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Let's build modern e-commerce for a niche industry

Revolutionizing the way buyers are able to purchase natural stone online.

StoneLoads

StoneLoads represents a pivotal shift in the natural stone industry, transitioning from traditional, cumbersome transactions to a streamlined online marketplace. This revolutionary platform, developed in partnership with Black Airplane, seamlessly connects wholesalers with full truckloads of material, setting a new benchmark for industry standards.

As StoneLoads gained momentum, it quickly responded to user feedback, aiming to further enhance its reach and purchasing process. This effort not only boosted operational efficiency but also highlighted Black Airplane's dedication to realizing customer visions, leveraging our extensive experience in ecommerce solutions to meet the specific needs of the natural stone market.

Vision
  • Provide suppliers with a user-friendly interface to quickly and effortlessly fulfill orders online on any device.
  • Create a simple, attractive platform to showcase their products and connect them with distributors looking to purchase.
  • Enhance inventory visibility to reach a broader audience.
  • Integrate Stripe Connect to utilize its extensive range of rapid and secure payment solutions.
Victory
  • Developed a cutting-edge online marketplace featuring machine learning-driven product search and integrated payment capabilities.
  • Suppliers can now sell directly to buyers on the StoneLoads platform.
  • This project not only boosted their operational efficiency but also brought about a revolution in an industry that has long been burdened by manual processes, eliminating confusion and streamlining the experience, ultimately saving users valuable time and resources.
  • By providing 24/7 access to up-to-date inventory and pricing information, even the smallest distributors can now source and acquire required stone within minutes instead of months.

Client Industry

Wholesale Building Materials

Platform

eCommerce Website

Services Performed

Rapid Prototyping,Design,Web Development,QA,Project Management

Technology

Laravel

Vue

Inertia
6 days
end-to-end supply chain process
2 minute
online purchasing process
2 days
supplier payment processing
75%
reduced ACH clearance time
Quote
They do a good job of understanding the business, not just the project.
Black Airplane integrated the requested changes on the platform, understood the assigned tasks, provided accurate time estimates, and delivered the project within budget. The team was highly responsive and always available via Slack or Zoom.  Their impressive skill set matches their intentionality. 
Patrick Wells
Cofounder and CEO

Vision

Mission Brief

The mission behind developing the StoneLoads platform was to fundamentally transform the natural stone industry by streamlining the connection between wholesalers and quarries. Faced with a historically inefficient process characterized by manual communications and prolonged transaction times, our goal was to introduce a groundbreaking online marketplace. This platform would enable immediate access to live inventory and pricing, allowing wholesalers to make purchases directly from quarries in minutes instead of months. StoneLoads aimed to replace the outdated, time-consuming buying process with a swift, secure, and user-friendly system, making it a significant industry innovation.

Challenges

A key challenge in developing the StoneLoads platform was mastering the complexities of the natural stone industry. To address this, we employed our proven approach, focusing on achieving alignment between the project's vision and the intricate realities of the market. Through workshops and iterative design, we ensured deep understanding and seamless integration of industry-specific needs and stakeholder objectives, paving the way for a solution that truly resonated with users and transformed the marketplace.

Following the initial launch of StoneLoads, a significant challenge we faced was updating the platform with new features without affecting its existing functionality. Leveraging our intimate understanding of the platform's architecture allowed us to guide the update process effectively. Our goal was to enrich the user experience and introduce innovative features while ensuring the platform remained stable and reliable. Through our direct involvement and rigorous testing, we seamlessly integrated these enhancements, bolstering the platform's performance without disrupting its current operations, thereby ensuring its continued success.

Why Black Airplane

Black Airplane was the ideal partner for StoneLoads due to our deep experience in custom ecommerce development and proficiency with payment platforms like Stripe Connect. Our team's blend of certified Stripe developers and architects positions us uniquely for building and enhancing high-end ecommerce platforms. More than launching innovative products, we excel as long-term partners, focusing on continuous innovation while ensuring operational excellence. This dual focus ensures our clients' platforms evolve without compromising their performance or user experience.

Black AirplaneAbove & Beyond

Our mastery of complex checkout processes for stone transactions reflects a profound grasp of payment intricacies, including various payment methods, charge options, processing fees, and refunds.

Through diligent development and comprehensive testing, we ensured flawless execution across all transactional aspects. By prioritizing a streamlined and user-centric shopping experience, we implemented solutions that significantly enhanced customer engagement with the platform, making navigation smoother and the buying process more intuitive, all without reliance on conventional e-commerce tools.

Flight Plan

Design

In the design phase of StoneLoads, our approach was twofold. Initially, we focused on gaining a deep understanding of the industry and our client's objectives through open communication, iterative design, and fostering a collaborative environment. This foundation was crucial for building a platform that was pioneering in its field. Post-launch, our attention shifted towards integrating user feedback with business goals, ensuring enhancements were aligned without disrupting the existing platform. Throughout both stages, our priority was to maintain a seamless blend of new and existing designs, ensuring visual and functional harmony.

During the design phase of StoneLoads, we tackled unique challenges with innovative solutions:

  • To address the complexity of online stone purchases, we automated shipping logistics with a third-party vendor, offering real-time pricing and delivery dates at checkout, alongside a self-fulfillment option for users with existing shipping solutions.
  • We standardized product descriptions across quarries to ensure data consistency for machine learning and improved search functionality. This was achieved by creating a system for sellers to catalog products uniformly while recognizing identical items across sellers for enhanced reporting and analytics.
  • Additionally, we refined user experience by enabling organizational accounts with varied permissions, facilitating transactions with platform credit, and providing transparent fulfillment tracking. These steps ensured StoneLoads met the intricate needs of its market, marrying operational excellence with user-centric design.
Development
Assembling the Engineering Crew

In the initial development phase of StoneLoads, our team skillfully navigated the transition from design to development. A crucial strategy was the early involvement of our developers in the design meetings, fostering seamless collaboration and providing technical insights from the outset. This integration ensured that the development team had a comprehensive understanding of the project's vision, functionality, UX intent, and UI interactions, which was vital for the precise execution of the platform's features. Our meticulous documentation and annotations during the design phase played a pivotal role in maintaining clarity and consistency throughout development.

As StoneLoads evolved post-launch, our focus shifted towards enhancing the platform with additional features, guided by user feedback and emerging business needs. Our engineering team was instrumental in identifying and integrating Stripe Connect, enabling a direct marketplace experience where buyers could transact directly with sellers, streamlining the purchasing process significantly. We also developed integrations with a freight shipping vendor, providing real-time shipping costs and timelines during checkout, enhancing confidence among buyers and sellers alike.

Moreover, we embraced our role as consultants to introduce and implement innovative solutions that further refined the platform. One such enhancement was the integration of ML-powered search functionality through Algolia, which personalized the user experience by surfacing products based on individual browsing behavior, thus driving sales by aligning product visibility with user interest. These strategic enhancements, fueled by our team's adaptability and expertise, underscored our commitment to continuous improvement and operational excellence, ensuring StoneLoads remained at the forefront of its industry.

Algolia Logo

Learn more about our Partnership with Algolia

Checkout Flows and Business Logic

Navigating the complexities of buying and shipping stone presented a unique challenge in developing StoneLoads. The nature of selling stone through various distributors required a sophisticated checkout process capable of handling transactions for multiple truckloads, often located in different places, which significantly complicated the shipping and delivery process beyond typical online store capabilities.

Our team confidently tackled this challenge by rigorously testing various buying and shipping scenarios, ensuring a smooth and efficient transaction flow. Our custom-built ecommerce platform was designed specifically to meet these unique marketplace needs, showcasing our ability to innovate beyond the limitations of existing solutions and successfully manage the intricate logistics of stone distribution.

laravel logo

Learn more about our Partnership with Stripe

Victory

Final Results

This groundbreaking solution has revolutionized the industry, disrupting the traditional mom-and-pop approach where businesses relied on phone calls and paper slips. We're proud StoneLoads trusted us to help them be pioneers in the field, introducing the first-of-its-kind innovation that streamlines processes and brought efficiency to the industry.

Our team's dedication and meticulous planning helped us to finish within 5% of the projected scope. This is a testament to our efficiency and commitment to delivering results

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