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This is an exclusive excerpt from our April edition. To read more compelling content like this, head here.

When a brand relaunches a store, it is often cosmetic. A few new features, perhaps some extra services and differing use of the floor space.

However, the relaunch of an online store is completely different, with most of the changes harder to see until they are experienced directly.

For Decjuba, the relaunch of its eCommerce platform was all about experience, achieved by an unseen overhaul.

The site shifted from the commonly used Magento program and opted to join the growing amount of retailers tapping into Shopify Plus.

Decjuba eCommerce and digital manager Maurita Barber says it was this backend change that allowed the businesses to focus on a bigger picture rather than only improving on smaller site elements.

“We were on the Magento platform, we completely moved off Magento and on to a different backend.

“Part of that was, we wanted to do a lot of stuff on the site and we were getting to a stage where we were just doing a whole heap of smaller projects on the site.

“If we actually bundled it all in together it made more sense for us as a business to completely redo the experience rather than fix smaller parts of it.

“We are now on Shopify Plus. So Shopify plus is an enterprise version of Shopify.

“It's much simpler and easier for us to roll out new initiatives, so we can give back to the customer a lot easier. That was really the reasoning behind the decision to move onto a platform like that.”

The site development, which started in May 2017, was completed and live by November 2 that same year.

According to Barber, one of the main objectives that the brand needed to achieve when redeveloping the site was having 'less clicks' but not in the traditional sense.

In this instance, less clicks refers to navigation around the site, rather than clicks through to the site itself.

Barber notes that the site had to become easier to move around, with customers able to seamlessly move between categories and products.

“Less clicks. We wanted to deliver the website and get people engaging with less clicks as we can. I know, when using websites and having to click around everywhere, the experience starts dropping off.

“So enabling them to find what they want with less clicks was really important too. We actually introduced sub-categories on the site which we didn't have before.

“We also brought back the ability to filter categories, so you can filter by jeans and then filter further by the fit. So just making it easier for them to see what they want and find what they want rather than clicking from category to category.”

Analysis from the former site also revealed Decjuba needed to respond to growing consumer demand from its mobile customers.

Over 50% of the brand's customers were engaging through mobile devices.

Barber says that this is where the 'Shop the Insta' feature became key to further engagement and mobile-driven success.

“We actively review, daily and weekly, where our traffic is coming from and what devices our customers are using.

“We could see that a majority of our customers and the traffic coming through is actually from mobile.

“Being in retail, obviously social media is a really key avenue for us. We know from the channels we are on, especially Instagram, that this is how our customer likes to engage with us as well. Just figuring out a way to integrate that onto the site was really important as well.

"We rolled out the shop Instagram feature, that was a new feature for us and was incredibly well received. It has actually had a great impact on our social following as well.

“It is just bringing it all in together and making it more of an omnichannel experience with social as well, rather than being on separate platforms.”

She says the introduction of the feature provides even more data on buying patterns, with each click and purchase able to be tracked.

The early response from customers has indicated that further social integration on the site improves engagement and subsequently, sales.

“We have pixels instated across the site too but we can directly see how many people have clicked on an image on the shop Instagram feature, how many times they have put something into their bag, the direct revenue from the feature as well.

“It's all 100% tracked so we can see the direct impact it is having.

“It is generating probably a little bit more interest than what we expected which was really cool. This is why we are now trying to find further ways to integrate it more.

“Obviously our feed is integrated and we have got another hashtag that is moderated and if anyone uses that hashtag they will be included in the shop Instagram feature as well. So we are looking at ways to drive that more.”

Barber says while the site has seen strong engagement growth across the board, the level of in-store foot traffic has also grown at the same rate.

This is due to the addition of another feature, 'stock lookup'. This allows customers to look up which store has which products available.

She says the response to this particular feature has been heavily felt by in-store staff.

“It gives the ability for a customer to check stock in store, without having to contact us and wait for our customer service people to get back to them.

“From that, we saw a direct increase in calls to our stores, because they can contact the store directly to hold the product. There are also more people going into our store and saying “I checked online and saw it was in stock, can you help me find this item”.

“Store feedback has definitely been that they are receiving more calls, more enquires and more foot traffic in-store from customers calling from the site.

“So we are getting direct feedback from our customer but also from our teams about how customers are engaging online and coming in and saying how they use the site.

“A lot of it is product related, so they are seeing something on the site, they aren't quite sure so they still want to come in and feel it and have the in-store experience.”

Barber says there are further omnichannel initiatives the brand has on the horizon, with a dedicated New Zealand platform and click-and-collect both high on the list.

She says the brand is also looking to integrate a 'ship from store' capability into its existing platform.

“Right now we have a lot of stores in New Zealand and we don't have a dedicated site but we are working on one at the moment which we are really excited about.

“That is due to launch around the middle of this year. We are also looking at more omnichannel features to include as well, so click-and-collect and ship-from-store are quite high on the priority list for us to at the moment.

“For ship from store, the priority stock will obviously come from our online stock pool but it is just about opening that up further.

“If there is something that is not available online anymore, the customer is still able to buy that item and the transaction actually goes from, and is attributed to, the store [that has the stock available].”

As for the launch of click-and-collect? Barber and her team have filed it under ASAP.

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