This project for Central Market was two years in the making; and it still evolves, because we continue to partner with them for project and platform enhancements, new features, and ideas. Central Market’s team is very tech-savvy and have an audience of users that bring new and exciting recommendations to the table. The company listens to each and every request and suggestion. User ideas become actionable items, and WebDevStudios partners with Central Market to help turn those ideas into reality.
Central Market is an American gourmet grocery store chain owned by H-E-B Grocery Company, based in San Antonio, Texas. It specializes in high-quality, hard-to-find gourmet foods. Most locations also have a full-service kitchen, offer cooking and wine classes in their culinary school, and offer premium catering services. Central Market’s website showcases its content, as well as over 26,000 individual products on its eCommerce site.
One of the largest eCommerce builds we have ever completed in the history of WebDevStudios is for the biggest grocery chain in the state of Texas: H-E-B’s Central Market. The experience of shopping at a Central Market store in person is an experience like no other. It is unique, artisanal, organic, and friendly. The company wanted to translate the in-person shopping experience to the web by displaying its various offerings, not the least of which is an extensive catalog of over 26,000 individual grocery products that change in availability, price, inventory, and variety every single day.
We built the Central Market site on WordPress, using WooCommerce for the eCommerce backbone. Central Market is able to handle its large inventory of products, as well as all of the brand’s content management needs, with the integration of WordPress with WooCommerce.
Product Data Sync
Each of the nine Central Market locations has approximately 26,000 individual products available in-store that must also be represented on the website. Grocery products, as you can imagine, change on a daily basis. These changes include prices, inventory, availability, sales, coupons, and more. The nature of these ever-changing products requires a syncing of product data on a nightly basis to ensure each product is updated. It is essential that what is available in the store is also reflected accurately in their eCommerce catalog.
Our team developed a data migration and product data sync script that runs on a predetermined schedule and integrated with Central Market’s product inventory system to make sure that the product data is accurately represented online. This process ensures that the pricing seen online is the same price customers see in the physical store every day.
All nine locations of Central Market offer cooking classes in a physical Cooking School onsite. On the website, users are able to browse a catalog of cooking classes, choose which class (or classes) they would like to attend, and register online. Registered Cooking School students receive an email that contains a unique bar code, which they print out and bring to class and scan at the kiosk to register attendance.
Registration and payment for cooking classes happen online at the Central Market website, where users can register themselves or multiple people at once. The platform allows Central Market to manage its events, attendees, and reports.
Outside of the grocery product catalog, Central Market publishes and manages a great deal of content. It currently hosts a blog on its site that contains a large amount of information and resources for foodies from all walks of life. They offer several sections of valuable information and content around food and cooking-related topics including:
- Tips & Tricks
- Entertaining Ideas
- Foodie Finds
Because Central Market is using WordPress as its content management system (CMS), the curation and management of content is efficient and easy for the company’s editorial staff to maintain. A bonus of using WooCommerce to power the product catalog is that it makes product integration into the rest of the site’s content seamless! So, for example, Central Market’s editors are able to integrate products into recipe ingredient lists, allowing visitors to “shop a recipe,” which is a great feature for this site.
Once logged in, users of the Central Market site are able to create shopping lists from the product catalog and can then “Shop The List.” They are also able to create shopping lists from the ingredient lists found in recipes, as well.
We created a enhanced user experience by developing a User Dashboard where registered users can view their shopping lists, see their favorited content and track the cooking school classes they have attended, or are scheduled to attend.
Adobe Scene7 Integration
All product images are managed by Central Market in Adobe Scene7 for management of the digital assets related to products. We developed the site to make sure the media in their product catalog can be managed and maintained by their entire team through the use of Adobe Scene7. When they update in Scene7, it updates on their website!