Helmer Scientific: Propelling a midmarket healthcare brand to the top of its market.

Delivering operational efficiency and premium brand positioning to a B2B laboratory equipment company bringing mission critical medical refrigeration and laboratory equipment to the world.

Project Highlights

Helmer Scientific is a growing manufacturer of specialty laboratory refrigerators, centrifuges and other equipment serving customers in the healthcare and life sciences industries.  They had outgrown their previous web platform and were looking to up their digital marketing game by combining content and commerce, streamlining their operations through integration and automation and better serving their customers both in the US and worldwide.  We started with a series of strategy sessions to learn more about their customers and needs, then we rolled up our sleeves to lay a design and technical foundation which will grow with them for years to come.  This was a truly deep implementation of content + commerce implemented in what we like to think of as a ‘kitchen sink’ site pulling out all of the stops to deliver all that Drupal 8 and Drupal Commerce has to offer.    

Key Features

  • Mobile Responsiveness
  • Translation into 10 languages (initially)
  • 4 product types
  • Faceted search (you know, the search pages with the check boxes)
  • Custom price lists integrated with ERP.


  • Drupal 8
  • Drupal Commerce 2
  • Acquia Cloud Platform with PCI compliance
  • Lots of modules and elbow grease. 

Key integrations

  • Custom built Dynamics CRM/ERP Integration for orders, customers and custom price lists.
  • Learn more about how we integrate with outside systems.
  • Hubspot Integration
  • Lingotek Translation Integration
  • Avalara Avatax Integration
  • UPS Integration
  • SendGrid email integration

The Challenge

Helmer’s principal product line consists of medical-grade refrigeration systems with mission critical features such as redundant compressors and thermostats.  Imagine buying a freezer used to maintain one-of-a-kind medical research samples with incalculable consequences should the freezer go bust.  When we got started and conducted competitive research, we observed that their presentation of these premium products was in-line with small general refrigeration companies which just happened to sell into the medical market.  Furthermore, as we looked up-market, we didn’t find much competition until we reached the stratospherically large multi-billion dollar competitors.  So, looking at this project from a birds-eye view, our objective was to re-position the presentation of Helmer and it’s products as the premium, truly medical-grade option for clinical laboratories and research facilities.  

Internationally, Helmer had created a network of distributors allowing it to sell into a broad swath of Europe and Asia; however, select products were restricted from sale in certain countries due to licensing and regulatory considerations.  Helmer sought to better serve their international customers and distributors while seamlessly targeting products by country to keep their presentation pertinent.

Finally, from a technical and operational perspective, the Helmer team put a lot of time and effort into mundane, repetitive data entry tasks such as manual order entry.  Customer experience and operational efficiency suffered due to the separation of content and commerce into two distinct sites which did not talk to each other.  For instance, users logged into the commerce system no longer saw their account information if they visited the primary web site. 

In a nutshell, Helmer was looking to gain operational efficiencies, present their brand as the choice for mission critical medical grade refrigeration and set themselves up for long term growth both domestically and internationally. 

The Solution

As we do with many of our clients, we started this project with a discovery effort to learn more about their company, their customers and their brand.  This consisted of a series of content strategy exercises including persona development, empathy mapping, voice-and-tone exercises and culminating in a site map, list of features and key activities and project plan.  This ensured that we would be building the right thing to address the key needs of the company and the client through the project and informed the rest of the project.  From there, our design team laid out the user experience, then the visual designs carrying forward the themes and addressing the needs laid out in the strategy sessions.  Our development team took over from there to build the site using Drupal 8 and the Acquia Cloud platform.

In order to address the needs of the international customer, we translated the site into 10 languages using Drupal 8’s translation tools and the integrated Lingotek automated translation service.  We also integrated Acquia Cloud’s IP localization services in order to limit the display of products by country to ensure global product compliance.  Furthermore, we created a distributor portal to enable distributors to see documents and pages meant only for them.  

In order to address the need for operational efficiency, we created a custom integration with Helmer’s Dynamics CRM system.  All orders are sent to their CRM system in a fault-tolerant manner for order processing and management.   Integrations with Avalara’s Avatax service and the client’s UPS account ensure accurate calculation of taxes and shipping costs.  

A lot of pieces needed to come together to deliver on the challenges presented to us and now Helmer is up and running on their platform and seeing results.

The Results

Three months after launch, the client saw a 21% increase in organic search traffic resulting in both a 40% jump in lead submissions for their primary products and a 34% boost in qualified leads.  Sales of parts and accessories at that time was up 35% and overall revenue was up 30%.  Bounce rate had come down by 28% while time on site has remained flat.

In the eleven months since the project launched, the client has recognized a staggering 60% increase in e-commerce revenue, exceeding all expectations.

This was a challenging project with many moving parts; however, we shudder to think what it would have taken on any other platform.  In the future, we look forward to bringing more of Helmer’s transactions into e-commerce by adding key features as the company grows.  This project as much as any we have done shows the capabilities of Drupal and what can be accomplished with careful planning and execution. 

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