We have worked with Home Bargains, the very successful Liverpool based discount retailer for over 10 years, we have worked on a number of projects both internal and customer facing. We have been providing the in store Card payment solution for over 10 years and migrated it to the integrated Chip and Pin solution that is currently running in all of their stores. When they needed a new ecommerce site we were their obvious choice. We worked with their current design company and took their flat design pages and turned them into a fully functional and vibrant ecommerce site.
The Home Bargains ecommerce site allows them to sell their vast range of products online. We have taken their online presence which has grown rapidly from day one, resulting in thousands of individual product sales per month, hundreds of thousands of visitors and millions of page views.
We designed the functionality and developed the CRM system from the ground up. This involved a Frequently Asked Questions page which they can manage from an administration section where they can add/edit/ delete FAQs and customers can raise queries that can be managed from the administration panel and replies can be seen in the customer ‘my account’ section. This enables the customer to view the lifecycle of a query and for the administrators to instantly highlight new and outstanding queries.
The structure of the Home Bargains ecommerce web site was developed with effective search in mind, meaning products can be quickly found and easily added to the shopping basket. We designed and developed an AJAX search solution and web service to allow ‘search as you type’ functionality and an improved search result display in the drop down box
As part of the open source solution we used to build the new site we ensured it made best use of Dynamic product categorisation. This facility enables the online team to add new products and new product categories on a daily basis – this also linked with the online stock control system, providing effective stock management.
Related products, Customers also bought, Recently viewed and Search by Brand functionality were all part of the main product but we enhanced this to make a better user experience and the opportunity to up sell and cross sell products. We designed and developed the stock management system to allow automatic stock management by the site and manual entry in the admin panel when stock takes are taken in the warehouse. We added customised functionality to allow for a RRP and our price and automatically calculate the saving and display this to the customers.
We fully integrated the site to ensure that customer’s payments are taken securely and the order information is updated accordingly.
As part of the project we also undertook all the Custom integration of the site with the third party delivery company for home delivery items to notify the delivery company of orders pending delivery and to update the orders with the delivery status once they’ve been delivered. This has enabled effective and practical dispatch procedures and high customer service levels.
The last major integration to take place was the introduction of Collect from store. In order to do this there were a number of tasks to undertake. Firstly we designed the functionality and developed the ‘store finder’ for collect at store from the ground up which enables customers to find their nearest stores and the distance, a customer can then select which store to have their order delivered to. This involved integrating with their existing database containing all the locations of the stores by latitude and longitude and integration with a web service to retrieve latitude and longitude from the customer’s location.
We then had to add customised functionality to specify if a product is available for home delivery, store delivery or both and then display this information to the customer and change the checkout procedure depending on the delivery method. Then we had to update the Backend warehouse management system to separate the home delivery items from the store delivery items to make sure the items go to the right places.
Performance is critical to the operation, so whilst undertaking the development we had to undertake performance optimisation of the site and management systems to allow the site to grow as the business grows without any detrimental loss of speed on the site.
We took into account importance of SEO throughout the ecommerce development, the careful use of descriptive SEO friendly text and page titles, descriptive URLs and integration into Google shopping which has elevated the ecommerce website to page one for the majority of general and specific product searches in this highly competitive market place.
Joe Morris, operations director of TJ Morris, comments:
“We learned a lot through our initial e-commerce venture 10 years ago. We chose 3X software as we have worked with them for over 10 years in other areas of the business. They understand our needs and have delivered a solution that fits our requirements. They built the integration to our 3rd party delivery company and developed an internal Customer Contact relationship management (CRM) system to ease the day to day management of the site. More recently we also incorporated collect from store and that has been a great success. We work in partnership with 3X and look forward to further developments of the site.”