Distribution Relationships Built on Trust
Founded in 1988 by Lawrence Newton, U.S. Lumber is the largest privately held distributor of specialty building materials serving much of North America.
In the more than 30 years since their founder began their brand’s journey, U.S. Lumber has grown by opening new markets organically, and, in recent years, by acquiring several more Lumber brands in their portfolio.
As a brand, U.S. Lumber’s mission has always been much bigger than simply selling lumber products: they consider themselves a values-based organization, meaning they always seek to serve people first, and do what’s right even when it’s hard.
Over time, U.S. Lumber has been dedicated to consistently enhancing their offerings while remaining committed to maintaining the highest standard of trust with customers and suppliers. Today, their company serves over 15,000 customer locations in the United States and Canada with more than 50 categories of unique specialty building products.
That’s why U.S. Lumber’s eCommerce presentation is so important to them: their website should always be another expression of their commitment to excellence and continually help build trust with their customers. They need an eCommerce presence that ensures their growth goals and excellent customer service mission are never at odds, while also meeting their most important objective: creating a brand that can make a difference in our world one person at a time.
As with anything worth doing, though, achieving these goals through eCommerce didn’t come without its share of obstacles.
Stalled Construction Woes
When U.S. Lumber was ready to push forward with their growth goals through eCommerce, they reached out to a Solutions Integrator to help them build and launch a site that met their brand needs now and had the kind of foundation that could grow alongside their business.
Unfortunately, after almost 2 years, that agency partner wasn’t able to come through for them and their site was still unlaunched. With U.S. Lumber’s eCommerce goals out of reach with their current SI and their team feeling frustrated and unsupported, they knew it was time for a change and reached out to Classy Llama.
Millions of Pricing Instances? No Problem!
After connecting with the U.S. Lumber team about their frustrations, our team immediately engaged in a paid discovery process. Instead of providing cookie-cutter solutions, our team believes in the importance of discovering what a brand’s objectives are and creating custom road map to help our clients achieve those goals.
With U.S. Lumber, this process was particularly helpful as we were able to reassure their team that all our recommendations and work would align with what their brand wanted to achieve in the future.
Following the discovery process, Classy Llama determined that U.S. Lumber would be best served by a phased approach. First, our team rescued their current build by upgrading from an outdated Magento 2 version to the current version, as well as ensuring the code had the foundation needed to scale the site in the future. Once their current site was launched and functional so their brand could maintain contact and relationship with their customer base, our team moved into phase 2, where more customizations to the Magento code were developed.
Custom Pricing Displays for Each Unique Audience
Because U.S. Lumber distributes their products all over the U.S. and Canada, that means their pricing and shipping rates are going to be different depending on where their customers live. In order to make this simple and easy for shoppers to deal with, their Magento site needed a functionality called a that enabled the correct pricing to display to the correct customers based on what U.S. Lumber branch their company is located in.
This may sound pretty simple on the surface, but given the large number of branches and products offered by the entirety of the U.S. Lumber catalog, our team determined that amounts to over 11 million different pricing combinations. The solution built by their previous SI wasn’t able to scale with this pricing increase, which also meant it wouldn’t be able to scale in the future as U.S. Lumber continues to grow.
Classy Llama architected a branch-switcher solution that allowed the site to display customer-specific pricing without causing any loading time issues for the customer, as well as provide a mechanism to update pricing data through the ERP daily. Not only that, the solution built is so efficient, the entire process of updating the 11 million+ pricing differences only takes 45 minutes.
Additionally, the tech team was able to meet all of U.S. Lumber’s B2B requirements through native Magento code, making the website cost less to build and maintain throughout their future scalability needs. Essentially, Classy Llama was able to eliminate entire classes of future cost or risk by ensuring that their B2B solutions were architected within the Magento framework, including the branch switcher solution.
Making Progress Through a Well-Conceived Path
As Phase 2 of U.S. Lumber’s engagement with Classy Llama was nearing completion, their team decided that an ongoing relationship with us would suit their eCommerce needs best and signed-on to a full service retainer. That means that we get the opportunity to become U.S. Lumber’s daily partner in eCommerce growth as they move forward with their brand and scalability goals.
Currently, our team is working closely with theirs to create a strategic road map for the U.S. Lumber brand in 2022 and beyond, including how to add more branches to their current site, as well as create a new website for another brand they recently acquired.
U.S. Lumber’s team went from feeling let down by their previous SI to feeling supported in both the short and long term with Classy Llama as their agency partner. As their brand continues to scale and provide the lumber needed to build America’s schools, houses, and backyard projects, they can rest assured they’ve got someone in their corner who not only supports their goals, but also their mission: serve people well and do what’s right, no matter what.