Way back in 1999, we blazed a trail with the then ‘ultramodern’ MANN-FILTER online catalogue, which was a giant leap forward from the print catalogues used since the 1950s and a big step forward from the ‘interactive’ CD-ROM catalogues introduced in 1997. Despite adding new functions and making cosmetic adjustments, we had not changed the fundamental technology behind the online catalogue ever since, making it pretty old for a web application.
Even if that little voice inside our heads said ‘it’s fine as it is’, we had to make the effort if we wanted to provide ‘perfect service’. More than three years ago, the marketing department decided that a new catalogue was required. After conducting an extensive requirements analysis and planning and selecting providers, a professional team drawn from Catalogue Management, IT, and Brand Management, as well as developers and designers, began making this vision a reality. The catalogue went live in March 2012, concluding a period of seriously hard work. Nonetheless, as with every application (or so the experts reassure me), there was still scope for improvement, and the catalogue is also currently being rolled out in other countries and markets. Essentially, it takes time to achieve excellence.
At a personal level, I have gained a lot from this project, including a deeper understanding of search engine optimisation, web analytics, and all kinds of hosting topics, which will be a great help in other projects too.
Today, we have a catalogue that – based on the feedback – has been very well received. I believe that no other catalogue will help you find the filter you require more quickly; indeed we have devised a comprehensive search function for this very purpose. Simply enter the key terms (as in other search engines) and select a search suggestion. For example, entering the name of the vehicle model and clicking on the search suggestion quickly shows you which filters can be used.
The catalogue in the MANN-FILTER app
We also took a new approach by creating a browser application that looks like an app and works really well on mobile devices. Personally, I am very pleased with this feature. It even allowed us to integrate the page into our MANN-FILTER app.
However, as enthusiastic as we are about our product, it is not that easy to assess user behaviour and determine whether they are satisfied with our catalogue. After all, we don’t often receive heartfelt letters of thanks 😉 That being said, a look at the access statistics – which constantly surprise us and have proved to be very illuminating – can be of some help. Rather than just looking at the number of accesses, we can also see the most common searches. We have seen an enormous rise in total search requests over the past few months. In fact, we have had to ramp up performance more than once to cope with demand.
Nevertheless, we welcome all personal feedback on the catalogue, as it really helps us to improve our ‘perfect service’ and develop new ideas. So, if anyone reading this has an opinion on the MANN-FILTER online catalogue, please get in touch!