An executive conversation with Luigi Moccia, Founder
Our agency specializes in design, developing and optimizing BigCommerce powered ecommerce stores.
Oftentimes our clients have already chosen BigCommerce as their ecommerce platform, and come to us to help them design and develop a custom ecommerce website, which means we don’t need to convince them on which platform to choose, but get to understand their challenges, and then recommend how the various features and app providers can help and grow their business.
By being specialized in BigCommerce rather than working with several platforms, we can ensure our merchants maximize their investment in the platform. We help merchants conceptualize their ecommerce solution and then execute on that plan through design, development and extension. For each stage of their growth we can advise on - and implement - additional features and platforms to help them with continued growth.
We are partners with many best-in-class apps and solutions such as Rewind.io, Linnworks, Klaviyo, Searchspring and Klevu Search, so it’s not just our knowledge of the platform that helps merchants, but also our strategic relationships with technology partners in the BigCommerce ecosystem.
Our unique selling point is that we have been working with BigCommerce since early 2010, when they were just 7 months old. We’ve seen the platform evolve, improve and expand. This experience and knowledge can’t be bought.
What this also means is that our development is more fluid and efficient, meaning less development time spent overcoming obstacles or researching functionality. We may not be the cheapest, but the value our client’s get is something we are proud of.
We help merchants conceptualize their ecommerce solution and then execute on that plan through design, development and extension.
Every build starts with a workshop so we can gain a deeper insight into the client’s company, industry and typical customer, which is usually run face-to-face with project stakeholders. We usually meet the clients in person as it helps build trust and strengthen the relationship, which in turn helps the project run more fluidly. Researching and understanding the client’s market, and what their current challenges are can ensure we design a website which meets their needs and resonates with their customers.
Once the workshop and Information Architecture are complete, our UX designer prepares the wireframes and concepts (we are a mobile-first agency - any agency not adopting this approach is doing it wrong in my opinion. Most visits to websites are now from mobiles, and it’s easier to take what’s on a mobile and expand it to a desktop, than vice-versa) and present them in a prototype. This helps merchants visualize the user journey and interaction with their website. There is no excuse for bad UX. We are really passionate about creating the most intuitive and fluid UX.
The next stage is development, where our BigCommerce Certified developers build the website - this is either directly on BigCommerce or on a headless deployment using platforms such as Wordpress, where BigCommerce powers the ecommerce element and Wordpress is the front-end. Here we also work with other technology partners to increase certain functionalities, such as working with Klevu for smarter search or JMango360 to create a mobile app.
Most of our merchants need some form of external functionality or integration, which is where we utilise the powerful APIs to integrate with ERP, OMS or WMS systems, or build custom apps and integrations to automate data flow or add additional functionality. The APIs, which allow you to exploit the full potential of the BigCommerce platform, are really helpful as they allow us to pretty much achieve anything the client needs.
The BigCommerce platform is constantly evolving, with new features and updates being rolled out, so we often see clients come to us to implement a theme update or make design changes to accommodate a new feature.
We work hard to create strong relationships with all our clients, we are seen as a trusted partner who is always there to help. Communication and momentum are the two most important elements of a successful project build, and I know this from experience.
We are not building a tangible product - what we do doesn’t physically exist. The analogy I always use is this: if we were building a house, the customer paid the deposit, and then we didn’t speak for a few weeks/months, the customer could go to the site, see the foundations being dug. On the next visit, they could see the walls going up, then the windows, the roof, and so on.
Our Project Delivery Manager uses Asana to manage tasks and timelines, and clients have access to this should they want to see progress, which is another way we communicate.
We also arrange weekly calls with merchants, which brings us onto momentum. For a lot of merchants, the development project is in addition to their daily tasks, so we find that at the start there is excitement and movement, and then ‘work’ can get in the way. We maintain the momentum through these calls, which gives deadlines for clients to adhere to, but also means we have regular updates and discussions.
As for how our colleagues work, internal communication and collaboration allows projects to move fluidly between teams, and at the end of every single project we have an internal review to find at least one way we can improve for the next project.
There is always a better way!
SUCCESS STORIES: Pushing the Boundariesv
One of our clients, a large construction company in the U.K.., uses BigCommerce as a procurement platform. Buyers for each of their sites use the dedicated website to order materials. We built the website behind a login, meaning only authenticated users can purchase. We also built several functionalities that are out-of-the-box such as product filtering or using customer groups to manage which products can/cannot be delivered to certain areas. We have implemented solutions from other technology partners to optimize the delivery process, manage subscription products, allow buyers to request quotes for products before placing orders, and then integrate into a complex ERP system. This not only improves the customer’s experience - making it easy to find and order items - but helps our client with product merchandising, administration, and invoicing.
One of our merchants is a B2B display equipment supplier to retailers. They are in a very competitive sector and wanted to make the findability of products as easy and intuitive as possible. They also wanted to optimise their inbound traffic for various keywords. We therefore implemented ‘Quick Links’ which appeared on PLPs and linked to the 4 most popular categories in that department to make it easy for visitors to find what they might be looking for. As for the inbound traffic, to leverage their SEO, instead of creating variants for products (i.e. 1 product with 6 variants) we made the variants their own product, and created a solution whereby the variants appeared on each individual PDP, so if you wanted to select variant #2, you’d be seamlessly taken to another PDP, which was optimised for that variant (different height or colour, for example).
For another merchant who is specialized in B2C, they wanted to implement a promotion model whereby a coupon code would be advertised on paid search, and when the visitor entered the code on the website, all the qualifying products would have their prices changed. This may sound simple, but there was no out-of-the-box solution, so we developed a custom promotions manager to manage the coupon codes, and a special script to allow the codes to discount the prices.
Currently, we are involved in quite a few ‘headless’ developments, which gives us greater flexibility in terms of functionality. Podbike.com and Nana’s Manners are launching this month - both on Wordpress powered by BigCommece, and both visionary DTC brands in their own sectors.