Wow Activity Gifts (WOWAG), trading only as an online business, launched in 2003 as a reseller of activity gift experiences throughout the UK. The gift experiences range from chocolate making and pampering through to rally driving and skydiving, to name but a few.
With no upgrade to their website since 2003 WOWAG was now outdated and failing as the great online reseller it should be. The website was very clunky and disjointed, with a virtually hidden navigation system making it difficult to find your way around the website. Text was poorly displayed, sometimes too small to read, other times dark text over dark backgrounds made the text almost impossible to read, depending on your screen’s brightness or contrast. General all round bad usability and design plagued the site.
With no Content Management System (CMS) in place the website was very time consuming to maintain and since WOWAG are a reseller, regular updates to their products are extremely important.
Another issue was that the site redirected the customer to the supplier websites when they clicked on ‘more info’, firstly leaving the customer free to continue their shopping on competitors’ websites as well as relying on the customer to navigate back to the WOWAG site in order to checkout.
WOWAG required a complete redesign of their site and a rethink of the way they resold their supplier products.
After some initial discussion with WOWAG it was decided that the best way to retain customers and keep them coming back was to firstly keep their customers on their website. In order to do this WOWAG would need to display the gift experiences in their entirety and provide a simple checkout process, meaning all information would need to be displayed on the WOWAG website, leaving no need for customers to redirect anywhere else. This meant that regular data feeds from their suppliers would be required in order to fill the WOWAG with up to date and relevant content. E-volve negotiated terms with WOWAG’s suppliers on behalf of WOWAG to ensure this process could be set up and that the correct data could be received.
Project #1 www.wowactivitygifts.com
The activity gift industry is extremely competitive and with companies offering very similar if not identical products, often the only thing separating them is their website in terms of usability and design. With this in mind e-volve set out to design an eye catching website with usability a top priority.
WOWAG had said they wanted to keep their current logo so e-volve delivered a number of designs, all fitting around WOWAG’s rather bright green colour scheme. The final design chosen ties in very well with the old logo and the use of one or two extra complementary colours makes the website very aesthetically pleasing.
2. Products and Product Categories
The main product categories are displayed across the horizontal navigation bar and these are ranked using the Category Manager in the CMS. All product subcategories in the main navigation and sub navigation include product counts. The sub navigation reflects the current location of the customer , only providing links relevant to the category they are currently viewing. This makes the navigation across the website every intuitive to use.
Each category page will display products and the price range of products for that particular category.
Product pages provide very detailed information about the activity such as duration, fitness required, age restrictions and so on. All available locations are separated to the left column making it easy for users to jump to a specific location and then choosing from a range of activities in their preferred location. Products pages also show all related products.
3. Product Searching
Finding gift experiences on the website is now also a breeze with the help of simple yet very effective search options. Also included is our built in Google Mini search feature, allowing for a site wide search on the entire web site and all its pages.
4. Shopping Cart Process
Due to the nature of WOWAG’s business e-volve decided it was best to keep the checkout process as quick and simple as possible. Customers do not need to create any accounts and can go from adding an item to their basket to complete order in three simple steps.
Each gift experience also requires customers to add the recipients address and contact details as well as the details to go on the voucher itself; name and message. If the customer is buying 5 activity gifts then this would mean the customer had to enter the details 5 times, however if it is for just one person then the shopping cart allows customers to user already entered details from a drop down list.
The Payment Gateway used by WOWAG is SagePay. SagePay deliver all key features in order for WOWAG to manage their e-commerce payment processes such as transaction management, rule bases, 3D secure to name but a few. For a detailed explanation of SagePay please see the the Sage Pay Integration Service
On completion of the order process, the customer sees an order review screen detailing their unique order number.
As soon as an order is successfully placed the system automatically generates and emails a supplier order, specifically formatted in terms of content and document format, to the appropriate supplier. The supplier will then process the order accordingly. The customer will also receive an automated email from WOWAG to confirm their order.
Project #2 Admin System
1. General Features
The general CMS features provide WOWAG with the User Management as well as General Page Management.
It is also important that WOWAG can push their gift experiences for specific occasions, such as Fathers/Mothers Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas and so on. WOWAG therefore have an event builder which allows WOWAG to easily create and manage these occasions which then appear on the home page of the website and provide a site wide theme.
Product Management features provide WOWAG with all the necessary functionality to easily add/edit and maintain their products, including galleries, pricing, suppliers ,offers and so on.
Since WOWAG is a reseller there were certain aspects of the e-commerce functionality that did not need to be included such as warehousing, manufacturer information, stock levels and so on. However, it meant that a much more complex supplier management feature needed to be included. Please see Project #3 Supplier XML Feeds section below for more detail.
3. Product Categories
Product Categories are managed by the CMS and provide all the required data such as page data, images, subcategories, secondary categories, top products associated to that category and more.
The product categories are used for the website navigation and can be ranked for display order in the main navigation section.
Order management allows orders to be tracked and processed accordingly. All the expected information is readily available.
All Payment Gateway information is also displayed as well as all associated costs.
Internal orders can be placed using the CMS
The CMS allows refunds to be easily actioned and the reasons for them to be recorded. Refunds can be performed on the product costs, postage costs and general refund amounts up to but not exceeding the order total.
Replacements can be processed using the CSM, this will create a new order for either all the items or the selected items. This will again send the supplier order and notify the customer with a new order confirmation.
All supplier information is managed by the CMS. p>
8. Payment Cards
Every time a transaction is made WOWAG is charged by its merchant, the cost of these charges are stored against each type of card so WOWAG can store the charge against a specific order ensuring correct calculations are made when determining order margin.
This can also be helpful when reporting on card charges to easily see the costs associated with the different types of cards over various time periods.
WOWAG is provided with various reports across the CMS, this helps with the ability to quickly and easily view data on product performance, daily sales stats, location availability to mention but a few.
The CMS menu page shows WT daily, weekly, monthly and yearly sales stats.
Margin is calculated based on which supplier the product is supplied by. Generally a supplier will charge by percentage or a fixed rate. Each order calculates margin of the individual items by supplier then includes the usual associated costs such as card charges, SagePay costs, discounts applied and so on.
Project #3 Supplier XML Feeds
As a reseller the CMS includes an XML feed from its suppliers. Each Supplier provides its data in different formats as well as different sets of data, therefore each supplier has its own class to deal with the processing and standardisation in order for the data to fill the WOWAG CMS.
The feature firstly flags any new products or product’s whose data has changed from WOWAG’s last update. Users can then drill down into the flagged products to see exactly what information in the product has changed. Users can then compare products side by side and decide on any action to be taken. If the product is a new product the user simply clicks to add the product and all the supplier info is displayed alongside the new product for quick and easy data entry.
Since some products may already exist there is also an option to attach a new supplier product to an existing product. Now when the user views a product they are provided with the option to select which supplier they want to attach the product to, comparing prices and benefits and the click of a button.
Project #4 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Website Content
A complete rewrite of WOWAG’s SEO content was performed. This ensured Google would continue to rank WOWAG high in its search results. Search Engine Transition was included since many of WOWAG’s current pages had to be redirected to the new website’s urls. This SEO content is again all manageable through WOWAG’s Admin system.
Although much of WOWAG’s content had been written it was found that much of it was now outdated compared to the data feeds being sent from suppliers. For this reason it was decided that the content would be written from scratch. As mentioned in the CMS section above, it was now a simple case of looking at the new supplier content and rewriting this to avoid duplicate content.
Project #5: Windows Service
In addition to the above CMS and website features WOWAG also required their system to run automated daily tasks such as stock updates, review requests, order notifications, sending out newsletters. These tasks are run by a Windows Service installed on e-volve’s dedicated server.
Wow Activity Gifts is a PCI Compliant Website