Written by Giles Bennett
The recent launch of the new website of Sinister Powersports on Magento 2 was the culmination of almost two years' work on the part of HummingbirdUK. Whilst some of that work was on the design and feel of the front of the site, which is a gorgeous showcase of some of the products on offer, the vast majority of the work went on behind the scenes in pulling together a myriad of product information from suppliers
With a vast range of aftermarket products available for ATVs, UTVs, quad bikes and snowmobiles from a huge range of suppliers, the challenge was to build a system which could take in the regularly updated product catalogues, which are provided by the suppliers in a vast range of different formats and layouts, and distill them down into the content and structure required by Magento to display the products in a way which enables customers to browse and search the parts that they need for their specific make and model of vehicle as as simply as possible.
What's more, the aim was to have this take place in as automated a fashion as possible so that the turnaround time between a new product catalogue being issue, and the Sinister site being updated with the latest products and pricing information, was reduced to the bare minimum.
The results was a platform known internally as "Partsman". It could take an Excel spreadsheet or CSV file from any one of dozens of different parts suppliers and process the information contained therein to a standardised format stored in an intermediate database. From there it would then generate the relevant file to import the products into Magento 2, whether to update them or to add them afresh. Whether it was dealing with 40 or 4,000 products, the system would work with little to no human intervention, and enabled the Sinister site to go live with around 36,000 products, all of which were categorised to make browsing the site easier, and searchable to allow for the customer to input the make, model and year of their vehicle and receive a tailored list of applicable products.
Whilst the launch of the site was, of course, a fantastic step and the culmination of a lot of hard work and coding, as always it's just the start as thousands more products are waiting in the wings to be added to the line-up.