MillerKnoll is the largest collective of global design brands, formed through a series of mergers and acquisitions. With tremendous size and influence, the company regularly sparks aesthetic and social transformation throughout the industry.
What was not working as well for the company was the collection of teams and platforms that resulted from those mergers and acquisitions. Groups were performing similar tasks but not interacting with each other, and inefficient and redundant processes resulted in online experiences that did not reflect the quality of the MillerKnoll brand.
Industry pioneers and agents of change
With roots in modernist design and strong visions for the furniture industry’s future, MillerKnoll seeks to redefine “modern” for the 21st century and build a more sustainable, equitable, and beautiful world for all.
In July 2021, Herman Miller acquired Knoll – combining two of the most iconic designers of contemporary interior furnishings for workplaces and residences – and announced it would move forward as MillerKnoll. The merger brought together many innovative and vibrant subsidiaries, including Colebrook Bosson Saunders, Geiger, NaughtOne, and Spinneybeck.
Moving to a shared framework
Frank DeMaria, Vice President of Digital Engineering & Platforms at MillerKnoll, said it was important to establish a comprehensive business-to-consumer (B2C) framework for all the brands in the MillerKnoll collective. This would require a shared technological foundation that allows for centralized action across MillerKnoll as well as decentralized customization based on the needs of each entity.
“Each of our brands offers a distinct product portfolio with unique needs and ways that they serve consumers. On the technology side, the challenge is trying to provide that distinction across brands and that uniqueness while maintaining a consistent set of technologies underneath,” DeMaria says.
The company’s innovation and efficiency had been hindered by disparate teams often performing the same tasks, convoluted work processes, and a lack of collaboration. The result was an employee and customer experience that did not reflect the company’s spirit and goals.
Capgemini worked with MillerKnoll to create a comprehensive, modern B2C platform on Salesforce that is central to the company’s full digital transformation.
Integrated across all brands including Design within Reach and Herman Miller, the platform creates new levels of flexibility and ease that enables the team to provide consistently high site quality, while tailoring a customer journey and overall atmosphere that is specific to each brand and its audience.
“One of the major things that we were able to do was to provide all of the brands on our portfolio a consistent set of features that each brand was able to use or not, as their needs arose,” DeMaria says.
Salesforce has been a strategic partner for Herman Miller for 15 years, so its software was a natural fit.
Flexible to satisfy a diverse customer base
In preparation for the B2C revamp, MillerKnoll’s user-experience research team spent two months getting feedback from a cross-section of the public through more than 75 one-on-one interviews.
Based on those conversations, MillerKnoll mapped out 12 user journeys that informed how the team designed the foundation of the platform. The resulting site design features intuitive navigation, helpful product listing and detail pages, and straightforward cart and checkout processes. This created an easier experience overall with relevant information at each stage of the shopping journey.
“In the digital space, we recognize that our customers want an intuitive and personalized experience,” DeMaria says. “We are working to build the future of those technologies to support our ongoing customer needs.”
Capgemini ensured the platform was built to scale and grow along with MillerKnoll for continued support. The collaboration included extensive talks about upcoming trends, business goals, and the trajectory of the retail sector in general.
“One thing that I’ve loved about the Capgemini relationship has been their ongoing ability to flex, to meet our needs,” DeMaria said. “As our business has changed and grown, as our team has changed and grown, Capgemini has always been there as a trusted partner.”
A single product team now provides support for the entire company. “Having a single consistent platform has improved our employee experience by being able to really focus on one core set of technologies, not having to worry about managing content, promotion, products across a variety of different systems. We’ve really been able to build efficiencies into that process,” DeMaria says.
With streamlined internal processes, staffers at MillerKnoll and its many subsidiaries have been freed from certain repetitive, administrative, or logistical tasks so they can focus on what matters most: creating extraordinary shopping experiences for each brand’s target audience and closing sales.
Capgemini first established the platform and then DeMaria’s team took on more responsibility as it grew through external recruitments and corporate acquisitions, eventually settling into the current co-development model. Sometimes one company leads projects while the other supports, and vice versa.
“Now we can go to Capgemini for anything we need. If we need them to lead a project, they can do that. If we need them to subsidize some of our internal resources, they can do that,” DeMaria said.
MillerKnoll is continuing to build upon this work to maximize the efficiency of back-end systems and business processes.
The company is measuring the success of the B2C transformation program in two ways: increased sales and decreased technology costs. According to DeMaria, all relevant metrics are moving in the right direction.
“All of our KPIs are up and we’re seeing great usage of new features that we’ve rolled out across businesses,” DeMaria says. “We’re seeing increased conversion. We’re seeing increased engagement. Those are driving increases in sales. And we’re able to deprecate old technology platforms; in addition to eliminating that cost, we’re able to be more efficient internally as well.”
I have found that Capgemini’s experience, especially around Salesforce commerce, is top in the industry. They brought their expertise on building out multi-branded global implementations of our platform. They also provided us the flexibility that we needed as we grew both our business and our team internally.Frank DeMaria
Vice President of Digital Engineering & Platforms