SAT ACT Success
July 12, 2018
Barbizon of Red Bank
July 23, 2018

I was hired to put together an online store for the employees of Jefferies Group, LLC. This store was for employees to purchase logo merchandise for themselves or for tradeshows and expos.

The Problem

I was recommended for this project by a friend and colleague who would actually be running the site. Jefferies role in this was to make sure that it upheld to their design standards and security standards. This was one of the more interesting projects I have done.

Unlike many other online stores this had a unique twist to it. It could only be accessed by Jefferies employees while they were on the corporate internet and Jefferies was not hosting the site, it was to be hosted on a third party server. Did I mention that they required that access to the site had to through a single sign on service run through their own servers?

They also needed a custom check out procedure because there was no exchange of cash or credit card. All billing had to be through their employee accounts or a cost center number. So I had to use a cart solution that had the ability to customize the entire checkout procedure.

The Solution

To address the server solution, I used Amazon AWS to host the site. This gave me full control over the server which had to be set up to block all incoming traffic except from the Jefferies servers. It also gave me the ability to clone and test the server when we had to make updates and changes. All changes had to be tested and approved by their IT department before they were incorporated on the live site. The Jefferies IT department was very helpful in working out some of the initial kinks in the server.

The design of the site was done in coordination with the graphic designers at Jefferies. We had to create the store to mimic the design of the main site. Fortunately, they supplied me with a CSS file with all the colors specified which made it much easier.

I used Zen Cart which is an open source eCommerce solution as the base for the design. I had to incorporate Zen Cart’s “Add to Cart” functionality with new custom coded check out pages. Also I had to incorporated into the checkout procedure the FedEx shipping rates that my client and Jefferies had pre-negotiated.

A benefit of using the single sign on function was the ability to create variables to prefill the employee information. This made the checkout procedure much quicker as they could quickly select the shipping rate and the shipping address then check out. Pretty much three clicks.

On the admin side, I added a plugin that gave them the ability to keep track of inventory by shirt size, color or any other variant. I custom coded the response emails to accommodate the additional information we were collecting like employee numbers or cost center numbers. I also created custom reports for my client to keep track of where products and shipments were going based on the order information.