In the first of a series following indie Matches’ upgrade of its website, Frances Card gets the project underway
With ecommerce now the fastest- growing element of the fashion retail mix, Drapers is taking a look at one of the more successful indie etail sites – Matches Fashion – as it underpins its expansion with a move to a new website platform.
Over the coming months we will follow Matches through this process, looking at the challenges this sort of upgrade can bring and how the Matches team faces and overcomes them. The project began earlier this month and is scheduled to finish later this year.
Why did Matches decide to move platforms?
The website and online business was launched in 2007 and has quickly become Matches’ largest ‘store’, with a full team both in fulfilment and in customer service.
The decision to move to a new platform was made as the online business was beginning to expand beyond the capabilities of the basic platform. Matches’ reputation for offering excellent customer service and being an innovator meant the chosen platform needed to be extremely agile, allowing for an ever-evolving site, creative presentation of the high-end product, and, ultimately, complete personalisation to give users the level of personal shopping experience they expect from Matches.
How did you begin the project?
After reviewing the market, Matches decided that Quantiv was its preferred multichannel software provider. Quantiv and Matches will work alongside each other in close partnership, and it is vital with such projects that retailers choose not only a technically appropriate platform, but also a technical support team which they are comfortable working with in the longer term.
The new platform is hosted in the cloud, which means all services are delivered over the web as an alternative to running order management at head office. This is new to Matches, but is the safest and most secure route. All key team members, both back and front of house, met with the project leaders of Quantiv so they could fully understand how Matches’ current systems work and to make sure any changes would be workable in practice.
Internally, Matches had already produced a list of ‘must haves’, ‘desirables’ and ‘blue skies’ because the development of the site will be continuous.
To ensure the project runs smoothly and all the deadlines are met, a small team of key Matches people have been chosen to work with Quantiv’s experienced project management team.
How is it going so far?
The project is currently on time but, as with all projects, this is being monitored.
Procedures are being reviewed and new process flows developed with solutions that match the old to the new.
One area of current focus is the international business. The success of international trade for Matches has meant that multi-currency and seamless payment processes, from all areas of the globe, are of utmost importance to the website.
To this end, Matches has changed its payment gateway provider to Cybersource to have a full international handling capability with fraud and sales tax compliance under one roof. This may sound a simple solution, but it is interesting to learn that many transactional websites do not do this.
On a project of this size and with the time scales required, compromise is inevitable in the early stages. There is a need for an international address look-up capability that would normally be handled by evaluating all suppliers in the market. A choice needs to be made for a permanent solution.
To hit the deadline, Matches has agreed a ‘pay as you go’ solution with our address look-up service provider, meaning we will pay more as the service is rolled out beyond the UK.
What will you be focusing on next?
The next part of the project to be delivered is the content and fascia of the website and this is always the most exciting part for most retailers when building a website. I look forward to providing you with another update on the progress of the Matches project in the next few weeks.
- Frances Card is the Chief operating officer at Matches