“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”

Jeff Bezos

Taking the right strategic decisions for your online store, choosing the right e-commerce platform – the software solution that enables a business to centrally manage digital products, sales and customer interactions  and choosing and developing tools to produce the best possible customer journeys, will help you succeed and out-perform your competitors.

The best approach for your business might be either a branded store experience on a SaaS platform, a bespoke e-commerce site on a dedicated domain or a multi-channel solution. At Workingtree Studio, we can help you formulate and implement the right strategy.

There are three main platform options:

Select a proven e-commerce platform – This can be the best option for start-ups and SMEs. Shopify is an example. The best platforms are cloud-based, offer built-in customer personalisation and scale to the needs of the business.

Use a proven e-commerce plugin with a well established content management system (CMS) – This can be a cost-effective option for small businesses with an existing site. Woocommerce with WordPress is an example.

Build a platform from scratch – This option can yield the most bespoke functionality but is mainly for enterprise companies.

Working with us

For start-ups and SMEs, there is a range of platforms offering different pricing options. Some offer technical support and development which comes with a significant price tag. We can advise on the relative benefits of platforms such as Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, BigCommerce or Magento.

We can provide unbiased information about the most cost effective payment providers based on commission rates and currency support and we can design and build a site on the chosen platform.

As well as the capability to accept online payments, a full e-commerce solution allows you to sell in different languages and currencies, and to ship anywhere worldwide. You have access to real time reporting and stock and inventory management tools. It provides valuable data that can be used to analyse and understand your customers, their journey and buying habits. It enables you to offer promotional codes and discounts to push and boost sales on particular products.

Proprietary platforms include some or all of these features, whereas building a bespoke full e-commerce solution from scratch is an enterprise undertaking. However, it can deliver huge benefits in terms of customisation, flexibility, security and scalability, with no compromise on the features you need and no ‘bloat’ from features and code you don’t need. We can advise on, design and build a bespoke e-commerce solution.

Whether your business sells software, apparel or virtual products and services, we can help you through the audience targeting maze, from social channel custom audiences and retargeting to adding event tracking to show you how visitors are interacting with your site. We’ll also help you prioritise SEO, which is, in a sense, the best audience targeting there is because it enables you to put your products in front of your potential customers when they are searching for exactly what you offer.

You will receive objective advice on the solution and platform best suited to your business, or an objective assessment of your existing solution. The online store we design and build will be perfectly suited to your requirements.

Our approach is client-centric and agile. The process will vary according to the project and your preferences, but the general outline is likely to be as follows:

The process

  • Initial meeting – Establish roles and responsibilities, preferred ways of working.
  • Discovery phase – Explore with you in detail project goals and audiences. Gather knowledge and supporting data from you. Together, set success metrics and finalise a project plan. Supply a cost breakdown and a statement of work.
  • (You may have completed the Web design/UX process with us, in which case the Initial meeting and Discovery phase will also have been completed).
  • Development phase – Our front-end and back-end Developers work closely together. This phase includes all integrations and functionality as appropriate, requested features, admin and reporting tools and user interface (UI) styling and transitions. Testing is continuous throughout this phase.The process will vary depending on the platform, functionality and features – we work with all the established SaaS platforms. A bespoke solution will require a meticulously developed information architecture.
  • Content phase – We will establish a system for gathering content, (either re-purposed or new), which is efficient and suits your team. We can provide a Content creation service tailored to your needs.
  • Content uploading – The build will include our team uploading (and creating where appropriate) an agreed portion of the content. We will also provide training and access to the CMS for your team at this stage to upload content and products.
  • Final testing phase – (We continually test during development, so that the final testing is as smooth as possible). Our meticulous QA process will guarantee that your solution will function flawlessly and be fast, user-friendly and secure.
  • Analytics and reporting – Set up the necessary compliance features, advise on and add privacy policies. Set up reporting as required.
  • Training – We will provide full CMS training for your team, with comprehensive documentation / user guide.
  • Sign off and go-live.
  • (For sites, apps and tools that are already in use, an E-commerce audit will provide transformative insights with actionable recommendations).

E-commerce audit

For sites that are already in use, we are ideally placed to undertake an audit and provide an independent assessment, having worked with a range of startups, SMEs and larger businesses.

The Discovery phase will be similar to that for a new site. Then, informed by project goals and research, user flows will help to identify any barriers your customers face when they use your site to complete a task or purchase.

New visitors need to understand instantly what differentiates your brand from competitors in the marketplace. This can be accomplished by expressing in a unique value proposition (UVP) the particular problem solved by your brand, or its quality or service advantages, and then clearly displaying that UVP ‘above the fold’ in a compelling way on the homepage and/or key landing pages.

Visitors form first impressions of a site very quickly, directly affecting how they perceive it, use it, and remember it. We will identify design improvements and how to implement these, overcoming platform restrictions where necessary.

Everything impacts sales. Online, the power of images becomes a key factor. As there’s no physical product for visitors to handle, images have to work hard. We will advise on – and can provide – visual resources that will help your business to create an experience that visitors will love and remember.

Once visitors have become shoppers, there are proven techniques for optimising their experience, from keeping payments on your site to allowing guest checkout, but there are several less obvious ways of improving user experience (UX) and simplifying the purchasing process.

We will advise on best practises for building loyalty and encouraging returns, for example by enabling user profiles while at the same time not punishing users who don’t wish to create an account. Keeping this balance is important in making the purchasing process as convenient as possible for a wide range of shoppers.

Product and checkout pages are crucial in turning shoppers into paying customers.

Shoppers tend to scan product pages like ‘menus’. Well structured content will enable them to more easily find key information and realise why they should purchase.

From concerns about privacy and security to their lunch burning under the grill, customers have many reasons to abandon their purchase. We’ll advise on how to avoid the reasons you have some control over, for example by taking measures to balance your messaging and avoid too much distraction at checkout. We’ll also help with remarketing techniques such as abandoned cart email reminders.

We will produce an e-commerce audit report, containing an overview of the actions and a clear set of insights and actionable recommendations.

For large platforms with high volumes of traffic or revenue, the audit would typically include detailed data analysis, CRM strategy and extensive user testing. For smaller platforms we adopt a leaner approach focusing on key user journeys and functionalities.

Let’s talk!

If you have a project to discuss or if you’d like more information, we’d love to hear from you.