Revamping the digital services of the Publications and Data Solutions Service of the World Customs Organization

  • 17 Nov 2021

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A new online database for the Harmonized System, Origin and Valuation and a challenging project for SMILE!


When you happen to represent 183 customs administrations that process around 98% of world trade on the planet, you should benefit from an efficient, secure, customer oriented digital ecosystem. The World Customs Organization (WCO) required us to handle their application assets and launch a new online tool that gathers all the necessary information for international trade players:


This large-scale project meets 3 main objectives:

  • Replacing obsolete applications with new modern and up-to-date tools, including the migration of a complex and large set of data
  • Building bridges between all the content available for WCO customers (freemium and on subscription)
  • Adjusting WCO services offer to customers’ uses worldwide, among states, administrations and the private sector


With such an important project in mind, the WCO chose to work with SMILE for its experience of both digital and e-commerce platforms, its technical expertise in open source and its capacity to audit and deliver within the time limits.



Moving forward towards modernization and customer experience


Let us provide a little bit of context. The World Customs Organization provides prescriptive content services to several typologies of users. Customs officers, central customs services, private customs brokers, import and export experts and business lawyers make use of the WCO tools for custom duties, import taxes, product rules, trade law updates, etc. The WCO used to work with 3 different databases and was eager to launch a single platform that would allow their end users to get direct access to the global standards they are looking for (Harmonized System, Rules of Origin and Valuation).


This new user-centric interface was an exciting challenge for SMILE teams who relied on Drupal 8, a CMS both flexible and strong enough to support content management and connection between several databases. After an UX/UI audit, it took a year to create and customize the platform and after 13 months of intense and rapid development, WCO Trade Tools went live on March 1st, 2021.

Read WCO press release: Launch of WCO Trade Tools, a new online database for the Harmonized System, Origin and Valuation


Among the new features offered by SMILE, there also is a single access to all content of the Harmonized System via a Single sign on (SSO) application powered by WSO2. Enabling easy logins was part of WCO strategy to improve user experience.


Florent Sabourin, Managing director of Smile BENELUX, states: “The assignment WCO trusted SMILE to carry out let us express our unique ability to bring together a large international team with various skill sets (from UX to Infrastructure), in order to create a lovable digital platform.”




WCO Publications & Data Solutions are now just a click away!


Simultaneously launched with WCO Trade Tools, the Publications and Data Solution Service released a completely revamped bookshop. This bookshop hosts all WCO publications: books, CD-ROM, online courses, online databases and services, etc. Designed as an e-commerce website via Drupal Commerce, this new intuitive bookshop is meant to ease access to specific media and allow additional purchases.


Smile has been active in B2B and B2C commerce for more than 15 years, helping out multiple sectors (like retail, fashion, healthcare, chemicals, automotive…) to make the most out of the ever growing digital audience.



Better browsing and easy access to information


In a month's time, the WCO has noticed an increase in the number of people who connect every day, and already 45% of users have onboarded on the new portal. They spend more time online and tend to use more tools each time.


Samuel Péron, Head of WCO Publications and Data Solutions concludes: “It was a first for WCO to work with Smile, and the decision to partner up was taken as they ticked all required boxes, on paper. We were very happy to see that Smile respected all the commitment given at that time, the team went deep in understanding our data and process complexity and went all the extra miles to make the project a success, and the product a solution adapted to our business needs.”