The Internet has taken over the world. Today, customers are increasingly starting their buying experiences online, doing research on the Internet even if they end up going to a brick-and-mortar store to make a purchase.
This trend means that organizations need to invest in a great online presence, making sure that their website is inviting and informative, giving customers a taste of what they'd expect when they walk into a retail store.
LUSH Cosmetics recognizes the important role that its Web presence has on its customers. The cosmetics company, which sells handmade products online and in more than 700 retail stores across 45 countries, wanted to develop rich user experiences for its customers across its different Web properties. LUSH's business leaders were aware that customers expect a seamless, fun, and positive shopping experience both when navigating the website and when walking into a retail location.
However, the basic administrative needs required to keep the website running effectively was taking time away from the company's ability to properly deliver the expected brand experience to its online visitors. Mark Parrott, LUSH's online marketing manager for North America, explains that the homegrown platform that the company was using had reached its limitations. Further, the platform had few function libraries and the company's IT team was entirely responsible for site updates and core code updates. "We wanted a system that gave us the opportunity to grow," he notes.
The brand started looking for a hosted solution that would still allow LUSH's in-house developers to continue with their creative role. "We wanted to be able to customize the site," Parrott says. In March 2012 the company decided to implement the Demandware Commerce platform to power three new ecommerce storefronts in North America. Parrott says: "This gave us a rock-solid foundation that is scalable."
The solid ecommerce engine gave developers the time to make the improvements that customers were looking for and which would impact the experience, rather than spend time on run-of-the-mill updates. Parrott notes that the creation of user accounts and checkout processes were more streamlined and designers had more time to build interactive pages.
Further, errors on the website practically disappeared and it was easier to navigate the online experience. AB testing is giving LUSH insight into which product pages are communicated best to customers. Parrott notes that the new platform means that the website runs effectively irrespective of traffic.
Invest in online properties: With customers starting their purchasing journey online, companies need to make sure they deliver a great online experience.
Provide a seamless online-offline experience: Customers want the same experience when they visit a website as the one they get in a brick-and-mortar store.
Allow developers to be creative: A robust online platform will allow developers to focus on ways to improve the customer experience.