Overview

Reimagining an iconic brand from the customer up 

Formica is synonymous with countertop surfaces — both in residential homes and commercial properties. And while their leadership extends far and wide, Formica’s online offerings often left customers at a loss when researching their options. Discover how we helped Formica build a customer-first mentality and innovate their digital offerings in the process.
formica-styleboard

The Situation

An innovative leader, shackled by an antiquated digital experience 

Since its inception, Formica has catapulted into success with unique products that can be used across homes, offices and other applications:

30

Global presence in 30 countries

400,000+

Unique products

$120 Million

In annual sales

But the site wasn’t optimized to address customer needs and wants:

  • Formica.com spoke primarily to residential customers; however, commercial customers — including architects, interior designers and contractors —  were the actual main users of the site
  • 65% of professional customers used the search function and nearly 40% experienced problems
  • Internal naming conventions hindered users from ordering product swatches — a critical conversion leading to Formica sales
  • It was time consuming to find product information on product pages
  • Search engines for products often led users to the wrong country site

The Response

Combining data and intuition to truly empower users

Instead of simply addressing the main problems Formica had identified, we dug deeper to better understand what Formica customers truly needed — answers made possible through user journeys, site analytics and experience prototypes.

Open the aperture of Formica audiences 

Research revealed that there are no simple classifications for Formica customers. Plus, the vast majority of Formica customers are professionals who use Formica’s products in different applications and scenarios:

  • Architect   vs. Homeowner
  • Interior Designer
  • Contractor
  • Fabricator
  • Dealer/Retailer

To make the site work smarter and harder for these audiences, we organized content to be more commercial-centric — from streamlined access to specific products to creating more effective customer-centric tools across the site.

Specifically, we created a revolutionary approach to Search that allows shoppers to explore the entire Formica catalog by simply inputting colors and patterns they want to see.

Let style do the heavy lifting 

One of our critical objectives was to dazzle each and every audience with the undeniable beauty of Formica products. And while rich photography on every page was a given, we went beyond images by focusing on how people actually talk about Formica products, concentrating on our rich library of color and pattern options.
FormicaDesktop

“This is simply the best interface we’ve seen all year.” 

  • Vincent B., Coveo Solution Architect

Make the site easier to use for internal audiences 

The existing site was plagued with tech issues that hampered Formica’s internal teams from making updates like adding new products and editing information. In fact, it typically took the company a six month development cycle to update features and content.

 

We systematically reengineered the Sitecore admin experience to allow for quick, turn-key updates through an easy-to-use content authoring experience. The new admin interface allows Formica to provide an up-to-the-moment site experience that seamlessly operates across various geos, featuring products specific to each region.

The Result

An experience that speaks the language of the customer 

Through a strategic reimagining of its digital presence, we’ve elevated Formica.com’s most important asset: its users.

“Horizontal has been instrumental is helping our customers find what they need, quickly and easily. By simplifying the site, we’ve seen 200% growth in sample orders which has translated to a major jump in sales. Beyond this, Horizontal has made it easy to keep pace with our customers through the implementation of self-service tools that make updates easy and streamlined.”

  • Blake Shiplely, Global Digital Platform Lead at Formica

Insights

Customer experience in emerging countries

The case for culture as strategic foundation

Work

UnitedHealth Group

Helping a company find its future through smarter hiring

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