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Sarah Raven

Supporting Sarah Raven's online growth with BigCommerce.

The Challenge

Sarah Raven had a strong ecommerce site on BlueCommerce which supported its long-established catalogue business. The problem? The BlueCommerce platform was about to be obsolete and they understood that the way forward was through digital if they were going to attract a new customer base. The solution? To find a new agency and platform to support their re-platform and growth online.

The Brand

Sarah Raven is an inspirational and passionate teacher, and has been running cooking, flower arranging, growing and gardening courses at Perch Hill, her farm in East Sussex, and around the country, since 1999. When the Sarah Raven brand was first established in 1999, it began with a seed list. Today, they sell a comprehensive range of seeds, seedlings, plants, and gardening and floristry kits to the general B2C consumer in the home and garden sector.

Choosing BigCommerce as the new home for Sarah Raven

We did an extensive discovery following our usual processes of a project vision session, goal tree and then into story mapping. They had a long list of requirements already provided in an RFP so we took those requirements and went through them one by one to make sure we understood them correctly. We also challenged them to make sure they actually needed the requirement as part of a phase 1 launch.

During the early discovery process, we found out about their mission and vision which was to deliver online growth through best in class UX, whilst continuing to drive customer loyalty. They wanted to improve their product discoverability and optimise their mobile journeys by personalising the experience to their customers and giving them a more guided path to purchase. Of course, their main objective was to simply re-platform off the BluCommerce platform and onto a new platform that would help support their internal teams to do their jobs.

After a lengthy evaluation process, BigCommerce was chosen. It was selected as it was felt that feature-wise it would tick most of the boxes for the Sarah Raven requirements but also, for the size of the team within the business, it was a better fit than Magento. We evaluated both functional and non-functional requirements when making the decision, including a total cost of ownership. 

Magento would have been overkill for the business and they would have been left frustrated by the amount of budget and time required on an annual basis just to support Magento and keep it running. BigCommerce would enable them to focus on trading the platform longer-term and integrating with best of breed technology.

Klevu – the natural choice

As part of the re-platform, Sarah Raven knew they needed an advanced search capability, and we recommended Klevu’s Product Discovery. Sarah Raven has a unique product catalogue; educational content and advice are a massive part of the customer experience.

Klevu Smart Search was a natural choice to support this content strategy as it allows the customer to not only find products they want to buy using search but also to find information and advice in the form of guides and articles.

Delivering a best in-class UX

We used the 4D approach, Discover Design and Design Develop. During the scoping phase, we ran a series of workshops with Sarah Raven that included the design team, the developers, and the business analysts at Space 48, and we worked with Sarah Raven to flesh out the business objectives. 

From the initial discovery process, Sarah Raven wanted a best-in-class UX to optimise mobile journeys and improve product discoverability. During the discovery, we conducted a range of user research with the customers to build empathy and better understand their customer groups and how they identified themselves. We asked eight different questions, and we found that many customers identified themselves as intermediate or rather than experienced gardeners, which helped us understand what we needed to detail the information on the product page. How do we push those key selling points for what the customer wants?

We also reviewed primary data, such as Google Analytics, feedback from company stakeholders and ran competitive benchmarking. In addition to the UX survey, we conducted actual user testing, where it was unmoderated, and we watched people use the site and see where they struggled to put a user script together. That was insightful, and we found customers responding well to visual imagery and helping the users decide what flowers they wanted to buy. This scoping helped us understand what was working and what needed fixing on site. We wanted to avoid putting a design together and repeating the problems that customers already had. The survey showed us that the Sarah Raven customer is loyal and engaged. Many customers loved the imagery shot visually and didn’t want anything to change. So we had to respect this and not disrupt the UX too much during the redesign by creating something trailblazing because simplicity was key. Sarah Raven also has a lot of older-generation customers who need a simple user journey. 

Customer messaging was a key focus to consider to understand the plants available through the seasons. Many customers needed help finding products that were actually in stock. 

We started the design phase with wireframe workshops, starting with the Sarah Raven team to map where the customer messages and content would go on the page before we started the actual design process. 

Sarah Raven took this opportunity to give its brand a refresh. It was integral to have the Sarah Raven team as part of the design process to ensure they were happy with where the brand was moving. As this was all done remotely, we chose an iterative process where we’d deliver designs to the Sarah Raven team as and when they were ready and used Envisions to capture the feedback and amends. We created a digital style guide that pulled out the design’s key components, and then Sarah Raven could apply them to the BigCommerce out-of-the-box templates across the site for consistency. 

“Anyone looking to do a complete redesign simultaneously, I’d highly recommend that approach because it’s more of an iterative and agile process than all-encompassing. Working with Space 48, you captured everything we needed for the discovery phase. So, going into the design phase, we could hit the ground running because we already knew what we wanted to achieve.” – Ash, Sarah Raven

Swipe to see the before and after!

Before the website redesign

A new design that inspires customers

The results are in

The customer experience we have created shines through the site. Creating a secure re-platform to BigCommerce, improving UX for shoppers, and weaving inspirational content into each site area. Space 48 is pleased to continue its relationship with Sarah Raven in its new and exciting growth phase with BigCommerce and to deliver an exceptional customer journey and best-in-class site.

Increase in mobile conversions
increase in transactions from search
increase in revenue
reduction in cart abandonment

“I know how complicated Sarah Raven is and the amount of moving parts, Alex and Sam have been dreams to work with, and I am over the moon they will continue to be our go-tos post-go-live.

Also, it’s worth noting just how incredible the process has been given the pandemic, lockdowns, school closures etc – The team has supported us on every level and nothing has ever been a problem.

I’m delighted to be partnered with Space 48 and looking forward to what the future brings for Sarah Raven and Space 48.

Thank you again, and so glad that we picked an awesome team to work with.”

Sarah Raven Logo Ash Pallett
Senior Digital and Ecommerce Manager, Sarah Raven

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