Solution

BizStream implemented the project using Kentico 8.2 in order to provide Delta Education with the robust, all-in one platform they desired to support both CMS capabilities and E-commerce. From the homepage to the back end, BizStream updated the look and feel to be crisp, clean, and easy to navigate, and created custom Kentico API scripts to import product data from Excel spreadsheets and migrate existing data from the legacy platform. Integration with all external system touch points was developed to create a seamless user experience, no matter which combination of items they placed in their shopping cart, or from their purchasing location.

“BizStream has been a pleasure to work with throughout our project. From the start of their involvement, it was clear that BizStream were not only technically competent, but conscientious about “getting it right” and ensuring that we had a successful launch. Because BizStream was so careful about ascertaining our business needs at the start of the project and throughout the development process, this made the launch much smoother than it otherwise would have been with a less-attentive partner.”
Justin Harris - Web Manager, School Specialty - Delta Education