From indifferent to impressed: elevating the EC customer experience
Our client this time is the sports equipment group within Winckler & Co. Ltd., a German trading company doing business in Japan since 1885. (That’s no typo.) The brands they sell create products designed to push the envelope for performance in their respective categories, and include companies like cycle makers Dimond and Santa Cruz Bicycles as well as Roka, a producer of high-end triathlon wetsuits and other endurance sports equipment.
Sports-W was ready to take their so-so e-commerce operation to the next level, and needed a partner with the right combination of UX design skills, technical chops, e-commerce experience, and bi-lingual project management. They found in us what they were looking for, and we were delighted to be given the opportunity to help.
What had begun initially as a UX redesign project to improve on another firm’s earlier work ultimately expanded into a full-scale website redesign and redevelopment effort. This one would present a number of challenges above and beyond your typical EC website creation project, as we discovered while going through our preliminary, in-depth requirements definition process. These included things like:
- Create a branded sub-site for each brand within the larger EC website
- Provide access to products via the branded sub-site or the Sports-W product catalog
- Create separate B2C and B2B websites with a shared, synchronized product catalog
- Implement pre-order functionality for wholesale customers to pre-order products in bulk
- Quick-order form for B2B customers
- “Outlet” page for specially-priced and marked-down items
To make all this work we chose WordPress and WooCommerce for the platform, employing a Multisite network to simplify management and consistency of design and–where needed–functionality. Administration of the two (essentially distinct) websites could thus be performed using a single WordPress back-end and “network” administrator accounts.
We executed the months-long project using our standard website development process and a team of four. The client was closely involved every step of the way, helping to ensure the new EC website we were building together would have what it takes to move their online business to the next level. We made some minor course corrections along the way once we had a website functional enough to see “in action,” and these helped to create a new platform that ticked all the necessary boxes when we reached the finish line.
The new website we created is shown below. It’s branded with the Sports-W colors and a new logo we created for them as part of the project. The brands are presented front and center, and clicking through to any of them takes you to a branded sub-site.
The brand sub-sites are largely self-contained, comprising a common subset of content pages which include pages for Team, Technology, Products, News, and a Dealer finder. Knowing that many visitors would arrive at these brand pages via organic search (which we found to be true, as they rank extremely well in the SERPs), we wanted the pages and the site to appear to that brands website, and not the (relatively unknown) Sports-W site. This enclosed architecture allows users to remain “within” the site they sought while googling, for example, and focus on the content presented therein.
Getting “back” to the Sports-W website is made possible via a docked global navigation menu which stays out of site until you click on the W icon in the sub-site header. From there you can return to the Sports-W homepage or browse the full catalog of products, either by category or brand.
Winckler & Co.’s Sports Division sells their products through an extensive network of thousands of retailers across the country. To help website visitors find them we created a Google Maps-based dealer finder that makes finding local sellers a breeze. And as you might expect, the dealer finders in the brand pages are filtered automatically to show only those dealers which carry that brand’s products.
The B2B website is available to their wholesale customers only, but I have included a screenshot of the quick-order function below. Using this screen, B2B customer can quickly filter the product list by product name, SKU, category, and other keywords in order to find the products they seek within seconds, and add them all to cart in one fell swoop.
There’s a lot more under the hood, but let me close with this short list of some of the other things that make this new website great:
- Page editing with Elementor makes content updates powerful yet fun and easy
- The website is extremely well-optimized for mobile (I know, as they should all be these days but hey)
- The website is also well-optimized for search engines, and the positive impact of this has been swift and significant
We were excited to take on this challenging project and are very happy with what were able to create in the end. Moreover, the project team on the client side was capable and a real pleasure to work with. Nothing satisfies like satisfying work!
Looking for help with a project like this? Talk to us about how we can help!