A Manchester grown pureplay ecommerce retailer, Military 1st has seen extraordinary growth in the 10 years since its inception thanks to its innovative range, focused digital strategy, and stellar customer service reviews. Military 1st were looking for a multi-site replatforming solution that would provide the stability, scalability and performance to underpin its substantial international growth projections.
With the client’s steep growth trajectory and commitment to stay at the cutting edge of ecommerce trends, the challenge for Space 48 was to design a new website that enhanced existing bespoke functionality while maintaining scalability and addressing much needed performance improvements.
Maintain continued growth
- Provide a stable platform to facilitate an ambitious international ecommerce rollout plan;
- Address poor site speeds; and provide a bespoke solution for Military 1st's product data structure whilst delivering excellent performance and usability.
- Full re-design of the website with a particular focus on attaining a UX that is unparalleled by the competition.
Having previously worked with a proprietary platform, Military 1st identified Magento 2 as the best fit solution on the market due to the flexibility and scalability of its open source platform, as well as the control available to the in-house team through the admin panel. On the back of successful Magento 2 launches earlier in the year, long-term Magento Partner Space 48 was selected as the agency to realise the vision for the new Military 1st website design and build.
Phase 1 of the project saw the launch of a 5 website solution servicing UK, USA, Australia, Europe and Ireland. Future phases will see the rapid sequential rollout of further international stores, all run from the same Magento installation.
Magento Cloud Hosting - Hosted on Magento’s very own AWS based cloud hosting solution for a joined up Magento experience.
Multi Store Solution - 5 websites running off one Magento 2 installation with planned Phase 2 expansion to multi lingual stores.
Country Specific Offering - Country specific categories and range, with SEO-friendly country and language-specific URLs.
Bespoke Swatches Solution - A bespoke swatches solution for Military 1st’s unique range requirements with a focus on UX and performance.
Machine Learning Enhancements - Integration with SLI and Nosto learning platforms via Magento 2 extensions to exploit the power of machine learning for search and marketing.
Enhanced Ecommerce - Enhanced analytics functionality built into the website, giving greater insight for CRO.
Product Feeds - Flexible data feed management module to generate feeds for Google Shopping, Adwords, Display Network and Criteo; with the flexibility to easily add more feeds as required.
Responsive Grid Framework with Responsive Images - Responsive blocks/grid system to allow Military 1st to build highly customised CMS pages using simple HTML.
Volo Integration - Integration with VOLO multichannel management service.
Dotmailer and Zendesk Integration - For personalised marketing, abandoned basket emails and live chat.
Bespoke UX enrichment - Including size guides, pagination, quick view, improved product page carousel and better catalogue filtering.
The Design & UX
Military 1st was incredibly frustrated by his old website due to its inflexibility especially when it came to enrichment, as a result, it was providing a progressively poor experience to its users as time passed.
- Improved pagination behaviour
- Improved filtered navigation for mobile and desktop
- Responsive mobile first layouts
- Improved mobile navigation
- Size guide pop-ups
- Improved product page gallery with tap swipe, image zoom, video and light-box features
- Nosto intelligent cross and upsells.
- UX general best practices
During the discovery phase we uncovered the following challenges:
A mix of European and international garment sizes and users - because both the users and products could be from a number of different countries and therefore used to/supplied in a number of different type of garment sizing we decided to include the size guide pop up as a priority feature. This feature allows every product to have information about the garment size and its conversion for different countries, position in a way that does not obstruct the purchase flow for users who don't need it and is easily accessible for users who do.
The need for more merchandising opportunities on a responsive website with limited access to frontend skills - we always design our sites around our customers and their capabilities. In this case, the challenge was to allow the client the most flexibility without creating a burden for their team. The solution was to design a reusable, responsive grid that could be easily used in a number of different ways to build on brand responsive layouts within the CMS areas.
For this project, we also produced a range of example merchandising assets giving their team design direction that they can refer back to. This has helped them to preserve and enhance the design when creating their content.
How best to elevate the brand without affecting the brand placement - it was important to still appeal to the core audience and not have the brand appear to be too high end or too different. The design we produced is modern, well designed and uses UX best practices without creating the wrong impression of the price point. Keeping certain common elements from the old website also played an important role in keeping the new design recognisable.
Nosto intelligent cross and up-sells - during design we also looked at where and how the use of Nosto would be the most beneficial to users.
A complete redesign and build followed by a seamless launch in five countries
Following a very successful launch Military 1st has enjoyed a smooth segue into trading on the new platform with seamless continuation of their operations and customer service. The in-house team has found working on the new platform transformative for operations and range management, and early indications suggest significant improvements in metrics such as average order value, conversion and bounce rates. Site speed improvements have been among the most notable and these enhancements go hand-in-hand with significant increases in conversion rates.
Phase 1 of the re-platforming exercise has comprehensively delivered on design, UX, functionality and performance. Industry feedback on the new website has been excellent.
Phase 2 of the project - the rollout of multiple country specific translated sites - is now well underway with the launch of more European stores planned for later this year.