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Editorial blog

New features on Groves’ revised website

10 Dec 2018

Jane Supple, website manager at Groves, explains the improvements made to their online offering.

Over the last 18 years, the Groves website has become an important aspect of the service offered to our customers, allowing them to easily access and order the full range of 60,000 plus products easily, and at any time.

It was not too long after the launch of the last website, in 2014, that we were already looking at ways of improving what we’d created back then. We strongly believe that feedback from customers is the most valuable driver when considering where to direct our energies and investment when undertaking such a project. After reviewing the responses from a target group of customers, together with thoughts and ideas from Groves staff who use the site heavily, we were able to settle on a number of enhancements which we were confident would bring real improvements to the customer’s experience while using our site.

Our previous site had been running successfully for four years but it was time to upgrade the e-commerce platform/ framework, to the latest version which would bring the benefits of increased site speed and stability, improved reporting features, better security as well as allowing us to develop the site to include a number of new features which we wanted our customers to benefit from. At the same time it was important that the new site was not so dramatically different that customers would be inconvenienced by having to get used to a whole new way of finding products and placing orders. We all know how change can sometimes be a hindrance when time is of the essence, so we needed to incorporate the new aspects of the site in an interface which was largely familiar and comfortable.

These are the key new features of the new site:

Our site uses a responsive design template, allowing it to work on all types of devices. The increase in the use of mobile phones is very much evident amongst our customer base and we wanted the site to work on a hand-held device just as easily as on a desk top PC.

A major area of improvement is the way in which Search works on the site. Previously, searching for a particular product may have been a frustrating exercise, unless the product code was known. The new sites search function has improved in the following ways:

• Users are able to apply a search to a specific area of the site as well as applying it to the entire site.

• Search now understands the use of speech marks to search for an exact string of characters.

• More product data is now referenced when searching, giving more relevant results.

• We are working on making sure key words are in place to improve the relevance of results.

• Commonly misspelt words are auto-corrected.

• It is now possible to turn images off when searching, giving a very compact list of products.

We have made the site easier to navigate by refining the layout to remove levels where possible, reducing clicks necessary until products are displayed.

We have changed the way filters can be applied to a selection of products, making the interface clearer by getting rid of unhelpful detail, and making relevant and helpful filters more visible.

We’ve introduced better sorting criteria to rearrange how a list of products is displayed to the user.

Our customers can now see ‘recently viewed’ items, to help with returning to items which they’ve recently been interested in.

Improved features on the basket and checkout pages are:

• You can now see your most frequently ordered items, which can act as a memory aid prior to checkout.

• It is easier to edit the basket by deleting items or changing quantities within the basket

• We now have a ‘Save for Later’ area, which allows customers to save items which may be out of stock or not required immediately. When next ordering, the user can easily select items which have come back into stock and add them to the main basket.

Customers can now make better use of their My Account area as details of all orders can be viewed here. Orders can be exported to CSV file format from here, and from emailed order confirmations, and now include both pack size and barcode information, making this data more useful to retailers. This is particularly helpful when introducing new ranges and products onto retail systems.

The site can now be viewed by anyone, not just Groves account holders. Of course, we will not be displaying trade prices to anyone other than logged-in users, but this feature allows retailers to show the entire range to the consumer without the prices, which we hope will be a useful selling tool. In addition, the resulting increase in traffic through the site will generate sales, with our Sales Office directing consumers to retailers.

Stock levels on the website are updated around every five minutes, ensuring an accurate reflection of true stock availability.

For our customers based in Europe, the site can now be viewed in Euros.

The site continues to work best when used in conjunction with our barcode scanning system, and here we have streamlined the interface to make it even easier to use.

There is a much improved Resource section where retailers can easily find a host of product information, project ideas, shade cards, product demonstrations, videos and reviews. As our social media presence continues to increase we aim to create links between postings and the resource section.

As always, we continue with our overriding aim of delivering exceptional service to our customers, both in terms of stock availability, and speed of delivery with minimal errors. We aim to deliver between 24 and 48 hours after placing an order, although this may be longer for customers outside the UK.

I think that we have managed to achieve our objectives with very little disruption to our customers, and that the new site has been welcomed by the majority of customers who appreciate the subtle improvements and new features. Groves New Trade Website - www.grovesltd.co.uk

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