|Legacy maritime brand Bertram Yachts saw an opportunity to gain a competitive edge, empower their sales team, and improve performance and SEO by modernizing its web presence — without sacrificing its distinct, timeless feel. Bertram partnered with Salted Stone to create a product configurator, with a stylish front-end and great UX, all built on HubSpot’s powerful CMS.
Since the 1960s, Bertram has been synonymous with luxury and quality in the marine industry. Their yachts, such as the timeless 35FB and the sportfishing-ready 39CC, are durably constructed to reflect sleek, “rugged reliability.” Each one is built to withstand the choppiest of waters and the tugs of the mightiest marlins.
Bertram’s network of dealers let them know that customers love the fact that they can select a wide range of options when building their ideal boat, ranging from large options — like utility centers featuring bait prep stations, sinks, and drawers — down to small details such as upholstery, sunshades, and trim.
As Bertram’s product range continued growing and demand increased, they recognized the importance of a configurator tool that enabled customers to see their ideal vessels in full detail with the most accurate pricing and available options for that model year.
Brandon Jones, the Salted Stone strategist behind the configurator project, reflected, “We all asked ourselves, ‘What if we were able to take this idea, a typically expensive project for larger brands, and build it out using HubSpot, at a tenth of the price?’”
Alex Moses, Director of Marketing at Bertram, had a vision for a new configurator tool, having analyzed a range of examples across disparate industries (including marine, automotive, and bicycles). Moses and Salted Stone’s design team first discussed the ideal visual and functional makeup of the desired application, using the compiled examples as models.
“We knew we wanted the configurator on these new pages to be visually clean, and not overwhelming,“ said Melissa De Guzman, Senior Visual Designer at Salted Stone. “The client did their research and knew their audience’s strong preferences for highly accessible UI that’s intuitive even for users who didn’t grow up on the web.”
Ahead of the kickoff, Moses created twenty-four detailed spreadsheets containing the individual, variable components of each of the six boat models - a total of around five hundred selection items. Because each boat contained many individual components within a given category, the development team had to segment a proverbial sea of disparate information to develop an operable configurator with an intuitive front end.
Once the configurator was successfully developed, the Salted Stone team had to decide how best to showcase “progressive” items, or pieces of the application dependent on the selection of other items. Although base boat models themselves come with a wide variety of items that clientele might like, a handful of other add-ons make a base Bertram boat a “premium” version of the product.
“Progressive items were a big priority for us to showcase correctly,” Moses said, “These are among the most expensive options offered to our clients, and we needed to showcase them in a simple, user-friendly, and elegant way. We also wanted to show our audience that our base boat packages are already spec'd to be a premium product, as shown with ‘included as standard’ default options which are also listed in the summary sheet before the user even begins to build their boat in the tool.”
Salted Stone’s Approach
To bring the Build and Price tool to life, the Salted Stone development team used HubDB to create different tables for storing the components of each boat by category, tying them together with a main HubDB table.
Development Team Lead Karen Cagape said, “The main table secured available options for each boat by distinct category. And, in addition to intricately mapping HubDB tables, we also built a global module, one that’s dependent on the main table. That way, the client still has flexibility within each module, but the whole system stays integrated.”
This module allowed internal operations to have full control over the displayed categories and subcategories on each page, as well as the display of progressive fields, for when specific options were selected by clientele. For different boat models, Bertram can control not just the options themselves (which are in the HubDB tables) but how those options are displayed (e.g. is pricing visible, are they progressive options, are they mutually exclusive with other options in the same or a different category, etc).
The final step was to dial in the UI to match the audience preferences Bertram had uncovered. “We essentially applied the kinds of details that help customers navigate the application intuitively,” said Designer Melissa De Guzman, “like tooltips, accordion selectors, and ‘More Information’ tabs to create a seamless user experience.”
The completed Build and Price tool was a two-fold success, for both Bertram’s customers and its internal operations.
“We used multiple hubs to create a highly interactive, front-end experience for customers,” Brandon Jones said. “It gives customers access to the company’s products with the specificity and immediacy previously available to them only in a dealership, which helps create a higher likelihood of sales.”
For Moses and the Bertram team, the use of HubDB in their internal operations has been a game-changer. “It’s really helped simplify the process of updating pricing and options. Having a centralized pricing system provides an added layer of security, and it enables us to have greater oversight and management of our products’ pricing in the marketplace.”
Karen Cagape says. “Personally, I like to see the most challenging aspects of a project come to fruition. And the fact that the finished product helped the client optimize their operations makes all the difference to us at Salted Stone.”
For Bertram, their Build and Price is a seaworthy tool for a business charting a path toward growth.