Founded in 1888 by James H. McGraw and John A. Hill, McGraw-Hill Education is one of the largest publishers of learning science materials worldwide.
McGraw-Hill Education's product portfolio consists of over sixty thousand titles written for the pre-k through postgraduate education programs, with titles available in over fifty languages.
Operating as a global retailer McGraw-Hill Education were managing multiple ecommerce websites. As a result, managing content and launching new products across the estate was both time-consuming and expensive, touching multiple codebases and requiring several deployments of code. This was impairing their ability to react quickly to changing market demands.
McGraw-Hill required a global retail platform that would provide the business with the agility it needed when launching new product ranges and selling into new markets.
The following objectives were set for the project:
The ability to consolidate multiple websites into one global retail platform was key to McGraw-Hill's strategic objectives, they required a single codebase for the business and a centralised administration system for merchandising stock and managing promotions.
Magento Enterprise provides out of the box support for operating multiple websites from a unified codebase so a separate website was created for each associated country. This provided McGraw-Hill with the ability to set an associated base currency, language and relevant payment options depending on the website being viewed.
Using the latest Geo-location services, when a request is made to the McGraw-Hill Education website the user's location is parsed and they are redirected into the correct website which provides a localised browsing experience for their associated region.
As the McGraw-Hill product catalogue is available in over fifty languages it was important that the website was localised to supported several of the worlds primary languages.
As part of the project delivery, McGraw-Hill were provided with a consolidated language pack for translation and translations were imported for English Spanish and Mexican Spanish, with the rollout for more languages arriving later in the year.
Trading as a Global business comes with additional challenges around payments and logistics. Studies such as the E-Commerce Industry Report conclude that the preferred payment options differ widely between geographical regions.
For McGraw-Hill to thrive as a global e-commerce retailer it was vital for the website to not only provide support for multiple currencies but also support multiple different payment options depending on which country the user is located in.
Leveraging the functionality built within Magento Enterprise the following base currencies and payment options were developed.
McGraw-Hill provides their products in multiple different formats including traditional print and ebook formats.
The new website would need to support these widely adopted formats as well as including support for McGraw-Hill's own digital redemption formats such as LearnSmart and Connect+.
CTI extended Magento Enteprise's support for multiple product types to include an intuitive product selector that allows the customer to select whether they would like to purchase a digital or print version of the product.
If the user requests a digital version of a title this will be available to download through the customer's account.
Managing a product catalogue and inventory for over sixty thousand SKU's which are sold in over sixty countries is an inherently complex operation and would require the website to connect to multiple back office systems.
CTI extended Magento Enteprise's built-in support for popular Web Services such as REST and SOAP to include a fully integrated solution to synchronise Orders and Inventory on a defined schedule designed to drastically reduce manual intervention.
Finding the right product, first time, every time with such a large product catalogue is a challenge for any retailer, therefore, it was important the website featured an enterprise level search engine with support for weighting and ranking product attributes.
Using Magento Enteprise's built-in support for Apache SOLR (the enterprise search tool) the website features support for attribute weighting, auto completion of search queries, spelling correction and synonyms configuration. All of these features can be managed via the Magento administration panel reducing support on McGraw's I.T Department.
As with any retailer McGraw-Hill go through periods of high and low transactional volume which falls in-line with educational semesters around the globe, therefore, it was important that the hosting infrastructure could scale in line with demand.
Hosted and Supported by CTI the website utilises Amazon Elastic Cloud instances that conserve resources during periods of low transaction volume and automatically spawn new Elastic Cloud Instances as transaction volume grows. All of this is managed within automatic scaling groups.