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Enhancing the experience

In the second part of our series following indie Matches’ website upgrade, the focus is on what the user will see

Last month, Matches’ chief operating officer Frances Card discussed the designer indie’s decision to move its website to a new platform and the challenges it faced in ensuring all the necessary factors were taken into account when planning the new site. 

This week, she tells Drapers about the changes so far and how the design, stock accuracy and fulfilment aspects are vital to attract and keep the customer on site.

What improvements will the customer see on the site?

The first impression to the customer is of primary importance, though this has to be completely in line with and supported by the back of house. This new veneer requires commitment and dedication  from the in-house design, marketing and technical teams combined with careful prioritisation and mentoring by the account handlers from Quantiv [the [multichannel software provider which is building the site].

The move from mannequins to live models offers the most visually significant change. The introduction of video is the next step. To develop this throughout the site, the product hierarchy has had a rethink: filtered search and guided navigation are improved, which means more designer landing pages. A swifter checkout process and personalisation of the account system make for a truly enhanced customer experience.

How will the content be loaded?

The new site will allow the content to be increased and improved. It will have a new catalogue feed supplying appropriate product information as before, but without the intricate dependency on the legacy stock control system. Further embellishment of product information will take place inside the new content management system. Fortunately, the website platform delivers multiple versions of content, as well as the live version, so it will not require a dedicated staging environment for future season launches. In turn, this increases Matches’ global reach, allowing full use of search engine optimisation without restriction.

Will stock accuracy improve?

All retail websites depend heavily on the quality of the stock information shared with the back-office control system, and Matches is no exception. The risk of oversells in a global, 24-hour business is a concern for all ecommerce ventures, so we have focused on ensuring system integration is seamless. Tighter interfaces have required improvements to core infrastructure, as well as smarter systems design. Both aspects have taken longer than first expected as 100% accuracy is required. This has meant the project is slightly behind schedule and both parties are pushing hard to catch up.

How will orders be fulfilled through the new website?

As order fulfilment is working well at Matches, and with the time restrictions for the launch, there has been little room for manoeuvre to make radical improvements to the order fulfilment capability. Therefore, much of the order processing will be similar to our existing approach. However, the audit trail will be much improved. The new platform is agile and built for change and Matches will make constant improvements after launch.

Has it been difficult to migrate from one platform to another?

It’s essential that there is excellent communication between the previous and new platform partners, and that all teams recognise this. Both partners have worked hard to ensure the transition is as easy as possible. The biggest challenge when migrating platforms is inevitably the shape of the data in the previous platform which cannot match with the data design in the new platform.

What’s next?

The next stage is user acceptance testing (when the website, with our content, is made available in test mode for internal users) which begins in earnest next week. Comprehensive lists of tests are done to ensure all is as it should be. Any deficiencies in the design or capabilities are exposed for the snagging list, which is passed back to the development team. Once the internal users are happy, the website is accepted as ready for launch. I’ll give an update on how that goes and all other developments at the beginning of next month. 

  • Frances Card, Chief operating officer, Matches

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