Redefining cycle style

When we started working with Rapha they were just two guys in a small room with a big idea; they saw the future would be two-wheeled, and they were determined to change the face of cycling.

Fast forward to 2013 and you're looking at a company that dresses Team Sky (the world's biggest pro cycling squad and home to Bradley Wiggins), with a turnover in the tens of millions, a huge product range, countless copy-cats and millions of products shipped.

That success has been enabled by the e-commerce website we built for them and it's continuing development over the best part of a decade. This powerful platform handles thousands of orders per day at peak times. Rapha is a true e-commerce success story, powered by Message.

The Brief

Rapha realised from the beginning that the success of their venture would hinge on the success of their website. With a director who was previously a brand consultant, they had very clear idea about how the site should reflect Rapha core values of:

  • Quality
  • Performance
  • Design
  • History

Our brand is about performance and quality as well as design. We wanted our site to be of the highest standard both technically as well as visually.

Simon Mottram, Rapha MD

While Rapha's focus was on brand-building, in Message they chose a partner who could focus on making the e-commerce experience as good as possible without sacrificing their brand values.

Among the ways we did this was by creating what was probably the world's first 'Ajax' shopping cart - techniques whereby user interactions are carried out without disorientating page refreshes. This type of desktop-style are now more commonplace, but at the time they were revolutionary. Suddenly the whole e-commerce world, not just cycling fans, were looking to Rapha.

Taking care of business

As the company grew we further developed the e-commerce system to take care of more areas of the business.

We implemented our new 5 P's order fulfilment process, allowing for numerous staff carrying out different steps - with full accountability built in.

As Rapha started to sell through 3rd part retail outlets we added our powerful wholesale system, enabling retailers to build their own orders for Rapha's wholesale managers to approve.

With turnover in the millions tight integration with accounts was required, so that's what we did, building real-time links to their 3rd party system.

Stock control was tight, with all stock movements (e.g. web sales, wholesale orders, damages, press loans, returns) going through the system.

In short, every key aspect of running a multi-million pound business was running through our e-commerce platform.

Look and feel

Being a design-led company, the visual aspects of the site were extremely important to Rapha. They'd spent a long time researching their brand identity and provided us with a large array of materials, from design scamps and showreels to examples of complementary websites.

Rapha already had very strong design ideas and working collaboratively with Rapha's creative director, we helped turn their concepts into a stylish, functional website.

Team Sky's the limit

Now Rapha are on top of the cycling world, with the planet's top pro-cycling team wearing their classic livery. We are extremely proud to have helped them reach that goal, and our platform continues to break records in terms of volume. It's a true e-commerce success story.

Any questions? Please get in touch…

We'd love to talk to you about your web project, e-commerce, EPOS system or bespoke web application.

Message Digital Design Ltd

+44 (0)1273 772247

© Message Digital Design Ltd. 2018