Case study with Mark Hammond, Head of eCommerce at Heals. Video transcript below:

“I’m Mark Hammond, I head up eCommerce at Heals. Heals is a luxury, furniture, homewares retailer, initially found in London in 1810. We now have seven stores across the UK as well as website, of course, which now represents nearly half the business.”

The client experience

“I think top of my mind, I’d say innovative, because it really feels like we’re being part of a journey with something that’s not out there.

Supportive, the CS [Customer Services] team are as good as the many I’ve worked in, and I’ve been in this game a long, long time. 

And then finally progressive. Where we are now feels like both from a Heals digital perspective and from an AC [Advanced Commerce] perspective, in 12 months, 24 months, we are in a very, very different place. And it’s nice that we can share that journey together.”

Support and Client Services

“When people ask me this, I always start with support. I think it’s the one thing that stood out in our relationship from day one and when we’re onboarding it’s really felt like we’ve had to partner to the team who really tries to understand the complexities of Heals, and we have a lot of complexities. The way we configure products to be online or offline is not as simple as that. There’s lots of rules and the tech team have bent over backwards to help us. 

Moving forward, every time we’ve wanted something that’s not part of the Advanced Commerce infrastructure it’s always been put it into the roadmap. We’ve seen stuff actually being delivered based on our requirements, which is a refreshing change compared to some of the other partners we work with.

Katie [Client Services Director at Advanced Commerce] has been brilliant, having someone who’s there on a call or on an email and ready to respond to everything. My team are quite junior and having Katie put an arm around them and bringing them on the journey has been really amazing to see, to see my team grow as we’ve implemented AC, which has been a real challenge historically- getting our merchandising up and running, but my team get excited when new products come in and they think about how they can merchandise them, which is a refreshing change.”

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase of customers converting from the product listing pages to our product detail pages since going live with Advanced Commerce.”

Mark Hammond, Head of eCommerce

Our Platform: GrapheneHC

“The thing that we like the most is the not complexity but the variety of what we can do. Historically, my team just had one algorithm that would sit across the entire website but now they’re starting to think about when newness comes in- how can we promote that? How do we have different products that have affinity to each other and place them next to each other, as well as the overall style of the page? So, I think it’s the ability to have lots of variable rules, but also different categories behaving differently as they do in-store and as they do online. We’re able to have different kind of merchandising strategies across the whole website.

We have a complicated catalogue. We have hundreds of categories, hundreds of brands, thousands of products. And as a premium retailer, the challenge for us is how do we balance style, look and feel with the commercial aspect. And something we’ve always struggled on is having a tool that allows us to do both and that’s what Graphene’s really supported us with for that part of the journey.”

The Challenge before Advanced Commerce

“The biggest challenge were our brands who’d ask why this product is showing here and why this product isn’t showing there. We always went to a point where a lot of my team would end up bending over backwards for buyers with a lot of manual merchandising, and ultimately a lot of that would be product that hadn’t been selling, which had been the reason we wanted to push them, but it resulted in a page that wasn’t commercial. We’d end up with pages that looked great but didn’t perform well, or the ones that we hadn’t done lots of manual merchandising on that wouldn’t look so good and they would jar against the merchandised pages, and yet they might perform a little bit better. 

But in tandem to that, being able to group products together is something we see as a huge asset to us. We have beautiful ranges that historically would be lost, whereas now, the pages have a bit more consistency that reflects when you’re in a store and you see nice products together. So we’re trying to replicate that online a little bit more.”

The results

“First and foremost, it’s less complaints. It’s less people coming up and saying, “well what’s going on? Why are you showing those products?” On the flip side, when they do, my team now are in control of what products are being shown where that they know the reason why products are there. And as the months have gone by its very, very rarely someone comes up and asked that question. 

I think from a pure performance perspective we look at how many PLP [Product Listing Page] page views go to PDP [Product detail page] views as a measure of how successful that page is, and we’ve seen a dramatic uplift since we launched Advanced Commerce.

And then the final one would be the team. I touched upon it earlier that the team are genuinely enjoying merchandising. They’re seeing they could be a lot more creative, and they’re able to produce pages perform a lot better, but also look better.”


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