6 Reasons AlphaCard Chose Flexibility Over Off the Shelf

February 20, 2014

By: Marketing Team,


6 Reasons AlphaCard Chose Flexibility Over Off the Shelf

With over 30,000 customers, including 75% of the Fortune 100, AlphaCard was one of the very first ID card solution providers online, offering printers, software and supplies for creating ID cards for a variety of organizations. As a digital commerce pioneer, AlphaCard has already been through several site upgrades. When the time came to replace their Netsuite eCommerce platform, they knew they wanted a platform that would make it easy for them to grow and change, while also giving them control over how they did business online.

“None of the off-the-shelf platforms met all of our unique business needs—we needed an open-core platform that was easy to customize, yet had a wide range of extensions that we could use to speed our time to market,” says Amber Hanson, Senior Manager of eCommerce. With Magento Enterprise Edition, AlphaCard got just what they wanted:

1. Simple Search and Navigation to Make Finding Products and Parts Quick and Easy
Due to challenges with their old site, AlphaCard had their ecommerce store set up as a sub-domain of their main marketing and sales site. This made for confusing navigation, and added unnecessary layers to the path to purchase. Both site sections shared a persistent top navigation that competed with an additional left navigation on the store sub domain. On the new site, AlphaCard streamlined category navigation and reduced the number of clicks to get to a product page and to the cart. The built-in filters on category pages also make it easy to narrow down the selection to quickly find the correct item.

2. Customizable Product Bundles
On their old site, AlphaCard had to pre-set the bundle components, and couldn’t give their business customers any options for customization. With Magento Enterprise Edition, their bundle pages include an expandable “Customize System” section that shows each product included in the bundle along with any options and a quantity field. For each product in the bundle, AlphaCard can control the default option, the default quantity, the minimum quantity, and an optional description field. They can also lock the quantity or options to remove choices, tailored to customer type. Items with a default quantity of zero act as an optional add-on. The price automatically updates as the customer makes changes to the bundle, and, since there are pre-set options, the customer can skip the customize step and add the default bundle to the cart (which automatically adds each individual item to the cart).

3. Ability to Customize Checkout
Many off-the-shelf platforms use very simple checkout pages that cannot be easily customized, if at all, which is a big issue for companies who have unique checkout needs. AlphaCard’s old in-house platform was not open core, and really limited the customizations they needed to make. On the final review page, the “submit” button was hidden at the bottom of the page with multiple “edit” buttons more prominently located on the page. With Magento Enterprise Edition, AlphaCard has complete flexibility in the checkout layout, design and flow, empowering them to easily remove or add checkout fields, and to change the checkout flow to match their business needs. So in addition to making the submit button more prominent, they have made many other improvements to the checkout flow, streamlining the process.

4. Multichannel Integration
Most of AlphaCard’s orders start online, but are completed over the phone. Since the My Account section on the old website didn’t include any phone orders, they had to turn off the feature, and not allow customers to use the order history section. And it was confusing since most of the orders would be missing. The new online order history includes all orders the customer places, regardless of whether the order was placed online or offline. AlphaCard even has the ability to include orders in order history that were placed before they launched the new site.

5. Compliance With Manufacturer’s MAP Requirements
AlphaCard’s old website platform didn’t have a method to require login to show price for products. This meant they were not able to fully comply with their manufacturer’s Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) agreements. Magento Enterprise Edition allows them to customize and automate MAP based on requirements for each manufacturer and product. Based on the selling price, MAP price and MAP settings marked for each product, the website now shows the correct pricing information, tailored to customer type. Since AlphaCard works with a variety of businesses from K-12 schools, universities and membership clubs, to police and fire departments, government agencies and large corporate clients, having this level of customization enables them to better serve customer needs and to run their business more efficiently.

6. Complete Layout and Design Control
AlphaCard had a template-based software platform that wasn’t open core, and, though they had control over CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) and could make javascript changes, they couldn’t make PHP edits to modify the contents on the pages. This was extremely problematic for checkout where they had almost no control. The biggest benefit that Magento Enterprise Edition offered was complete control over every page and template via an open core model, and the ability to create new custom templates that have the ability to interact with the backend.

The result of all their effort? Implementing Magento Enterprise Edition has produced a 32% increase in eCommerce conversion rate and a 38% increase in website leads compared to the previous year. “We were thrilled to be able to complete such a large scale project on time, on scope and under budget,” says Hanson.

View the full, printable version of AlphaCard's story

AlphaCard's New Site

New Product Page


New Checkout Final Review

New Content Page

AlphaCard's Old Site

Old Product Page

Old Checkout Final Review

Old Content Page