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Rapid Air Products

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Executive Summary

Rapid Air Products is the industry leader in compressed air piping systems. A defining feature of the Rapid Air Products customer service team is their commitment to helping customers build a world class airline compression system. They’re known for expert responses to customer questions and rapid quotes. But even though their turnaround on quotes was faster than most in the industry, it still took 24+ hours to prepare an accurate quote for online customers.

Rapid Air needed their website to put the customer in the driver’s seat while still maintaining their personal customer service.
Webstix completely rebuilt the Rapid Air website with a focus on integrating freight shipping estimates with the shopping cart. With the customer in control of their airline system shopping experience, the 24-hour turnaround became a 2-second turnaround and sales shot up 25%.

Features: Responsive design, professional copywriting, shopping cart migration and WooCommerce integration, advanced forms, custom app integration, automatic freight shipping integration, search engine optimization (SEO)

We invite you to read more about how Webstix provided powerful solutions for Rapid Air.


About Rapid Air Products

From their DIY Garage Air Line Kit to their industrial grade aluminum and semi-flexible piping and compression systems, Rapid Air serves clients worldwide. In today's market of compressed air systems, Rapid Air offers the most options, best availability, and highest quality products.

Rapid Air Products started out in a home garage and quickly grew to include a team of 15. Today, their staff includes production warehouse staff, engineers, sales reps and support staff who work from a large industrial facility.

Known for their close attention to detail and personable, friendly service, Rapid Air takes customer service to the next level. Every order received is reviewed by air line experts, packaged by hand, and shipped.

The Challenge

Dated, Unresponsive Design and Navigation Confused Customers

A good website design does more than just look good with “graphics that pop.” It works harder (twenty-four-seven!) than the company’s hardest working employee. It must reflect the values and culture of the company it represents while also being easy for customers to navigate. And it needs to SELL by seamlessly guiding and serving the customer.

The look and feel of the Rapid Air Products’ website was several years old and didn’t display well on mobile or tablets — so of course it needed a facelift for today’s mobile-first browsing. It was also written by different people over several years, so it lacked a cohesive tone of voice that served both customers and search engines.

But the most serious problem was that the old website didn’t reflect the company’s high value on personable, expert customer service. Product information on the website was incomplete or only available by downloading brochure PDFs. Visitors to the website were easily confused by the variety of products available and complicated navigation. Potential customers either called the Rapid Air office with questions or bounced to a new site to research and ultimately purchase products from a different company. And even if they did decide to purchase from Rapid Air Products, the actual process of ordering online took another 24 hours and several phone calls.

Customers Didn’t Know Which Air Piping System was Right or Which Parts They Should Buy

Although the website offered information about the various airline piping systems sold by Rapid Air Products, it wasn’t easy for customers to know which products to buy for their purposes. The website’s promise to “help choose a system” simply directed them to a long list of technical specifications and installation recommendations. The only real help customers received was from the Rapid Air experts they reached over the phone.

Shopping Cart Couldn’t Calculate Accurate Shipping

Customers expect to know the final amount they will be charged, including shipping and taxes, when they add items to their shopping cart. But because the products sold by Rapid Air are shipped in different pallet sizes, default shopping cart plugins couldn’t handle the complexity required to provide accurate quotes. Before customers could complete their order, they had to wait for a phone call from Rapid Air with their full quote.

Creating a Shipping Quote Required 6 Steps

Once an order came in over the website, it took two employees a series of 6 steps over the next 24 hours to reach the customer with an accurate quote.

  • Step 1: Contact the customer for shipping address
  • Step 2: Gather the order from the warehouse
  • Step 3: Package and weigh the order
  • Step 4: Go to the online freight estimator and enter data
  • Step 5: Contact customer with quote for freight
  • Step 6: Contact customer for credit card to charge the freight as a separate item

If the customer hadn’t canceled the order by this time, then the sale finally went through. But often, customers decided not to complete a purchase once they learned how much shipping would cost. Or they simply didn’t reply to Rapid Air’s attempts to reach them.

Not having a shopping cart with an integrated freight shipping calculator cost Rapid Air countless sales. And it also frustrated employees who were forced to waste hours of their time instead of helping existing customers and making actual sales.

“We’re trying to serve the customer to the best of our ability. There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to buy something but not getting all the information you need up front to make your decision. Today, everything is so instant that if you don’t give customers what they need right away, they will buy somewhere else.”
— Andy Remus, Rapid Air Products Founder and Owner


The Solution

Rapid Air Products owner and engineer Andy Remus wanted a more efficient way to help his customers without losing the personal touch his company was known for. He envisioned a website that would put customers back in control of their purchase without so many delays. He knew they were busy and demanded quick solutions to their problems. He also knew that not everyone wanted to get on the phone when they expected a website to answer their questions.

He commissioned an online tool that customers could use to physically draw their airline systems. He wanted this tool to integrate with the Rapid Air Products website and shopping cart so the customer could draw the system they need and have all the parts automatically load into the cart. With those requirements in mind, he contacted the Webstix team to see if they could turn his vision into reality.

Webstix was excited to work with Andy and the Rapid Air Products team to make their website accurately represent their company, save customers and employees time and frustration, improve search engine rankings, and ultimately increase sales.

Identify Freight Quote Process and Challenges

Webstix determined that a mobile friendly design with a simple to use online shopping cart would make the biggest impact for the customer and would save Rapid Air employees the most time. Initially, it seemed like an easy solution: connect the WooCommerce shopping cart plug-in with the online freight shipping estimator. But it was soon apparent why it took two employees at least 24 hours to create every shipping quote.

The website needed to free staff to do more profitable (and interesting!) tasks than preparing shipping quotes. So we got up to speed on everything involved in creating a shipping quote. We visited the warehouse and took pictures of how Rapid Air shipped their items. We quizzed the staff about pallet sizes, weight limitations, and height restrictions. Webstix developers researched freight shipping apps and connected with their software developers as well.

Our team discovered Rapid Air Products are shipped in one of four different sized pallets. Shipments included 19-foot pipes, flexible tubing in 100’-300’ rolls, compressors, adapters, tools, and more. Rapid Air employees gathered the items for shipment, discerned the best shipping configuration and carrier, entered the data into an online freight calculator, and contacted the customer with a quote.

Seamless integration that connects customers, sales, freight, and inventory would require an upgraded, intelligent website to manage incoming and outgoing data connections.

Custom Code a WordPress LTL Freight Calculator Plug-In

We searched for plugins that were smart enough to do what Rapid Air employees could do, but there were no ready-made plugins on the market.

No problem—our developers were up for the challenge of coding plugins to do what we needed.

To ship the products, Rapid Air uses two LTL carriers, Freight Quote and Old Dominion. We coded both the FreightQuote and Old Dominion plugins to dynamically process the shipping calculations and used a LAFF (Largest Area Fit First) algorithm to efficiently stack and find the height of the pallet for an order.

We custom coded the plugin so that the correct pallet size and shipping carrier are selected based on the type of products being shipped. The customer can also choose which shipping carrier they prefer.

No matter which shipping option customers choose, customers can now see how much it will cost, right away.

Integrate Shopping Cart with Online Freight Calculator

When a customer places items into the online shopping cart to create their order, the website virtually packs items into boxes and pallets. It then sends the weights and sizes of each box to the shipper’s online system (API) to get real-time shipping quotes.

Back at the Rapid Air warehouse, the staff can access the order and see how each box and pallet should be packed to match the shipping quote.

Now:

  • The website automatically calculates the weight and dimensions of the products as the customer places them in the cart.
  • When the customer is ready to check out, the shipping estimate is ready, too.
  • What used to take 24 hours and several phone calls now only takes a couple seconds!

Guide Customer to the Right Product with a Product Finder and Configurator

With the question of shipping and freight quotes solved, the next hurdle to tackle was how to help the customer discover which product(s) they needed. Some customers know exactly what they wanted, while others needed guidance. While the Rapid Air staff gladly provide expert advice, many of the questions they were fielding were basic enough for a smarter website to solve.
To help customers decide what they need, the website now offers a product finder, air flow rate calculator, and a drawing tool. Webstix developers turned Rapid Air’s complex product flowchart selector into an easy to follow “quiz.” The customer enters their use specifications and measurements, and the website recommends the appropriate size and type of air system.

Website product configurator

The customer who already knows which pipe system to use but doesn’t know which parts to order can easily draw their system online. Once they’ve created the 3D drawing, the website automatically imports all the parts needed into their shopping cart. Webstix developers discovered that WooCommerce wasn’t handling the add to cart process efficiently, so they customized and refined the plugin to keep the website running quickly.

Customers now have their answers and can order their parts right away any hour of the day!

Manage Inbound and Outbound Connections with Third Party Integrations

Solutions

Rapid Air business can all be managed through the new website thanks to a number of custom integrations.

  1. Draw It → Website [Custom Code]
    Customers can draw their airline setup online and all the needed parts are added to the shopping cart.

  2. Website → Avalara Tax [API]
    Tax exempt customers can upload their exemption certificate and order online instead of over the phone.

  3. Website → Freightquote [API]
    Customers receive an immediate quote for freight shipping.

  4. Website → ODFL [API]
    Custom-written logic so the correct shipping carrier is chosen for the size of the parts ordered.

  5. Website → SharpSpring CRM [Custom Code]
    Customized WooCommerce CRM creates beautifully designed emails and organizes shipping, tax and product information in one place.

  6. Website → Webgility [QuickBook Integration] [Through Plugin]
    Bookkeeping is simplified as orders and payments are fully integrated with QuickBooks.

  7. Website → CallRail Phone Call Tracking [Plugin]
    Trackable calls help the sales team follow up with customers, link orders to accounts, and manage marketing efforts.

Improve Search Engine Results

When a good portion of business comes from online customers, an “easy” way to increase sales is to improve search engine rankings for key search phrases. Ranking high on Google and other search engines depends on a fast page load time and content—which both contribute to a good user experience. Rapid Air Products already had several Google Ads and PPC campaigns, but wanted to increase their search results organically.

Webstix SEO experts designed the Rapid Air website with best practices for search engine optimization. To prepare for the new website launch, 301 redirects were created to preserve Rapid Air’s original search engine rankings and redirect visitors to the appropriate URL on the new website.

Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Site Map Generator were also installed so the Rapid Air staff could continue to track their website results and create new growth goals.

Webstix developers also worked to get the home page load time to just 3 seconds.

Connect with Customers with Professional Copywriting

“We had to come up with our own content before. We were shocked that someone at Webstix could go to that extent to learn about our products and customers. When someone can come in and make you look good and sound good -- that’s huge!” -- Andy Remus

The old Rapid Air website included plenty of helpful information about their products, but it had been written by different people over the course of several website iterations. It lacked a cohesive tone that showed off the staff’s friendly expertise.

The Webstix copywriter rewrote the text for the entire website to increase SEO (search engine optimization), to connect with and inform website visitors, and to persuade those visitors to become customers.


Results

The new website with its integrated shipping function has transformed the way Rapid Air Products does business. Everyone saves time and works more efficiently -- from the customers to the people shipping out the products.

We found the shipping to be the most interesting feature on the website. Our developers went the extra mile to coordinate with the support team of the plugin developer to ensure the shipping process on the new website reduces human effort for RapidAir.

“Now that the customer can help themselves instantly, we don’t have to spend so much time communicating back and forth,” Andy said. “We used to have two employees handling incoming orders from customers. It took them a minimum of 24 hours to close a sale. Now it happens in minutes. The employees who were doing this are now busy processing all the extra orders coming in.”

Andy admits he was a little nervous at first. “It takes a lot to launch a new website with so many details that have to be in order,” he said. “We didn’t want to lose traffic or have broken links. Our biggest fear was whether we could maintain our level of web traffic when the new site went live.”

Several months after launch, the results are in:

  • Web traffic is up 15%
  • Sales are up 25%
  • Better Customer Experience
  • Staff Engaged in More Profit-Creating Work

“The website is full of good information. The staff even use it as a reference every day. It’s easier to use, easier to navigate. It has made a huge difference for us!” Andy said.

We’re thrilled that we were able to help RapidAir become more efficient and more profitable through their upgraded, smarter website.

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