As the shift to digital has been accelerated by the covid-19 pandemic, ecommerce has remained buoyed as more shoppers continue with the online buying behaviours they formed during lockdown and continue to choose digital as their shopping channel of choice. This, combined with fast-moving changes not only in the pandemic itself but also in consumers’ buying behaviours, has made predicting – and being able to respond to and accommodate – online demand fluctuations increasingly challenging.
What was once a retail calendar of planned seasonal events and carefully orchestrated marketing campaigns to drive planned demand onto site is now a series of unexpected peaks in unplanned demand. From the panic buying we saw as the nation locked down in March, to new ‘sell out’ items sparking unexpected category performance and emerging demand triggers, retailers know their ecommerce platforms need to be robust enough to expect the unexpected, all while being optimised and agile enough to upholding customer experience on-site to drive sales.
Finding a pathway to optimise a website for enhanced customer experience (CX), while ensuring its robustness remains intact, is something we’ve been working with our partner, Astound Commerce, on for the last four years.
Originally collaborating with joint customers, Mothercare and Thorntons, four years ago, we quickly realised the ‘fit’ not just technically, but also culturally. Astound Commerce are all about delivering the best-of-breed technology to help drive long-term business performance and enhanced customer experience, which sits at the heart of our ethos of being ‘together for better digital journeys’, by reducing risk and delivering assurance within digital transformation through load testing.
Fast forward to 2020 and we’ve now completed our 4th project, this time for Sally Beauty’s Pro Duo brand as it upgraded its French and German ecommerce sites to create modern, agile and responsive trading platforms designed to increase conversions.
Astound Commerce designed and delivered a solution, configuring and integrating both SalesForce Commerce Cloud and multiple third-party applications, to provide improved online experiences for shoppers. Despite the onset of the covid-19 pandemic and disruption this caused to business globally, the project ran to time with both sites going live in March, thanks to the custom ‘Reference Application’, designed by Astound Commerce, which allows multiple brands and locations to leverage the central code base, to ensure swift site launches. We worked closely with Astound to test the site before launch, which ensured it was robust enough to deliver the UX required, adding value to the commerce ecosystem by enriching customer journeys and improving website performance.
Our combined experience in working together now gives retailers the assurance that their risk is mitigated during digital transformation journeys, meaning customer experience isn’t impacted and sales opportunities aren’t lost.