The past months Joshua Van Dijk (Tausendkraut GmbH) and I were busy planning, benchmarking, designing, developing and marketing the relaunch of the German online shop “Tausendkraut“, which specializes on organic and natural products, and was the first online shop in Germany commercializing Jiaogulan Tea, Chanca Piedra & Mexican Wild Yam.
The online shop has grown organically over the past years, the backend was running with XTCommerce 3, which does not correspond to modern software development’s best practices anymore. Modifications and updates were painful and time consuming. Also, the site performance had several critical bottlenecks while, according to Walmart, 1 second of performance improvement increases conversion rates by 2%. Furthermore, the shop had several critical SEO issues, hurting search engine rankings and therefore organic traffic generation.
Moreover, the shop usability was not optimal anymore due to the grown product variety, and the overall changed technical possibilities in the past few years.
The business goals for the relaunch focused mainly on two categories:
- Revenue growth
- increase of average order value
- improvement of customer satisfaction
- improved conversion of first time users to customers
- improved conversion of first time customers to recurring customers
- Controlled brand communication
- high end
The target audiences can be categorized in different ways. Regarding the user age, we encounter a bimodal distribution. We have a fair amount of younger users (approx. 31% between 18 and 34 years), as well as a very significant amount of older users (approx. 52% of users over 45).
The younger users can be generally described as health-conscious consumers, often interested in vegan food and natural supplements because of a general interest in healthy living. In contrast to the younger target audience, the older target audience starts to struggle with health issues, and is often disappointed by the traditional school medicine which is why they might be especially interested in alternative medicine and natural healing products.
The third target audience, that is not composed of end consumers, is B2B resellers, such as pharmacies and ‘heilpraktiker’.
This way the requirements were already clear:
- resource efficient software development process according to best practices
- high Performance
- high Security
- good Usability (high ‘ease of use’ & ‘joy of use’)
- catering to the target audience needs
- search engine friendly
Because of the level of customisation needed, and the ecosystem of available off-the-shelf solutions for common requirements, the choice for the shop software quickly crystallized into Magento CE.
With the use of available resources for templating, payment integrations (Amazon Payments, Paypal, PayOne for Credit Card and Direct Debit payments, as well as payments via invoice for customers with more than 1 order), the project execution was relatively seamless.
The migration of ~50.000 orders, customers and products, as well as the corresponding URL redirects was challenging; but with a combination of off-the-shelf solutions and custom code, the migration concluded flawlessly.
The final step was the integration of the order export from Magento to the ERP system Amicron Faktura. Unfortunately, the export script provided by Amicron is awfully unperformant: It makes recursive calls to the Magento SOAP API for each order instead of using the provided functions by Magento and is buggy behaving unpredictably, which made a custom implementation necessary.
For the launch, we set up a simple site with a maintenance notice, linking to the Tausendkraut shop on Amazon, before pointing the DNS to the new server.
After triggering a new crawl of the site via Google Webmaster Tools, we monitored the Google Search Console for Crawl Errors for a few days as it is almost impossible to not get 404 Errors after a relaunch.
As the server response time at the time of the launch was not 100% satisfying, we configured the PHP opcache on the server for PHP caching as well as Redis in order to efficiently cache DB queries and user sessions.
Due to Magento’s peculiarities regarding URLs, additional configuration was needed to ensure unique URLs and proper canonicalization to prevent duplicate content issues.
In the days following the relaunch, we noticed the expected increase in the overall search engine rankings as well as the resulting increase in organic traffic.
Despite small problems that were quickly fixed, the customer feedback has been very positive.
Joshua and I are very happy about this successful project and the excellent results, and will continue optimizing the online shop now that we have created a solid fundament for further optimizations.