Most of us are already using the web for pretty much everything we need, from buying books to going on holiday but there is still a minority of businesses not utilizing the web and seeing it as only a side thought for their business.
Webigence re-developed a bespoke website for just such a business of antique dealers. Decorative Collective launched in the summer and currently has over 120 antiques dealers from the UK and across Europe that are regular contributing members. At last count there was around 15,798 decorative antique items listed on the site ranging from 18th Century (and earlier) to 21st Century modern items.
Decorative Collective is a website where individual antique dealers can show off their stock and create sales and leads to further their business. Jane Walton appreciated the difficulty of dragging the world of antiques and dealers (who are used to having their shop as the primary source of income) onto the web. “The dealers don’t see the web as a priority for them; shops, fairs and auctions are their main focus, but we want to show them they can have just as much, if not more, success using a website like ours to get them known and their stock seen and bought by wider audiences” says Jane Walton.
Antiques are a decorative object often seen as an expression of a person’s character but also as an investment. Like all good investors it makes sense for people to do their research before purchasing anything and where do most people go to do research? The web.
There was a previous version of the website so re-developing and re-designing the portal from scratch has been no mean feat with a lot of effort put in from both us and the client given that there are not only the dealers to please but also the known (i.e. regular returning interior designers) and unknown (new) customers that visit the site. This highlighted a crucial point throughout the UX process as to who the site was being created for - was it our client? The Dealers (our client’s clients)? Or the users/customers? Each entity would be using the site in a different way and looking for it to perform in different ways depending on their own requirements and business needs as well as the their previous knowledge/experience of how the old website worked.
Interest in the website has been steadily growing within the antiques field across the world with users accessing and viewing the site from USA, Europe, Australia, Russia, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong and many more countries.
Image: Google Analytics geo map and table:
From launch (19th June 2014) there were 1,224 users on the website and it jumped to 5,256 by 1st July and at the peak in November there were 7,399 users on the website with 5,324 of them being new visitors and over 93,463 page views.
One thing our client has been very good at is writing a regular newsletter every week as a way to get users to return to the site. We developed a new newsletter module that allows the client to either upload images from the desktop or pull in product images from the website which link to the website when clicked on.
The total number of new users since launch is 28,800 which is a lot of demand and stress on the website to function correctly and quickly (as well as having over 15,798 product items to view of high quality images).
In order to make the user experience better from the previous website where you had to click into each separate dealer and go through various levels to see their items, Webigence built an intelligent and powerful Search that allows you to filter the stock by various options such as category, price range, dealer, age of item etc and the resultant stock images are displayed on the same page without you having to navigate the website back and forth, making it quicker to widen and narrow down your search for anything in particular. There is also a key word search bar on the homepage which allows you, for example, to type in ‘Table’ and pick ‘Matthew Cox’ as the dealer.
Websites are always expanding, changing, developing with new features, improved functionality and UX as well as design and it is a big job to keep up-to-date a site of this size. There will always bit elements that need fixing and improving as websites are similar to a living thing that needs to adapt and evolve in order to stay ‘alive’ and current. Hopefully with the partnership of client and developer and their respective skills we can make it work well.
Webigence is a specialist ASP.NET web development company based in London. If you are interested in forming a partnership with us, please do get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blog written by Natalie Wiggins