Vesternet.com case study

Author

Željko Prša

3 minuta čitanja

Vesternet.com is an online store fanatically dedicated to Home Automation.

Goal(s):

  • Remove sale blockers
  • Introduce new features
  • Delight users and team members

Results: 25% sales increase with no signs of stopping.

Dave Bell, owner of Vesternet.com had his site online for three years. Gained reputation of being the Amazon of Home Automation. His team of devoted people succeeded to surpass their competition with "above and beyond" customer support.

Despite all their efforts, sites technical legacy was preventing them to grow. A positive change was long overdue.

Here's how we made that happen.

"How do you gain trust over a phone call?" By talking sincerely supported by a good track record.

Getting to know the business

Before we started with the dreaded technical analysis we invested time in getting to know about Dave's business. What the specifics are for his particular market, who their customer is and what their needs are.

This gave us a perspective and focus to start off on the right foot.

The better you know someone, the better you can help them.

Reviewing the situation

Being several years old, the site was due for a technical audit. Having three Magento developers before us left a serious amount of legacy code issues we had to resolve first. A problem that Magento 2 sites will no longer have.

In order to improve user experience, tackle the hardest part first. The engine.

Step 1: Making lists of:

  • Extensions
  • Tracking and analytics scripts
  • Connected Third party systems
BTW, having these kinds of lists for your site is crucial. Any time you need to introduce someone new to the site, their onboarding experience is better. Maintaining is a lot easier too. TIP: Do it as soon as you can, or let someone else do it for you.

Step 2: Technical audit.

Also known as: "A list of the things no one cares about until something breaks down":

  • Database integrity review
  • Legacy code quality review
  • Front-End performance review
  • Back-End performance review

Not being a fan of relying on automated tests only, most of the work was focused on finding a giant rabbit. Ah, you are still paying attention? Great. Thanks and read on. There was no giant rabbit. There were some big bugs found that needed to be squashed ASAP.

Resolving Technical pains

As my grandpa always used to say, "Fix the Back-end first or it will fix you for good."

Back-End Optimisation and DevOps

Make the system ready for new feature implementation without compromising existing user experience.

  • Upgrading Magento to the latest version - Ahem!
  • Optimising database - Something you should regularly do.
  • Extension management and optimisation - Getting rid of the bad and forgotten ones and leaving the good ones.
  • Server cleanup - Let's say we learned a lot here. Now, these guys are taking care of it. It's for the best.

Front-End optimisation

We were now ready to start with the next big thing. The part that users experience and love to hate when things go wrong AKA  "The Store Front".

Triage was inevitable. We devised a plan and executed on these points:

  • Reduced Front-End burden on page load.
    • Reduced number of requests per page - "Less is better".
    • Cleaned up CSS files - Spring cleaning without the fun.
  • Agreed on a performance budget - "Less is better. Yes, still is."
  • Removed sale blocking Front-End bugs - Loosing sales because of a syntax error? Not today.

These three giant steps enabled us to make way for new features. Something we are improving on a weekly basis.

Dave is now finally able to bring out all of the good stuff that was collecting dust over the years and delight users as well as his team.

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Author

Željko Prša

Magento consultant

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