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Empowering ElectroCity's eCommerce

Delivering speed and performance in time for Black Friday

ElectroCity

With almost 30 years in business and a strong reputation, ElectroCity is one of the largest independent retailers in Ireland. Trusted by their customers, they have a vast online and in store offering, all provided with excellent customer service.

When they approached Unfold, their website was severely under performing, with pages taking 70 seconds or more to load, and some pages requiring upwards of 5000 database queries to complete. This was completely unacceptable for an online retailer of its size and needed resolving quickly to ensure a lightning fast website in time for Black Friday.

To achieve this feat, ElectroCity were looking for an agency with strong engineering and technical capabilities, who could quickly mobilise to rescue their existing WooCommerce store.

The challenge

Deliver a site that is fast and effective, in under 4 months, ready for the biggest eCommerce event of the year; Black Friday. This included:

  • Simplifying and repurposing existing functionality; putting a stop to never ending bugs and an unstable site which was crashing multiple times a day
  • Delivering new functionality that will speed up the site and its processes
  • Implementing an upgraded design system to the website for a refreshed look and feel 

Unfold was engaged in August, with an immovable Black Friday deadline (end of November), we had to operate with efficiency and precision to ensure a successful project.

The outcome

Unfold took to the challenge, evolving and rebuilding the required elements of the site. Using WooCommerce, our experienced technical team simplified a complex system, producing a robust and reliable site, delivered on time. 

  • First  2 weeks post launch, revenue was up 40% and conversion rate increased by 8.3% (before Black Friday sales)
  • Black Friday conversion rate up 8.2% YOY
  • Page load times reduced from + 70 seconds to 2 seconds 

Following the rebuild and optimisation of some of the key aspects of the site we’ve significantly reduced the number of queries required to load a page, which means it’s now able to easily scale through peak events such as Black Friday.

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Solutions

Improving site performance

  • We conducted in-depth performance reviews to target the functionality that was most affecting performance. This allowed us to make both application and server level changes to improve performance of the site.
  • In total this resulted in reducing page load time from 70 seconds+, to under 2 seconds by reengineering the site, removing vast amounts of unnecessary plugins and baking functionality directly into the theme.
  • As part of the build we created an automated solution for stock synchronisation, transforming the process from one that took 45 minutes and took the site offline, to one that now takes just 45 seconds, runs every 15 minutes and does not affect site performance.

 

Business continuity

 

  • The WooCommerce site is a vital component of ElectroCity’s marketing and operations workflow and as such has many external integrations and processes that rely on the site.
  • Ensuring business continuity was one of the main reasons we chose to rescue the existing build, rather than start from scratch. This meant working systems could be left in place, with minimal disruption, risk or cost.

 

Implementing new features

  • By reviewing ElectroCity’s promotion process we significantly revamped their system, making it easier and faster for them to create promotions that can be targeted to individual groups of products, brands, categories or tags and showcases them in ways people can engage with, delivering not only performance improvements but making it easier for them to manage too.
  • The improved stock synchronisation is not only faster, it also models ElectroCity’s processes far better than before by unifying multiple sources of data that were previously competing with each other. Going the extra mile and challenging exactly what was happening, not just re-engineering how it was doing it, has provided the most meaningful outcome for ElectroCity.
  • ElectroCity’s in-house designer provided Unfold with new designs for the site which we implemented as part of the transformation project.
  • These new designs also saw the development of valuable new features to improve the customer experience such as greater product detail, comparison features and extra product options, including installation and recycling old units. 

Services & expertise

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