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HCLSoftware: Fueling the Digital+ Economy

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The IT-related tasks required to maintain an e-commerce site can be challenging for an organization, often reducing time spent on marketing and merchandising, which can drive online sales. Reducing IT tasks and redirecting that effort toward revenue-driven tasks can significantly improve business results.

A North American women’s apparel retailer did just that and achieved spectacular results. Working with a trusted technology partner gave the company space and time to focus on growing the core business.

Inefficient Outdated Technology

An old version of e-commerce software limited the company’s ability to innovate. Every major online event, such as a sale, required close monitoring to ensure the site didn’t present challenges for customers. As a safety precaution, the IT team had a long list of operational tasks to execute before every campaign to ensure optimal site performance; this cumbersome process was a continual drain on IT resources.

In addition to the platform stability issues, the retailer’s web storefront was custom-developed. It didn’t leverage out-of-the-box functionality, often leading to slow response times and inefficient site performance.

The company also worked with one vendor to build the storefront and another to manage the platform. Working with multiple vendors led to misalignment and communication challenges among all parties involved.

The challenges had a direct impact on the business. Older technology constrained the business team’s ability to implement desired functions and capabilities to drive business growth. For example, the business sought to increase the velocity of deployments and improve site security. Additionally, site speed adversely affected conversion, site performance, and scalability at peak times. These challenges took away from the core focus of strategizing how to increase customer engagement to drive sales.

Single-Vendor Alignment

Realizing that an e-commerce site overhaul was needed, the retailer upgraded to the latest version of their e-commerce platform. It opted for a complete platform solution with one vendor, HCLSoftware, consolidating expert implementation services, hosting services, and managed services.

As part of the upgrade process, the web storefront was changed to take advantage of out-of-the-box functionalities, and site performance was also addressed. The business and IT teams worked in tandem to align and integrate schedules, ensuring the upgrade didn’t affect website promotions.

The upgrade has led to platform stability and improved efficiency, streamlining operations such as deployments, the frequency of new changes being introduced, and the responsiveness and speed to problem resolution, to name a few. These improvements have enabled the business to achieve and improve its key performance metrics.

Working with a single vendor isn’t the only method of increasing efficiency. The retailer’s business and IT teams also work closely together. The marketing team shares upcoming campaigns with the IT team to ensure the platform is fine-tuned to handle increased traffic or server hits.

As one example, most promotional sales emails include dynamic links to the e-commerce site. When emails are sent, site traffic will spike over a very short period, requiring the platform to be prepared to handle much greater volume. The IT team works with their trusted hosting partner, HCLSoftware, to conduct stress testing to ensure system capacity can scale up and down appropriately.

Efficient Technology and Vendor Alignment Lead to Improved Customer Experience and Revenue Growth

Within 18 months of the upgrade and vendor consolidation, the retailer has generated exceptional business results with the well-tuned HCL Commerce Cloud platform. Trusting that the platform will scale according to business requirements has enabled the retailer to focus on core business goals, such as improved customer experience and increased revenue. Improved platform stability has also reduced the need for the retailer’s IT team to run extensive testing before every campaign.

With confidence in the platform’s stability and ability to scale, the business can run more frequent promotions without concern that the increased traffic would be more than the site could handle. This scalability directly relates to conversion rates since it reduces friction in the buying process that could be caused by slow page load time or site crashes.

In addition to the HCL Commerce Cloud services team that manages the platform, the retailer employs a small, nimble IT team whose primary focus is integrations. This team has utilized the third-party integration capabilities of the HCL Commerce Cloud platform to improve customer experience based on data collected in stakeholder and customer interviews.

One customer experience improvement the retailer implemented is a “right fit” integration. This feature guides shoppers to purchase the correct size garment based on a description of the cut and fit of each piece. A measurement guide is also included to ensure proper fit on the first order, which reduces the item return rate. The retailer has also added features that allow shoppers to better assess the look and feel of the clothing fabric through zoom capabilities and detailed written descriptions. This feature is critical in e-commerce to reduce product returns resulting from product expectations not meeting reality.

The retailer has implemented additional third-party integrations as part of an ongoing effort to provide a high-quality customer experience. Additional payment methods were added to reduce friction at checkout and increase conversion rates. Currently, the retailer is evaluating an integration into a warehouse management system to offer more buying options such as buy-online-pickup-instore or buy-online-ship-from-store. Each third-party integration intentionally guides buyers through a seamless shopping experience, driving greater customer engagement to increase customer loyalty.

The results of the retailer’s platform upgrade, third-party integrations, and services partnership with HCLSoftware speak for themselves. When comparing its heaviest traffic days, Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, the retailer saw strong year-over-year growth in site performance and revenue from 2022 to 2023:

  • Cart transactions only - response time (average) improved by 11%
  • Overall Response time improved by 39%
  • Overall revenue increased by 23%
  • Overall order lines increased by 25%
  • Transaction processor response time improved by 38%
  • Page render response time improved by 39%
  • Search performance improved by 25%

Hard work and open, frequent communication between the retailer and HCL Software are the foundation for success as the business continues to grow. By working with a single vendor that offers a comprehensive service, the retailer can benefit from the vendor’s in-depth knowledge of their business while using the platform’s features and third-party integration capabilities more effectively.

Collaboration is a crucial part of the client and vendor relationship, and these efforts are ongoing through weekly meetings to ensure optimal operations. As part of the client-vendor interaction, the HCL Commerce Cloud team employs a “technical guardian” model, working as one team to identify areas for ongoing site performance improvements that can lead to improved conversion and order flow.

Working with a trusted advisor provides your business the time and space to focus on core business capabilities with the benefit of immediate access to expertise. Let us help you shift your focus and accelerate your business with HCL Commerce Cloud.

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