Miva Ecommerce Customization
Precious Accents – a family-owned jewelry retailer of over 30 years – grew from a local brick-and-mortar to a fully-featured eCommerce site with the redesign of their desktop and mobile standalone sites in the early 2010s. However, that growth was threatened by increasing consumer demand for top-flight mobile experiences as mobile commerce matured.
Struggling to adapt to the new mobile reality, when they decided to redesign their ecommerce website in 2016, Precious Accents enlisted the help of Glendale Designs, a digital marketing firm specializing in web design and ecommerce development for business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) clients.
In order to improve conversion rates, repeat visits and mobile engagement rates, Glendale Designs recommended that Precious Accents optimize the customer experience by prioritizing mobile – without sacrificing desktop – with a responsive website.
In 2012, with the ascendancy of mobile an ever-growing reality, Precious Accents deployed both a mobile stand-alone and desktop site. While this was an adequate solution for the time, in reality, the desktop site received most of the orders and development/marketing focus while mobile – increasing every day in traffic and importance – was always an afterthought in both performance and functionality.
According to Precious Accents President, Mario Rosenthal, “as the traffic shifted to mobile, we became increasingly reliant on high desktop conversion rates in order to maintain our sales.”
By 2016, neither platform was particularly well-suited for the task of converting visitors to customers. Specifically, the desktop platform couldn’t support the latest and greatest features while the mobile platform significantly underperformed desktop in terms of conversion rate.
From a logistical standpoint, maintaining two separate – yet inextricably linked – websites presented its own challenges. Often, fixing something on one site would break something on the other. Universal upgrades became impossible because each site was so heavily customized. And new features were generally not supported – or supported in desktop only – especially those relating to checkout or shortened checkout.
Our design and development teams collaborated closely with Precious Accents to better understand their customers and how they interacted with both the desktop and mobile sites. Based on our interviews, most visitors to Precious Accents preferred the overall usability of the desktop site although it lacked certain key features many shoppers have come to expect of a modern ecommerce site such as Amazon Pay, PayPal and Address Book. Mobile users, on the other hand, felt the mobile site was a text-heavy, stripped-down version of the desktop site – optimized to fit a small screen but not offering the fully-featured desktop experience. Customers didn’t find the mobile site particularly shopper-friendly either. According to Rosenthal, “[the mobile site] worked if you knew exactly what you wanted and searched for it.” Otherwise, “it was too difficult to just browse unless you were really motivated.”
Shoppability was one of our number one priority for this high traffic site. A large number of 3rd-party modules were removed and replaced with built-in functionality or custom coding, to reduce site overhead and minimize potential future update issues. SearchSpring was integrated to improve site search and faceted navigation.
Just about everything was customized, from product customization features to the checkout process – we will continue to tweak this site to improve performance and customer experience.
The solution focused on usability in mobile. Our concept was to create a fully-featured desktop experience in mobile that could easily be scaled up to larger screen sizes including tablet and desktop. We proposed a mobile-first responsive design to replace the existing standalone mobile and desktop sites. Since delivering a shopper-friendly experience on a small-scale is necessarily the more difficult task, it made sense that we wouldn’t be sacrificing usability when scaled up to desktop. A unified experience would also simplify site maintenance and allow Precious Accents to take advantage of new features and innovations across all devices without regard to differing functionality between platforms.
Among other things, the new responsive design allowed Precious Accents to move past a buggy, desktop-only 2-page checkout with limited support for many of its features – all provided via unsupported 3rd party modules which were likely to be phased-out with the newest shopping cart releases. The new responsive design gave Precious Accents a shortened mobile checkout with support for coupons, gift certificates and gift messaging, previously absent on the mobile standalone site, across all devices. The responsive checkout also added altogether new features such as address book and a digital wallet.
Responsive design also allowed for better integration with popular mobile payment methods such as PayPal and Amazon Pay – crucial elements of a frictionless checkout in a mobile-first world. PayPal had been a feature of the old build; however, the previous integration offered a clunky checkout experience for mobile users and no support for Amazon Pay, even in desktop. The new experience would simplify payments by offering two distinct checkout flows. Amazon Pay and PayPal were removed from the standard checkout in order to streamline the experience for credit/debit cards whereas Amazon Pay and PayPal were highlighted in the mini-cart (as well as the standard cart) in order to facilitate a frictionless digital wallet-based flow, especially useful for mobile checkouts.
Lastly, as their customers are generally already familiar with the brands that they offer, on mobile devices, Precious Accents customers prefer to shop by brand – whereas the desktop experience also invites casual browsers who are more likely to shop by brand or style. For these shoppers, styles such as Charms, Bracelets or Rings become more useful for navigation. In order to increase conversion rates, especially on desktop, the new site had to support both brand-focused shoppers and casual browsers. To this end, we integrated a responsive menu element powered by the existing brand-based category structure as well as styles (powered by Search Spring). This mega-menu would be resized on smaller screen sizes. On larger screen-sizes, the most prominent styles would also be featured on the primary navigation bar. Both brands and styles could be further refined by Search Spring facets and shopping cart subcategories with the ultimate goal of seamless browsing from brand to style or vice versa across devices.
With the site launch in June 2016, Precious Accents saw an immediate boost of 33% in mobile conversion rates – with desktop holding steady – for a total sales increase of 15%. Precious Accents also saw a sharp uptick in the volume of sales calls (i.e. phone orders) which couldn’t be directly attributed to but were likely influenced by the enhanced mobile experience.
When discussing sales performance before and after going responsive, Mr. Rosenthal had this to say: “Going responsive paid for itself in a matter of months.” Furthermore, “we are in a much better position going into this holiday  season than we’ve been in a long time.”
Total Sales Increase