How Thanx Media Optimized NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Ecommerce Store
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) was founded in 1908 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Dedicated to empowering REALTORS® and guiding them through the ever-evolving landscape of real estate, NAR provides education, resources, and advocacy for REALTORS® through a code of ethics, awards, and recognition of outstanding members, as well as connections to grants and other sources of funding. The collective association is home to over 1.4-million members across the United States, embracing REALTORS® from all walks of life and promoting the cooperation of REALTORS® in furthering their clients’ best interests.
Improving e-commerce communication, updates, and management while simplifying the product management system to a single platform.
With several hundred documents, tools, and resources on-site and over one million members, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) is dedicated to empowering REALTORS® to achieve their real estate ambitions and keep them in the loop with the latest real estate news.
The integrated REALTOR® Store offers a variety of documentation, lessons, and tools. These resources are vital to the association’s core functionality and offer a significant amount of value for its members. This made ease of management and overall user experience paramount; the pre-existing solution left much to be desired.
Colleen Doyle, Vice President, RIN and Strategic Initiatives, and Jason Normandin, RAMCO Project Manager worked together with Thanx Media to establish project directives:
The objective was to find a solution that could replace their current system of managing and selling products on the website. The pre-existing store utilized multiple platforms and custom-built solutions that were difficult to manage and update.
They required significant updates and simplification so that the Strategic Initiatives team could readily make changes and manage all store processes, from order and product communication to fulfillment. The team would also need access to manage and make updates to product and member reporting.
Many products involved different price points for physical or digital versions and required the capability to utilize adept marketing and upsell relevant products. Additional pricing adjustments for sales made to Members versus Non-Members required that the store served the correct price to the right individual.
In addition to this new functionality, the new system needed to communicate these orders efficiently and reliably into their fulfillment system on a separate platform, while updating that Member’s account with order tracking and email notifications and confirmation.
While NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® originally approached Thanx Media for recommendations on e-commerce platforms that could solve the problem, the project was bigger than what a regular plug-and-play solution could offer.
The pre-existing platform used a custom-built solution based on Drupal Commerce. To implement a streamlined digital ecosystem for the website, Thanx Media brought enterprise knowledge to handle the complex integrations NAR needed. This included hosting knowledge to host the back-end logic to handle custom integrations with other parts of NAR systems, as well as technical expertise to implement the new functionalities seamlessly to improve customer experience.
“The web designs the Thanx Media team presented to us, far exceeded anything we could have imagined. Their unique and creative designs helped to transform our website into an experience that encouraged our visitors to engage more.
When we engaged with Thanx Media, we expected, and worked with, a team of knowledgeable BigCommerce experts,” Doyle said. “We didn’t expect, but received, innovative strategic input and industry knowledge they provided around the whole e-commerce framework. Their strategic suggestions helped us streamline our processes while offering cost-saving alternatives around expected customizations and integrations.”
With this project, Thanx Media brought their robust, future-oriented solutions and 75 years of collective experience to the table to help NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® create a seamless user experience with the functionality necessary to make quick and easy updates when managing product and member data.
Thanx Media’s professional front-end e-commerce services include:
- SSO Login: This shift enabled customers to log in to the store.realtor website using the NAR SSO system, not BigCommerce. This allowed Member Pricing functionality to work seamlessly, identifying if a user was a member or non-member based on their SSO information.
- Mini Cart: A custom mini cart was implemented so the user could quickly view their cart details when hovering over the header cart icon, rather than navigating to a separate page and away from another product.
- Custom Checkout Flow: A custom checkout flow was implemented to improve user experience and minimize steps wherever possible. An example of this functionality is allowing the user to skip the billing step if the cart included only free items, or skip the shipping step if only digital items are added.
- MVP Program Integration: An MVP promotional system was integrated with BigCommerce to allow users to redeem MVP rewards. Additional functionality of this feature included individual messaging to indicate when rewards were available to the user.
- Email Delivery Integration: To improve email communication between NAR and its members, integrations were implemented between Adestra and BigCommerce. This integration syncs opt-in and opt-out data between the two platforms, and pushes transaction data from BigCommerce to Adestra, allowing the creation of email newsletter segments.
The functionality of the REALTOR® Store is now seamlessly integrated into the website, providing better navigation and user experience for users, and easier updating and management for the Strategic Initiatives team.
The project began as a request for an e-commerce solution to alleviate frustrations in the back end which required a bespoke solution, ultimately allowing the team to implement functionality that both improved user experience, communication, and data management possibilities.
“The Thanx Media team was very attentive to our needs and quick to respond to any questions we had. Their commitment to meeting milestones and staying on target allowed us to launch our new website on time and within budget.”
To provide these solutions for NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, a new and streamlined digital ecosystem had to be implemented to help solve the team’s problems on one primary platform.
Thanx Media drafted a plan to create a seamless transition from the existing Drupal e-commerce experience to the BigCommerce platform. On the back end, this provided the functionality that the Strategic Initiatives team needed to make necessary adjustments to the store, manage reporting and sales analytics, and integrate with existing NAR systems.
On the front-end, the enhanced digital experience allows both non-members and members to quickly find what they are looking for in a mobile-responsive, modern design. Throughout the process, site speed was kept as a priority when adding custom functionality, improving the value to site visitors and loyal customers alike.
While Thanx agreed to provide ongoing support and maintenance, the NAR team can perform daily operations and management of the store internally.
800 Roosevelt Rd.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137