The Mint replaced an old customer ordering system and a launched a mobile app to improve its online and mobile experience for demanding coin collectors and dealers.
By Rahul Bali
Federal News Radio
It is not pocket change.
The United States Mint is responsible for producing 18 to 20 billion coins a year for the Federal Reserve that are used every day by citizens.
But it’s the coin collectors and dealers who buy commemorative and bullion coins that have pushed the Mint to make major changes in its online presence.
For those collectors and dealers, the public face of the United States Mint has transitioned catalog books to the agency’s website.
In recent years, that website had been become a difficult experience for customers.
So the Mint decided to replace its ordering system and put out a request for bids.
In the middle of that process, the Treasury Department bureau hired Lauren Buschor as its chief information officer. She said her primary focus when she came on board in December 2013 was replacing the customer ordering system.
“It was 14 years old. It was very antiquated, hardware as well as software. There was a very poor public perception of the system. A lot of customer complaints. Just because of the way the system was operating,” she said.
In May 2014, Joe Gioeli also came on board at the agency as a technical advisor.
Even though he was not involved in the decision, Gioeli agreed with the move to replace the ordering system.
“It was the right decision, based upon the fact that it was antiquated. You can’t find parts for a 1950s jalopy, so you are not going to find parts for this old, deprecated system. It was also part of the federal modernization effort…….. And it was what we need to do to stay up with the progress of our business and meeting the needs and satisfaction was for our customers,” he said.
The upgrade wasn’t just a technology problem, but both Buschor and Gioeli say there were things in the process they wanted changed too.
First, Buschor was concerned about some of the performance standards, specifically the high demand times during the first few days when the Mint released a new collectable coin.
More importantly, she wanted to make sure the data migration between the old and new systems went smoothly.
“The thought process was initially that the old data from the old system could be migrated post implementation of the new system. I insisted that it get migrated pre only because it is better to do it that way. It minimizes questions about the data if you do it post,” Buschor said.
Buschor said they were successful in migrating the data before launching the new customer ordering system and that it gave the staff a high level of confidence going into the launch of the new site.
Last month, the Mint launched a mobile app for customers to buy products.
Buschor said the app is “vital opportunity to connect with our customers in a way that is increasingly more in tune with how they live and work in today’s mobile environment. In doing so, we were able to offer a better shopping experience for our customers.”
Buschor and Gioeli say a mobile app built on the momentum of the launch of the new ordering system is one of the keys to launching the MyUSMint app, which the new ordering system had the ability to integrate with.
Gioeli said with the new ordering system “basically there were native integrations we spec’d out in there, that we knew we could use in conjunction with the app. And that is really part of the success of the app is having those integrations ready and available.”
According to the Mint, the MyUSMint app has had 6,932 Apple Store downloads and 3,789 Google Play downloads from the July 15th launch date through August 12th.