Retailer Web Services Unwraps Next Gen WebFronts Platform At MEGA’s Fall Convention

Ronald Rodenbaugh of Rodenbaugh's Flooring America Kitchen Bed & Bath, Allen, Texas, and Jennie Gilbert, Retailer Web Services COO, during RWS' Ugly Holiday Sweater reception at MEGA's fall show. 

Retailer Web Services (RWS) celebrated the launch of WebFronts’ 5th generation design platform in holiday style at the recent MEGA National Convention in Nashville. Independent retailers were introduced to “Socrates,” the next gen platform touted as the “industry’s best end-user experience,” during a debut session on Aug. 13. Also announced during the session: free migration to the new platform.

The new design platform provides retailers with an ultra-modern look; better cross-device performance, including a “mobile-first” check out experience; and an end-user experience to not only delight customers, but also convert more of them. According to Jennie Gilbert, RWS chief operating officer, the new platform was developed around RWS’ Continuous Sustainable Improvement process.

“WebFronts is constantly evolving with things like new code, features, and page redesign and updates,” said Gilbert. “But every few years, we blow the doors off by designing an entirely new platform around the most significant advances in technology and changes in consumer behavior.”

Today’s 2,000 WebFronts are built on a 4th generation design platform. Beta testing for “Socrates” began in July with the first successful retailer customer site migration live on Aug. 1. Features of the new design platform include:

  • Full Screen Design: An entire website—or just certain sections of it—can automatically expand to any screen size no matter how large.
  • Responsive Aesthetic: Rather than settle for an adaptive or a responsive mobile site, the new platform has the best of both with the popular responsive mobile look and the fine control of adaptive mobile technology.
  • Dynamic New Features include: pop-up cart preview from any page, the ability to set future atypical store hours, product feature videos and more.
  • Easy Migration: The new design will support current WebFronts App settings and choices set by retailers; retailers can preview their site’s new look in real time in a staging environment. No re-work will be required and no downtown for retailers during the switch to the new platform. Also, retailers won’t lose any historical data, e.g., Change Log or Progressive Profiling information.

Given its more than 2,000 retailer customers, RWS encouraged retailers with a Level 4 WebFront to sign up for the first come, first-served switch to “Socrates.” For retailers who sign up in August, RWS anticipates completing their new site designs between September and December. It is anticipated that signups will open for WebFronts Level 3 retailer customers before the end of 2017. RWS will provide retailers with Levels 1 and 2 with conversion information during the first quarter of 2018.

Following the launch of “Socrates,” RWS held an Ugly Holiday Sweater contest at Monday evening’s reception. Also as part of the holiday giving theme, a Giving Tree was featured at the RWS booth; WebFronts Review retailer customers selected one of five charities to which RWS will make a $50 donation in honor of the retailer. The Giving Tree charities were the Cancer Research Institute, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, Children’s Literacy Initiative, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and Wildlife Conservation Society.

To learn more, please visit retailerwebservices.com.

About Retailer Web Services: Founded in 2006, Retailer Web Services (RWS) is a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based provider of proprietary e-commerce, web design and other high-performance software solutions to help independent retailers achieve success. A champion of independent retailers, RWS is an authoritative source on durable goods product data and consumer purchasing habits. RE:THiNK: 11 surprising things you should do now to win retail customers in the digital age (RWS, 2015) provides actionable advice grounded in the way consumers shop for durable goods. RWS serves more than 2,000 independent durable goods retailers across North America.