Sony PlayStation revolutionised the gaming world with groundbreaking entertainment, revolutionary graphics and gameplay. It delivers unbelievable experiences and incredible adventures allowing players to delve into new worlds with access to whole universes in the palm of their hands. With a growing network of 80-million active users, Sony PlayStation is celebrated for its innovative products and services. Sony turned to Dept with the vision of allowing its global audience from all corners of the world to purchase their official merchandise.
Through integrating the range of digital expertise within Dept, the PlayStation Gear merchandising platform was born and released throughout Europe. CentreSoft, the UK’s leading multi-format specialist distributor of video games, contracted Dept for the project on behalf of Sony.
Dept strategists analysed the logistics of the retail venture, whilst our creative and technical craftsmen designed and built a bespoke e-commerce platform that boasts a truly interactive online shopping experience. The marketing team optimises the website, ensuring optimal performance and search visibility for the brand new domain. Launch campaigns were executed to introduce the storefront, engage with target audiences and increase traffic.
The Strategy: Merging Gameplay With Online Shopping
Taking UX To The Next Level
Dept was tasked with creating an action-packed e-commerce storefront for PlayStation’s official merchandise. When designing the platform, the team considered how PlayStation engaged with users in the past and adopted the look and feel of its video games within the e-commerce platform. Intuitive carousels and widgets, that provide the user with information in a slick manner, were implemented sitewide. Immersive content was showcased for those that wanted it, and easy user paths are available for those that don’t, combining the needs for gamers and gifters alike.
With modular website design, the e-commerce storefront appears unique, fun and engaging throughout, yet maintains a level of familiarity for the user. Playful videos and animations were incorporated on the homepage and advanced through to game-specific collections, featured products and individual items listings.
High-quality, game-inspired imagery is showcased throughout the website. It’s made interactive with subtle animations during the buying journey, as a creative tactic to excite avid gamers and add a new dimension to the products themselves. The ‘coming soon’ and ‘wishlist’ features allow users to be the first to get notified when new releases hit the shelves. They also encourage game enthusiasts to document their favourite products and share their finds over social media.
Code For International Conquest
The new PlayStation Gear website was meticulously planned with UX specialists wireframing the website structure, user journeys, and key functional elements that our architects would later develop. The approach was to design and build a truly engaging e-commerce website, that aligned harmoniously with the rich media interfaces gamers were familiar interacting with.
The development of the platform was no small task, involving full internal API system integrations including stock control, logistics and inventory management.
The website was rolled out across multiple territories, providing localised transactional functionality alongside translated content. The PlayStation Gear platform functions dynamically across every screen size including mobile devices, tablets, desktops, laptops and TVs via consoles. Rigorous testing is continuously being done to ensure this and incorporate emerging systems.
It was important for the platform to stay in-line with PlayStation’s original branding that gamers internationally know and love, yet stand out as a place to purchase clothing, accessories, collectibles and speciality game merchandise.
While brands most often stipulate that particular colours and fonts must be used, Sony’s brand guidelines were much more rigorous, with the design team having to follow guidelines on calls to actions, pagination style, HTML links, icons, imagery and image crops, and so on. The challenge was embraced as an opportunity for our creative and technical teams to further collaborate with Sony PlayStation.
Several elements tied to user interface (UI) were crafted, such as effects to amplify hovers, transitions, depth, call to action buttons, widget tools and so on. All of these elements were custom made, bespoke for Sony PlayStation and packaged as their official brand guidelines which, in due course, will be incorporated throughout their brand portfolio of existing and emerging websites across the globe, setting the benchmark for all Sony PlayStation’s websites.
Collaborating with Sony PlayStation to design, build, and launch a new multilingual e-commerce storefront throughout Europe was a massive achievement for Dept. The entire build from wireframes and planning, through to coding and tactical implementation took less than 6 months to complete, as the project was expedited in order to be live for the world’s largest gaming conference, E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo, and to partake in Sony PlayStation’s annual ‘Days of Play’ campaign. The initial release of PlayStation Gear was highly successful and laid a solid foundation for continued growth.
- High search visibility: Prior to launch, as a brand new domain, playstation-gear.com had no visibility on search engines. Using a range of tools to monitor site performance, conduct behavioural analyses and optimise accordingly, the website is now approaching 3 million sessions. Over 650, 000 sessions are from organic search and almost 500, 000 are from paid search, as a result of executing organic and paid campaigns; the channels work in tandem, ensuring PlayStation Gear is positioned in a prime position within the search engines.
- Organic search reach: PlayStation Gear has grown in organic visibility for a range of brand, product and generic search queries since its launch. Each version of the multilingual platform appeared in over 2k core search queries which were instrumental in driving traffic and conversions. With over 650 root domains link to the website providing 76k+ backlinks, organic visibility is continuing to grow. In a single month alone, organic search has driven 82k sessions to the site.
Since launching in May 2017, PlayStation Gear has won multiple awards and is continuously praised in the gaming-community and over social media. Working in an agile way, under such a tight deadline, has strengthened Dept’s relationship with Sony and has led to a long-term partnership.
Dept continues to manage the PlayStation Gear platform with digital marketing, website updates and technical solutions. Looking ahead, the next endeavour for PlayStation Gear is to continue expanding the platform throughout Europe; working towards the merchandising venture’s overarching goal of providing gamers worldwide with an exclusive range of premium clothing, accessories, gifts, and collectibles.