A look inside Ideal Standard’s digital transformation


Digital transformation is more than just translating a business onto a website. It’s using web-based tools to change how you do business.

27 Oct 2020
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Matt Jones - Marketing Director



Just the phrase ‘digital transformation’ can feel intimidating - where even to begin? But you don’t need to change the world in order to revolutionise your own small corner of it. You only need to think about your customer’s needs, and how they can be brought together on a web platform differently from a face-to-face encounter or differently from your previous digital offer. Sometimes this is a big changes, but often it’s a series of small changes over time - that’s transformation.

Focus on User Experience 

In fact, digital transformation is less about how flashy your technology is and more about how it’s put to use. Your choice of Content Management System (CMS) and software integrations are important, of course. But your current CMS may already be up to the job. Centering user experience is the key to successful digital transformation. Get to grips with how customers think and work online as opposed to how they engage in person. How your team can better integrate their own work habits with customer behaviours is what will transform your digital strategy and your online presence. 

Take as an example, our client, the UK's largest plumbing manufacturer Ideal Standard. For decades, they had relied on an extensive paper catalogue of their product range, which detailed everything from toilets and taps to washers and pipe fittings. Moving this list online to make customer browsing and searching easier was a no-brainer. But delving more deeply into what customers could do with that product info was the next, transformative step. For Ideal Standard, that meant understanding how architects and specifiers used the catalogue beyond just purchasing.

Several additional features on the Ideal Standard catalogue site, Ideal Spec, really took things to a new level of engagement, saving both clients and company time and money. One of the best investments was having the product database interact directly with digital asset management and their ordering system.

This allows architects to choose, say, a sink and pull through a selection of fixtures that can be used with it, as well as all the required fittings for it. Additionally the technical drawings are available to download. Once the specifier has planned out one washroom, they can clone it, allowing them to order the whole plan in multiple sets—perfect for clients managing large-scale projects where uniformity is essential, like hospitals, hotels and schools. 

These additions make the web platform much more than a digital catalogue. It’s now a planning tool that saves time and effort—and gets users to the purchase stage faster. 

Keep it moving

Digital transformation is a continuous, dynamic process. It evolves with changes in technology—and, crucially, with changes in customer demands. For Ideal Standard that has meant, for instance, a cosmetic website reskin to come into line with their up-to-date branding guidelines. That hasn’t fundamentally changed how the platform works, but it does transform customer perception and expectation. 

A more in-depth development for Ideal Standard has been something of a pivot toward individual customers. They’ve added a geolocation feature for people seeking nearby wholesalers and retailers as well as an inspirational/aspirational photo showcase of finished home bathrooms featuring their products. Both of these target people who are using the product on a smaller, more personalised scale.

This has allowed Ideal Standard to provide the catalogue to a new market who may not have accessed the bulky paper version before. Reaching new business by identifying small changes or additions to a digital offer is all part of the transformation.

Stay in the game

In the future, a company such as Ideal Standard may look at which part of their business they wish to cultivate further and invest in greater customisation there. Or they may find that they require greater backend development so they can better analyse visitor engagement. In order to remain successful, they’ll have to continue to respond to changes in how they and their customers work.

Not every change in the digital transformation process will be monumental. The important thing is to keep evaluating where you’ve been, where you are now, and what you hope to achieve soon.

If you’re thinking about digital transformation for your business, give us a call  or contact us here, and we can talk more in depth about your needs.

Matt Jones

Marketing Director

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