Graf von Faber-Castell complements its timeless writing instruments with a state-of-the-art customer experience

To showcase its Graf von Faber-Castell luxury brand, Sitecore customer Faber-Castell AG used the Sitecore experience platform to create a digital presence that embodies the company’s philosophy of delivering “tradition and perfection.” The state-of-the-art user experience is easy to roll out globally by importing data from the existing SAP system, thus optimizing Graf von Faber-Castell’s international, and multilingual, business.

Challenge

Headquartered in Germany, Faber-Castell was founded in 1761 and today is the world’s leading manufacturer of wood-cased pencils, with a wide range of products for writing, drawing and creative design. The company and its subsidiaries operate 14 production facilities worldwide. The Graf von Faber-Castell Collection is a special selection of handcrafted writing instruments that combines traditional form with timeless design and modern technology.

Faber-Castell uses Sitecore as the foundation for its digital presence in numerous countries. The company wanted to create an exclusive customer experience platform for the Graf von Faber-Castell Collection, mirroring the historic brand’s tradition and perfection with a state-of-the-art user experience.

Prior to the Sitecore solution, the previous system used for the Graf von Faber-Castell website was neither very stable nor easy to maintain. The previous site was outdated, as well, from both content and technical perspectives, and did not deliver a customer experience commensurate with the brand’s elegance and exclusivity.

Solution

For its luxury brand website, Sitecore offered Faber-Castell a unique combination of exceptional customer experience technology and a mature, highly robust backend system. The flexibility of Sitecore’s backend allowed the company to easily establish the foundation of a state-of-the-art web experience: product data from the SAP system could be easily imported and rationalized, and many important aspects automated.

For the Graf von Faber-Castell website, Faber-Castell continued its relationship with valued Sitecore solution partner neveling.net, a certified Sitecore Partner since 2005. neveling.net had already developed the Faber-Castell web presence for several countries and was well versed in the company’s requirements.

To design the all-important customer experience, Faber-Castell engaged Robinizer Design Studio, a creative design agency that “brings ambitious brands to the next level.” The two agencies worked closely together, with neveling.net focused on frontend development. neveling.net used Sitecore and other leading technologies to create the best user experience and usability, and executed backend implementation.

With a global presence in mind, the Graf von Faber-Castell solution is set up for easy rollout worldwide. An easy to use backend for editors was developed; it incorporates dynamic content elements to create pages of all kinds without requiring editors to choose from an excessive number of templates. This “contentpart model” helped to build the initial site in a short period of time. The entire project was completed in just four months by a team of 15 people: five each from Faber-Castell, neveling.net and Robinizer.

Optimized for the mobile lifestyle Post-launch, surveys conducted indicated that already 20% of the visitors to the Graf von Faber-Castell website are using mobile devices, particularly tablets. The user experience is, in fact, optimized for tablet users; each product category has its own section in the website, which can be scrolled down or swiped to view all details. In addition, several navigation elements have been introduced to minimize scrolling efforts. The top navigation is omnipresent, following the scrolling content, enabling the user to switch between categories at any given time during his /her visit. Overall, the website requires 40% fewer clicks to view all content, as compared to the previous website.

With its emphasis on clean, elegant product presentation, the new Graf von Faber-Castell website corresponds with the company’s new corporatewide design direction, which is being implemented across all digital and print channels. The layout is less cluttered and high-end images are the focal point of all pages.

On high-resolution retina displays, the products are displayed in very fine detail, enabled by flexible rendering that reacts quickly to the resolution required by the device. Sitecore’s rendering engine helps to optimize load times while guaranteeing the best possible image quality. 

Result

Only one week after the Graf von Faber-Castell site went live, the company had already received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers. The site’s “Pens of the Year” section, highlighting the company’s decade-long tradition of producing a unique writing instrument for one year only, and the Product Overview section, which makes it easy for site visitors to find what they are looking for, both received customer accolades. The recipient of particularly high praise, the “Pen of the Year” area showcases the made-by-hand craftsmanship and engineering that go into all Graf von Faber-Castell special editions, emphasizing the uniqueness of this luxury brand.

Product data imported from the SAP system populates an easy to use product configurator, which helps the visitors to find the product of their choice. The configurator will be enhanced by e-Commerce functionality at a later stage.

Technical Description

Solution Special Ingredients:
  • Webforms for Marketers
  • Email Campaign Manager
  • Product synchronization with SAP ERM system
  • SEO