Cotswold Collections came to C3 with an unstable and tired eCommerce site that could only be updated by a past provider. The platform was not in a position to capture the growing demand for online shopping in their niche target market.

Cotswold Collections recognised a shift in consumer behaviour, seeing Internet and mobile device literacy begin to grow within their target demographic. Spending 9 hours and 12 minutes per week online, with 19% of over 65s in the UK buying their clothes online, now was the time for Cotswold Collections to turn things around.

With the assistance of C3, Cotswold Collections realigned their sales strategy, moving focus from being predominantly a mail order service, to providing a mobile-friendly online eCommerce presence. C3 delivered a Magento website that enabled Cotswold Collections to regain control of their content, meet the needs of the end user and deliver a seamless mobile-friendly experience that would see sales grow by 58% in the first year post go-live.

OBJECTIVES

  • Create a stable backend system
  • Create a mobile-friendly user journey
  • Increase online sales
  • Increase customer satisfaction

CHALLENGE

Providing a reliable solution

Being predominantly a mail order business, the client had a powerful back-office system. This software was responsible for the stock, orders, and customer management; it was effectively the brains of the operational process. The old website’s link to this system was unreliable. There was little fault tolerance within the previous system, causing extra procedural tasks for admin staff and therefore operational inefficiencies. The new website build would have to address these issues by providing a reliable and secure link to the back-office system, sharing data in real-time, helping Cotswold Collections to retain and grow their much valued customer base.

User experience

The client’s customer base is of a mature age, which meant that identifying the optimum designs to enhance usability was key. Reports have shown that in over 65s, tablet usage is up to 42% of all Internet users in that demographic. That, coupled with the increase in Internet usage across other devices, meant that a responsive design which delivered a seamless user experience on mobile and desktop was key to capturing and growing Cotswold Collections's online audience.

STRATEGY

Building stability, function and form for a future-proof website

The primary strategy was to create a new eCommerce website using the Magento platform that was both feature-filled and future-proof. Designed with an easy to use CMS, the site’s content could be managed solely in-house. Our focus was on designing and building a site that would be both comprehensive in its functionality, whilst also being agile: built on a system that was feature rich, but would allow the roll out of new functionality with minimum hassle, ensuring that the client did not get trapped again with an aging software system.

A message queuing system was developed to handle communication between the website and the back-office system. This system would have fault tolerance designed in at its core, to eliminate data loss and minimise lost custom.

Desktop, tablet and smartphone wireframes and process flows would be drawn up to ensure front end usability remained at the forefront of the project, which would then be taken through to design and build.

SOLUTION

From concept, to delivery and beyond

C3 took Cotswold Collections through from concept, to delivery and beyond; designing, building, and supporting the site since its go live. As Magento comes bundled with a vast array of functionality, it was the perfect platform of choice for the project. C3 focussed on matching the client’s specific requirements against Magento’s functionality, providing a powerful software framework.

On top of this framework we delivered a custom, mobile-friendly interface, designed to allow effortless selection of products and their options. Built in the form of a matrix, product colours and sizes displayed in an easy to interpret tabular format, with clear graphical indicators of stock levels and lead times. This design addressed the needs of the target market, providing an easy to navigate, point-and-click layout that would draw the customer through from product awareness to purchase.

To facilitate a secure and reliable connection between the in-house system and the Cotswold Collections website, C3 implemented a number of advanced features, including the vital two-way communication link required to capture, communicate and process all transactions. For this, a message queuing system was created that would store messages locally, sending them to the back-office system when it was online. In the event of a communication breakdown, such as a drop in Internet, messages would resume being sent once the link was restored.

In addition to providing a user friendly, feature rich site, we were also able to provide Cotswold Collections with the reassurance that their new site could be easily modified and extended in line with future technologies due to Magento’s open source system.

RESULTS

The new website provides a visually appealing, stable portal for new and existing customers to browse and place orders in the confidence that the orders will be received.

The custom designed connection linking the back-office system with the new website has proved to be a huge success. Data is now being exchanged in real-time and data loss is down to 0% - a huge improvement on the daily data loss previously experienced.

Due to the improvements in usability and the introduction of features such as the product matrix, customers have found the new website to be far more appealing, shown through:

  • 58% increase in sales in the first year post launch
  • A dramatic reduction in support queries related to the website
  • Customers saying how much better the browsing and buying experience has become

We approached C3 to provide our company with a new eCommerce platform and online strategic direction. They designed, built, and still support the website today. Highly recommended.

Chris West - IT Manager, Cotswold Collections

Increase in web orders since 2011

pre Magento
  • 2011
using Magento
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015

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