We initiated conversations with this UK-based business in Jan 2021, where they shared their pain points and issues with the eCommerce website. Although they were doing immensely well offline, they were continuously struggling with the performance and basic stability of their website.
Our goal was to carefully understand these bottlenecks and their impact on the business. Accordingly, we prioritised the tasks based on their impact on online business and not based on complexity.
We started working on the website and here’s how we planned our activities.
Understanding the project infrastructure, components, active modules, unused modules, dependencies and 3rd party integrations were very important before we did any major modifications. We also carefully understood all the admin-based operations which were most often used. This helped us understand the business better, hence enabling us to take better decisions. Our teams spent a good amount of time understanding this undocumented project and creating baseline documentation for our reference.
2. Streamlining Dev-Deployment Cycle
There was no development instance, staging was in the same environment as production and was actively and regularly been modified by their team members. So when the web service or HTTP accelerator (Varnish) had to be reloaded/restarted on staging, it would also do it for production since both instances were sharing the services.
We separated instances based on their role. Development server only for development, staging (no code instance) for deployment testing, review and approvals and production of course for the customers. We also introduced Git and Gitflow to manage, track and document our work.
3. Fixing Bugs affecting the Cache
We realised the website was not efficiently using the caching layers because there were several compilation errors and the website was not functioning with effective use of resources that were made available. We fixed these underlying issues that helped us to improve the caching mechanism, and resolve module dependencies conflicts and immediately the caching layers were working properly and site performance improved.
4. Improving Search and Product Filters
The product details were being fetched from the ERP and the attribution of the products was not aligning with site search and filter functionality. We worked with the client’s team to improve product attributes and made several modifications in the database as well as the application layer to control attribute-based search and filters.
In the process of doing so, we also made sure the filters and search pull data from a separate Sphinx node ensuring the response time is optimal.
5. Important Core Upgrade
We identified all the stale modules and services that on upgrade would render better results. We upgraded the entire application and introduced additional security layers for overall stability.
6. Redesigning Product Page
Only after fixing core website issues, speed, security and performance, we started to look at cosmetic changes on the website. We started with product page optimisation and responsiveness. With our UX team working closely with our development team members, we made sure the customer journey on the product page should be hassle-free and easy.
We also optimised the website design for mobile, identifying & fixing abrupt layout shifts during load and separation of blocks from clickable/touch areas from otherwise.
The results were already started to be visible from our initial set of fixes and kept on making progress. We made sure our work is being accounted for for the improvements and results it is bringing along. The customer complaints dropped significantly, the orders kept growing and the operations team were more relaxed in their daily operations. We saw the conversion rate jump by 35%.
Website: Technoworld.com (One of the largest IT retailers in the UK)
Our team is still working on the improvements and we aim to double the conversion rate before the holidays.
The site stability, UX and Customer Journey are way more important than we think. Often always site improvement is not about the introduction of new and advanced features, it’s about removing the features which are hindering and not adding any significant value.
Feel free to reach out to me if you need help with your project, using this link.