Malvern Blog Series Part 6: Going live in 3, 2, 1…

Malvern Instruments part six

When a project finally reaches the live stage, it is the culmination of months of hard work and co-operation, so the end product always has to be perfect.

While there will always be things that a company will revisit as they consider Stage Two or Three of their platform (for which we will of course be on hand to advise on and carry out), this is the point where all those initial ideas and brainstorming sessions come to fruition. For Malvern Instruments , there were four key areas they wanted addressed as they look to expand into new territories, and I will explain each of these in turn by visiting a different new page of their website. 

Homepage: Brand Continuity

The number one requirement for Malvern was that there had to be a seamless transition between their website and the new store front. It was crucial that the user understood that they were with the same company, as though they had clicked on another tab – this had proven to be a major problem with their old version. Here, you can see their current website alongside their old shop:

Malvern main site homepage

Old store home page

The differences are quite remarkable, and it has been proven that such differences can have hugely detrimental consequences. For one, it makes the customer think that the site is outdated and probably not working as well as the new and fresh main website, but it also leads to mistrust, as the vast differences in website quality and design lead the user to believe that it is not produced by the same company.

Now, take a look at our store homepage:

new home page

The continuity is noticeable from the off. We made sure that the menu was designed in the same way as the main website, with the top bar aligned to the right with faded writing. However, Malvern wanted the secondary menu to visually stand out whilst keeping their clean lines, which we achieved for them. There is also the large sliding image across the top, the same brand-specific greens used and their social media icons are made very clear at the top-right. 

Aside from this, there has been the obvious improvement in marketing potential, as they have fully embraced the promotional opportunities which our fully-customisable CMS offers to them. The “SAVE 10% EXTRA” image is actually a sliding image with different messages on each one, which can be changed as Malvern introduce more promotions.

Products: Ease of Navigation

Another issue Malvern were keen to rectify was the accessibility of their products. With the old site (as you can see below), there were instructions on how to reach the products section before the user was directed to a very confused page:

old products page

Not only are the product ranges themselves bland and uninviting, but the page looks very confused with the French and German translations added as an after-thought and yet a dollar symbol at the top. Let’s take a look at the new site as a comparison; firstly note that the product ranges by name are available to click on straight from the homepage itself, simplifying navigation:

new product page

Consumers today are much more intuitive when it comes to website navigation, and there are certain elements (such as a search bar visible on our homepage image) that are absolutely critical to making the user experience a smooth one. Including instructions on how to reach the page will give the customer the impression that the company are unprofessional and not in tune with current trends, what they want or what they need. 

Moving on a stage, if you were to click on one of the product sections on the old site (let’s choose the Mastersizer range), you’re taken straight to consumables which stunts the consumer’s choice. If we put this opposite the new site, the user is taken to a landing page which offers the full range of products and services associated with that model:

old product page - mastersizer

new mastersizer range

Moving on specifically to a product page, and sticking with the Mastersizer range, we come across another issue for the user: the page and description lengths, both of which are too long. 

full old mastersizer page

Today’s consumers are used to snappy, bullet-point descriptions, as opposed to long, dull, uninviting pages. Aside from this, you can see that before the consumer has even read the product information they are presented with a number of categories, which is both highly confusing and off-putting – with the new site, we made sure we rectified this. Malvern opted for the more radical change in Phase One of no specific product pages:

non-specific product page

Short, precise descriptions for their on-the-go client-base. Everything about this has been designed to recognise and reflect the buyer trends of today’s customer, including the addition of the left-hand “Refine Results” section, which I mentioned as a development in a previous instalment in the series. Not only does it show an understanding of the kind of functionality the consumer looks for, but it aids the search to make the site more efficient, and the user’s experience more pleasant.

Checkout: Multi-lingual

Another issue Malvern were keen to solve was their multi-lingual/multi-currency facility. If you remember the first post in this series, one of the reasons for the project was their wish to expand into Japan, so if they were to make this a success, these elements of their store were paramount. Not only in terms of the language and marketing material, but in terms of the currency conversion, everything had to work against cart abandonment, which can so often occur at the later stage of the user journey if the consumer does not feel confident in the site they’re using.

Now, when a user enters the store for the first time, they are presented with the option of selecting which country they’re from. This information is then synced throughout the site in terms of multi-lingual and multi-currency functionality. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the checkout page for the old and new sites:

old checkout

new checkout

On first glance, it may seem that our site is more complicated, but it has in fact been simplified in terms of user experience with is one major change. Aside from the obvious disconnect with design, the old site took the consumer to another page causing them concerns over authenticity. The new site is a one-page checkout process, with limited fields and simple direction. As you can see, the real-time multi-currency has filtered through to this page with no issues.

Software and Training: Future-proofing

The ability to plan for further site development and service expansion opportunities was another part of the Malvern vision that we wanted to make sure was accounted for, so the two pages you see below are for exactly that. Malvern were keen to leave this in the navigation, to ensure that their users recognised this as a major section, and with this in place, we already have the building blocks for Stage Two. They can of course change the content of those two pages to whatever they wish however, due to the all-encompassing CMS that comes with our solution. If they need any help and advice, we are only at the end of a phonecall, email or SOS ticket. 

new software page

new training page

Conclusion

All in all this has been a successful implementation of our Omnia eCommerce solution for SAP, and with minimum bumps in the road along the way. As I have said in previous instalments within this series, no development project of this size is without its challenges, but the key to minimising their impact lies within a good relationship built on strong communication between the client and our team. 

Throughout the Malvern Instruments project, we have strived to uphold the values of their company while delivering on the goals they wanted to achieve:

1) Strong brand consistency which reflects their high standing within the industry
2) CMS functionality which allows them to maximise their marketing and promotional opportunities.
3) A solution which will not only support their ambitions to expand into new territories, but also future-proof their next set of goals regarding training and software.

We have achieved all these goals to the high standard expected, and have already set in motion the plans for their Stage Two project. As our last post for Malvern in this Client-side series, here is a quote from Martin Langley, Programme Manager at Malvern :

“The solution delivered exceeded our expectations and means we have a solid platform to develop the website further in the future. Linking the store to SAP has enabled us to develop quotes through the store, customers to create accounts very easily, and the CMS solution is very easy to use so we can upload new parts within minutes. The Weaveability team were great to work with, very responsive, listened to our requirements and provided solutions even when we didn’t quite know what we wanted.”

Project complete!

If you'd like to revisit our first post on Malvern Instruments, please click here !