Berghaus is an outdoor clothing and equipment brand with a track record spanning more than forty years. Frustrated by the lack of high quality outdoor clothing available in 1966, Berghaus’ founders set out to establish an innovative clothing range, inspired by what climbers actually want and need, which went on to form the brand that is now known worldwide. With continued international growth ambitions and increasing customer expectations, Berghaus recognised the need to grow their online presence by delivering an engaging and consistent omni-channel experience and expanding into new international markets.
In January 2014, Berghaus enlisted the services of eCommera, the specialist commerce services business, because of its expertise and strong track record in delivering solutions for a host of top brands. The strategy was to improve the overall customer experience on the Berghaus website and involved making some big changes to the way the site worked. “We spent a lot of time improving the navigation and architecture in order to help customers find what they were looking for quickly and easily,” explained Andrew Cooper, head of digital marketing & direct retail, Berghaus. “Previously the overall user experience was driving customers away from the site, but eCommera helped us to recognise the value of omni-channel and has delivered a fully responsive site that is tightly integrated to back-end systems.”
Prior to working with eCommera, Berghaus had an on-premise solution, however the solution was unreliable when it came to handling traffic peaks and required development effort for even simple changes to the site. This left Berghaus struggling to keep pace with the speed of change in the industry. Further to issues with the speed of innovation, the cost and time of development to support new international sites was prohibitive and so Berghaus found themselves missing opportunities.
Not content to leave opportunity on the table, Berghaus engaged eCommera. Known for their expertise on the Demandware platform, eCommera was an obvious choice for a brand who needed to quickly re-launch a more flexible site. Within five months, the new site was live with a fully integrated OMS being added within.
For Berghaus, the positive impact of working with eCommera was soon evident, as the retailer experienced a double-digit increase in sales between January and August 2014. “We’ve added a whole range of detail on our product pages and added ratings and reviews,” continues Cooper. “Our checkout flow has been simplified meaning customers can purchase items easily, and we’ve successfully added a cascade of promotions, including free delivery for orders over a certain value, all of which have had a positive impact on conversion and overall sales.”
Whilst the sales increase was a great result for Berghaus, improving customer service and ultimately the customer experience was the driving force of the project. This has undoubtedly been achieved; a survey of Berghaus customers in mid-August showed that 99% would buy again from the retailer and 93% felt their enquiries were handled effectively. “Most importantly, our customers have reacted to the new site extremely positively and have appreciated the additional service options such as ‘email me when item is back in stock’. Significantly, our customers have commented that our sites work seamlessly across different devices, which is a reflection on eCommera’s work.”
Whilst work initially focused on its UK site, Berghaus has also worked on improving its international sites. “Responsiveness is key, especially in new markets. The Demandware platform has enabled us to drive economies of scale by reusing content on other sites instead of having to recreate assets,” said Cooper. Berghaus found that the platform allowed them to automate merchandising rules and maintain uniformity across all its sites. With the features offered by Demandware, Berghaus could base the rules on product sales and stock levels, and then replicate this across categories.
Berghaus has a whole host of plans for further optimising the customer experience. “Our short term goals are to refine the checkout process further by reducing the steps. In addition, we would like to explore the ways in which we can use guided search and rich content to further improve the experience. The whole process is exciting and there’s still so much we want to develop.”
Cooper said: “The entire business is really eager to see what further changes our partnership with eCommera will bring. The ability to have so much administrative flexibility and control has been really welcomed by the digital teams. We are now able to experiment with more merchandising options; for example, we will shortly be entering our key Autumn-Winter season and we are keen to use A/B testing to do more experimentation with our strategies. In working with eCommera, we’ve gained peace of mind through the knowledge that its work is always delivered to the highest of standards and we are certainly looking forward to what the future has in store.”