July 17, 2020

How to Future-proof Your eCommerce Business

Aynsley Peet, Head of eCommerce at Cox & Cox, spoke at our Retail & eCommerce Digital Marketing Spotlight last month. Here is a breakdown of his talk on why you should be using an eCommerce platform, and the technologies you can implement off the back of them. You can watch the full presentation here. 

Cox & Cox were using Magento 1 to run their eCommerce store, as well as their ERP and warehouse systems. As a business they were growing 20 per cent YOY and couldn’t have a Magento 1 store running all of these additional technologies at the same time, so they took the decision to look at what else they could do to grow their business.

Their key challenges were:

  • To ensure that the website was mobile friendly.
  • The web design needed a refresh as theirs was looking dated – a lot of their competitors were launching new websites that looked fresh and innovative.
  • SEO was a key marketing channel for them, so they wanted to take the move as an opportunity to focus on digital marketing to ensure the business could be growing across different channels.

The key to this project was that all these technologies had to go live on the same day, and the “go live” had to be seamless.

So how did they do it?

Their approach to the project was to set out key project and design objectives. The main objectives were:

  • New mobile navigation.
  • New site search.
  • Personalised content.
  • Customisable products.

Results and business impact

Growth in site traffic YOY from 2017/18 to 2018/19

  • Page views: 13 per cent increase.
  • Pages per session: three per cent increase.
  • Average session duration: two per cent increase.
  • Bounce rate: six per cent decrease.

Strong revenue growth YOY from 2017/18 to 2018/19

  • Website revenue: 30 per cent increase.
  • Website conversion rate: two per cent increase.
  • Number of transactions: 15 per cent increase.
  • Average order value: 13 per cent increase.

Mobile performance YOY from 2017/18 to 2018/19

  • Mobile revenue: 50 per cent increase.
  • Mobile conversion rate: one per cent increase.
  • Number of transactions: 33 per cent increase.
  • Organic search: 34 per cent increase.

Tips and lessons learned

1. Work with and listen to a Magento or systems integrator you trust. Look to build a long-term relationship – if you’re undergoing lots of development projects, you want to be able to work quickly and efficiently.

2. Approach the project with a growth mindset both in terms of technology and design. It’s a great opportunity to develop new features and to start afresh, and to build on your brand and ideas.

3. Plan and budget well in advance to optimise project scope while minimising the impact to ongoing business. Always look to get contracts signed well in advance of work starting, and always add a contingency in terms of the project size and scope.

4. Establish clear, universally-followed project processes to minimise confusion. It’s good to establish guidelines to improve efficiencies.

5. Complete the design sign-off ahead of starting the website build. You don’t want to be in a position where you’re in development and you’re still tweaking the designs – it just adds to delays, frustration, and cost.

6. Do not underestimate scale and scope, particularly on complex integrations. Integrations are typically complex in terms of payment gateways, order syncs, and product syncs so look to get this working as quickly as you can but always allow for delays. You’re often working with multiple providers and partners to try to get this right.

7. Allow time for third-party integrations. Generally this was the biggest problem for Cox & Cox in terms of lining up all the procedures, as they had to have a payment gateway ready before they could process the orders. Try to plan ahead as best you can.

8. Test, test, and test. It may not always work perfectly, but if you don’t make your features live you’ll never understand your learnings or improve as a business.

With all projects, you just have to go for it in order to fully understand the projects and to grow as a business. Without undertaking these projects, you’ll never really see that growth.