At the end of this week the new e-commerce website and EPOS system we're building for Oi Polloi will go into its User Acceptance Testing (UAT) phase. That means the client finally gets to see what we've been up to and can start testing everything works before the launch, scheduled in for a month down the line.
How do you know if you've won if you don't know what the goals are? When writing the proposal I decided on three core goals for the project:
- Increase sales through enhanced usability
- Decrease customer service calls through improved system design
- Improve efficiency in the shop and the warehouse
We loved the style of the Oi Polloi website, but felt there were lots of small areas that could trip customers up. Even the smallest doubt placed in the mind of an Internet shopper can lose the sale, so ironing out even the smallest wrinkle is worth doing. The smoothest path to conversion will mean the maximum number of people follow it all the way.
But improving the User Experience (UX) would get us only so far; we also wanted to look at those parts of the customer service after sales too. Online retailers spend a lot of money servicing returns and other customer care issues. Our system needed to smooth those paths too. Even if a customer never has need to contact the retailer for assistance, making them aware that the processes are easy increases confidence, leading to greater conversion rates. For those that do need help - inspecting their order history, tracking a parcel, returning a garment that doesn't fit - an efficient process will reduce staff costs and ensure customer satisfaction. Win win!
As for improving efficiency in the shop and warehouse, that's a big claim for a humble website designer isn't it? Well, yes; unless you're also building an integrated, bespoke EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) and warehouse despatch system that is. Which is exactly what we've done. EPOS is new to us, but stock control and despatch is something we've had a lot of experience with over the last 8 years working for cycling's biggest success story, Rapha, amongst others.
So, three goals, and a clear idea of how to hit them. In a week or so we'll start to find out how well we've done... fingers crossed!
Until then we have an extremely busy week with all hands (and even some extra hands) on deck, so it's pizzas, noodles and Bite Me sarnies all week to feed the team :-)