Biotech eCommerce

Using Semantic Web technologies to develop an advanced product search and navigation for eCommerce

The goal of this project was to redesign the company website to position the company as a leader in the production and distribution of specialist resources for life sciences research. Critical to the success of the project was simple search and navigation associated with its extensive product line. The delivered solution utilised semantic web technologies, including an antibody locator based on facet browsing.

The company introduced itself as a "... company that supplies specialty research chemicals and biologicals to the pharmaceutical, biotech and academic research markets; with an international distributor network we are selling products worldwide."

At the time, the company maintained an online catalog of some 3000 products with supporting information, maintained by a number of people within the company. The primary purpose of the website is to allow browsing and shopping of the product line.

Customer Challenge

  • To design a product search and navigation system suitable for customers with varying perspectives on the product range.
  • To upgrade the look and feel of the site, increasing the options for adding new content, and giving greater control and flexibility than their current system. The site was expected to evolve and grow dramatically in the near future.
  • To provide a much improved customer experience, with more opportunities for personalisation and with powerful search facilities.

Our Approach

  • We engaged with company managers and selected customers in order to establish reactions to the current website, major competitor websites and new approaches in unrelated websites.
  • We prototyped a number of early design options, allowing informed refinement into a new website style.
  • We built demonstrators of the proposed technologies for data sheet layout and product searching.
  • We delivered a complete solution based on our Fireflint eMarketing product.

Customer Benefits

  • A newly styled website, with style guides for new creatives and transfer of existing content.
  • Implementation of a full information sheet product line, with editorial workflow, tools for import from Word documents, annotation for improved search and direct publishing to the website.
  • Powerful content manager allowing edit cycle and privileged publish.
  • Well structured content with simple page editing, automatic page styling, forms implementation and document management.
  • Powerful search facility based on semantic web technologies, including product locator based on facet browsing.
  • Excellent search performance with advanced text searching.
  • Full eCommerce functionality, with automated bulk price refresh functionality.
  • Full access control to content and back end functionality based on user role.