Taking on an existing platform that has grown, shifted and changed over many years and many different team members is always a challenge. Our client had inherited an outdated, bloated version of e-commerce software, Spree. Previously developers had hard-coded core packages, which made creating and updating on-site content an absolute nightmare without a developer. Also, their returns platform and manufacturing tools were strongly connected to Spree, making updating versions a fragile and costly endeavour.
They were preparing for future funding and needed to ensure the platform was lean and scalable. Hello Human was engaged to make creating and updating content streamlined and super easy, so that is could be done by editors, not developers.
Jumping into the project, we had to understand the client's area of business as quickly as possible. We researched each business department, all the way from dress design through merchandising (how products are sold online) and eventually to manufacturing and customer support. By understanding these different areas, we were able to come up with an approach that could improve the overall customer experience with minimal downtime.
To allow easy editing, we implemented Contentful CMS (Content Management System). Contentful allows you to create content models that can be easily re-usable throughout any part of the site. Contentful is also headless, which means the CMS is housed in the cloud, providing content via API’s to their front-end. Headless gives you less bloat than a full solution, where you might only use a fraction of the features they provide. It gives you more control but doesn’t force you to conform to another company’s technical approach and methodology - in short, it's more developer-friendly.
This approach allowed the merchandising teams to manage and update their own content with zero development effort, something that had previously taken up 70% of the team’s time.
To offer 'limitless' customisations we built a customisable dress platform from scratch that could then integrate into the new front end. This new platform had to allow for their unique way of customisation, resulting in upwards of an incredible 65 million combinations.
This approach mixed a combination of 3D renders and actual 'on-body’ photos with live models to present a preview of your selected options. This came with challenges, especially with how renders are combined and presented on the fly. Interested? Take a deep dive into our technical case study.
With the previous platform relying on hard-coded content and a tightly coupled front/back end, things like A/B testing and making minor changes to content or imagery was next to impossible. By moving to a more modern architecture along with a Headless CMS, they were now able to run experiments and changes themselves without any development effort.
With the platform now developed to make editing the site accessible to non-developers, we re-imagined how merchandising and promotions worked.
Using a mixture of Spree, the new dress platform and Contentful content pages, our developers were able to import products into the Contentful content management system, allowing any content editor to pick items that should be included on new content pages, or promoted in search pages. Developers were now not required to create promotional content or to promote top-selling products. It could be done in a fraction of the time it took previously.
Our client was able to continue evolving into a pivotal and iterative company. Their approach to content was now managed by the editors, saving time and costs and giving more time for the business to focus on its product suite and an ongoing pursuit of quality and sustainability.