Agility supports best e-commerce practices

  • Etienne Engasser

We use agility to make continuous progress at a fast pace, a great advantage for global e-commerce platforms such as that created for Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Learn more about our Custom Development, E-commerce and CMS services.

An agile overhaul of the Jaeger-LeCoultre platform

We worked agile to migrate the e-commerce platform that was as sizeable as it was complex. The website is made up of numerous functionalities and areas): catalogue management, synchronisation of accounts and availability by markets, the catalogue display, the MyAccount area, the purchasing process, editorial content, store management, etc.

The project was substantial, and agility and scrum significantly influenced our way of approaching the development.

A structured approach and methodology to quickly deliver critical functionalities

Such migrations can take many years if you use a waterfall approach. Loyal to the principles of agility, we broke down big developments into actionable smaller parts to add more value quicklyThe first objective was to deliver these critical features fast: catalogue management and the e-commerce area.

After around three months, we provided a testable version of the website in which we could create a client account, see the products available to purchase and place orders in different markets (Europe, the USA, South Korea and Japan).

As the critical part was developed early on, we were able to anticipate all major problems with the core features. We were then ready to tackle the second big project, the editorial content.

The style guide as the cornerstone of the front-end design

In the second phase, we were able to develop the editorial areas of the website: the presentation of collections, editorial pages, service pages, etc. These posed less of a challenge from a technical point of view, but it was major work from an editorial point of view for Jaeger-LeCoultre. Work on this was done in two parts: each content block in the style guide (our library of components containing all blocks for the website) was incorporated and then made available in the CMS so the administrators could integrate the content.

The website was complex and contained numerous blocks, so we needed to identify the block categories that needed to be prioritised to allow managers on the client’s side to integrate the content that was a priority quickly. We started with the most frequently used blocks, such as the product description, blocks of text and paragraphs with an image to the left or right.

A pragmatic approach for a quick overhaul

We developed the remainder of the elements in a third phase. This included the less critical elements, but still necessary for the first version of the website to go live. Notable elements were the contact form, newsletter subscription form and store finder. These tasks required less work and fewer interactions when it came to running tests.

The key to success for this project was prioritising and breaking down the tasks. Agile methods usually require a certain amount of adaptation on the client's side, but this was not the case with Jaeger-LeCoultre, as we had collaborated with them for many years. Fortunately, the benefits of the approach materialised. Instead of delivering the complete platform at the end, we could deliver the first features very quickly. Jaeger-LeCoultre also benefited from our experience as it was the fourth company in the Richemont group that we migrated to Phoenix.

Agility for continued data-driven improvement

What matters in agility is not what we know at the outset but what we learn along the way. There will be elements that we know we haven’t thought of yet, and many more that we don’t even realise that we haven’t thought of yet when we start the project.

In the development phase, before going live, we continued to adapt our approach following the latest user experience trends. This is because we wanted to deliver elements that adhere to best e-commerce practices, which change rapidly. We avoid defining the parameters right at the start of the project; this results in a website that is already obsolete by the time it is launched.

The platform's various developments also increased online sales at Jaeger-LeCoultre. During the development phases, we worked on new features we would implement after the launch we were working on. This was the case for the websites for new markets, such as the recent example of the APAC region (Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore).

The process of continuous improvement involves keeping up with developments in luxury e-commerce. However, this does not mean that platform components should be changed if this does not bring real added value. An analysis was carried out in close collaboration with the teams at Jaeger-LeCoultre bearing in mind the objectives we were helping them achieve. The priorities for optimising the website are going to be different according to whether the objective is to spend more time learning about the products or adding items to the basket.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre website adheres to the best practices for the luxury and e-commerce sector:

  • Optimising the visibility of the search field, including mobile devices
  • Clear navigation for the user
  • High-performance, fast website
  • High-quality, immersive visuals
  • Detailed, precise information on the products
  • Product personalisation services (via the strap finder or the online engraving tool)
  • Optimising the user journey for buying products
  • Optimised product descriptions to show the essential information searched for by users
  • Website available in numerous languages and multiple countries

Focusing on user experience and the long-term vision in order to continuously progress

However, the user remains the most important element in this continuous improvement process. The needs of online consumers evolve, particularly in the luxury industry, as both their requirements and expectations are high. Working agile allows us to adapt and respond to new requirements. Since the website has been online, we have collected and analysed user data and feedback to continuously make changes and optimise their experience. For example, we collected internal feedback from the client's retail, product and digital departments.

Enabling continuous improvement requires giving it the same attention in terms of planning and roadmap management as during the development phase. This is what allows us to keep a holistic view and a clear medium to long-term direction, all while remaining agile and working in short sprints sprints.

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