What’s in a website?
For an eCommerce or multichannel merchant, literally everything.
It’s fair to say that most online retailers worth their salt understand that the look, functionality and scope of what is effectively their storefront and their store all in one collectively constitute their singular means of building, maintaining and expanding their customer base and — just as importantly — differentiating themselves from the competition.
More complicated than simply comprehending that reality, however — particularly for a merchant whose business is on the rise — is the challenge of how to grow the capabilities and reach of a digital shop without sacrificing the established brand, alienating consumers or, frankly, overwhelming itself.
Recently, the Denver-based high-end lingerie retailer SOL found itself in the position of needing to upgrade its online platform in order to facilitate revenue growth and more successfully engage its customers. Towards these ends, the unique brand (which prides itself, for one, on its bra-fitting expertise) sought an enhanced visual design with greater system performance and scalability. For guidance, SOL sought the commerce solutions company by the same name — Guidance — and started its online journey looking for inspiration in the most unlikely of places: SOL’s physical store.
Guidance feels strongly that for a merchant that has a physical store presence — and, therefore, brand identity — that exists in concert with its digital operation, revving up the online experience in a way that is complementary to the in-store experience is key. So, first up was a visit to the SOL store in Denver to immerse itself in the customer experience firsthand. This process laid the groundwork for the new visuals, intuitive navigation and editorial tone — including copy and a customer-interactive content strategy — that was instrumental to the new online experience.
And then a funny thing happened: SOL doubled its online revenue in fall 2015 when compared to fall 2014.
What determines the effectiveness of an online retail store is, of course, the customer experience. Guidance improved that for SOL on the Magento 2 platform on two levels: first, by addressing the core elements, like the product listing page, product detail pages and checkout; and then, through elements that were (and are) specific to SOL’s brand voice and product offerings, such as engaging editorial content and interactive features (related to research, fitting information and learning about SOL’s bra-fitting experts from their personal profiles).
“We now have a beautifully designed site in three short months on the next-generation Magento platform that provides all of the features, flexibility and scalability we need at a very reasonable cost,” remarked Jeanie Peterson, co-owner of SOL.
“Looking forward from this point,” Peterson remarked, “we’re really excited for the great results we will achieve with Magento 2 in 2016.”
Peterson’s optimism regarding the future of her business online just underscores what any growing eCommerce merchant seeks to achieve — because, as it turns out, the website is everything.