The Office of Experience Delivers on Innovation in Ecommerce for Dot Foods

CHICAGO—September 8, 2021— Dot Foods is North America’s largest food industry redistributor, specializing in delivering less than truckload (LTL) orders to distributor customers in two-to-four days. In a key moment of digital transformation, Dot Foods determined that they needed to be more prepared to meet the demand of their customers online.

In 2017, Dot Foods came to the Office of Experience (OX), a Chicago-based design and digital innovation agency, with a problem to solve. Dot Foods was finding that with online orders quickly approaching a majority between operators and distributors, they faced increased customer expectations for their website experience and were feeling the impacts of competitors with deep ecommerce capabilities. 

OX found that Dot Foods was not alone with the need to focus on ecommerce. In fact, manufacturers without an ecommerce strategy were beginning to feel the impacts of the industry’s transition to digital with:

  • 45 percent of independent operators open to ordering completely online
  • 40 percent of operators ordering from Amazon
  • 53 percent of new product discovery by operators happening online

“Customer expectations happen at the speed of now,” says OX co-founder Carlos Manalo. “Companies that cannot adapt and deliver powerful digital experiences will find themselves falling behind competitors who can. We positioned Dot Foods to expand online with a high-performance, high-velocity, user-focused ecommerce strategy that stayed true to their values and their focus on the business of their customers.”

OX’s approach to improving Dot Foods’ ecommerce portal was less of a redesign and more of a reimagining. OX instilled a mindset and process at Dot Foods for continuous iteration and improvement based on customer insights — the result of a highly performant experience design. This was accomplished through deep collaboration, co-creation and research, aligning the mental models of customers, internal stakeholders and technology partners and integrators. OX took a user-centered approach, rooted in ecommerce key performance indicators and developed a data-informed approach that iterated on high-value features.

The work started by focusing on user testing and improving overall wayfinding and navigating, and shifting the navigation from a brand-based index to a mental model of a grocery store and food aisles to a digital catalog and experience that users could engage with. OX executed a complete taxonomy realignment to anticipate user behavior. They also further optimized the B2B ecommerce engagement through a comprehensive redesign and replatform, enabling shopping, buying and search buying experience to be seamless, speedy and anticipatory of customer needs.

In this sense, OX’s work was less about building a new platform and more about changing the nature of the existing platform, shifting it from a place to process transactions to a portal that inspired equity and loyalty with customers by way of anticipating needs and delivering on them in real time.

The Dot portal increased sales, increased average order value by four percent year-over-year, and increased the acquisition of new users by 28 percent year-over-year. Moreover, search behavior is down and average value order is up for key audiences.  

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