How Orlebar Brown created a customer-centric experience
For some time, menswear brand Orlebar Brown had benefitted from a customised e-commerce setup that served customers globally. However, it was doing little other than process transactions, and making changes in response to market shifts or growth ambitions proved next to impossible. The retailer now needed a centralised platform for its international brand, with a common set of market-leading features to take the company to the next level.
As a result, the UK retailer decided to revamp its e-commerce platform in order to create a more customer-centric, omnichannel experience and future-proof its position as a brand with its sights set on expansion. To achieve its goals, it employed Astound Commerce to help create a new, tailored website that accurately reflected its brand values.
Astound completed the website rebuild in just five months; the team’s hands-on approach to all elements of the brief and speed of delivery provided Orlebar Brown with a slick, highperformance e-commerce platform that will underpin the retailer’s growth strategy for years to come.
Brave, tailored and vibrant – the company ethos of Orlebar Brown, the luxury menswear brand. For the last nine years, the UK retailer – known primarily for its colourful designer swimwear – has been providing the great feeling of summer to its customers all year around through a number of global stores and a dedicated e-commerce platform.
Orlebar Brown had gone from strength-to-strength over the years, and it was now looking to scale in order to meet ambitious growth targets. But its existing, custom-built e-commerce platform was holding the retailer back. The website was built years before and achieved its main aims of enabling international transactions. However, it was difficult to make any changes, add new features and provide a true customer-centric experience to users.
What’s more, like many retailers today, the majority of Orlebar Brown’s customers were cash rich and time poor. With time being an expensive resource, the retailer wanted a website that would not only provide a simple customer journey from page load to checkout, but it also wanted something that would work on mobile devices so that users could purchase goods in a couple of clicks while on the move.
With these factors in mind, Orlebar Brown decided it was the right time to revamp its e-commerce platform in order to future-proof the business, achieve scale and provide a more seamless and engaging customer experience. The challenge would be to find a digital commerce agency that could not only understand the Orlebar Brown brand, but also deliver something new in extremely tight timeframes.
FINDING THE RIGHT FIT
Orlebar Brown began its search for the right digital commerce agency – a partner that would have the gravitas and experience to create something high-performance, creative and eye-catching. There was a small pool of usual suspects to choose from, but one particular name kept coming up time and time again – Astound Commerce.
“AFTER RECEIVING GLOWING RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OTHER RETAILERS IN THE INDUSTRY REGARDING ASTOUND’S EXPERTISE AND KNOWLEDGE, ASTOUND WAS OUR FIRST CHOICE PARTNER FOR THIS PROJECT.”JAMIE DE CESAREHEAD OF ECOMMERCE AT ORLEBAR BROWN
“IN RECENT TIMES, ASTOUND HAS SIGNIFICANTLY BOLSTERED ITS CREDENTIALS AMONG MAJOR GLOBAL RETAILERS; OUR EXPERIENCE, DEDICATION AND RESULTS NOW MAKE US THE FIRST CHOICE FOR BRANDS LIKE ORLEBAR BROWN LOOKING TO MAKE A SPLASH WITH AN E-COMMERCE PLATFORM THAT DELIVERS ON ALL EXPECTATIONS.”TERRY HUNTERUK MANAGING DIRECTOR AT ASTOUND COMMERCE
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
Time was already against Orlebar Brown; the retailer wanted a new website up and running before Christmas trading, which would leave just five months after the initial discovery process in May to create, build and launch something that met Orlebar Brown’s brief. And this would all take place during one of the retailer’s busiest periods – summer. With a deadline of October for the new website, Astound Commerce needed to work closely with Orlebar Brown to ensure the retailer could continue to capitalise on one of its busiest periods, as well as the upcoming flurry of discount days and the year-end Christmas retail rush.
“We had gone down the customised route with our website for many years, and while it essentially did its job, it was very difficult to add new functionality. Year after year we tried to make changes, but it was a little bit like Jenga – as soon as you move one thing, everything collapses,” said De Cesare. “It was time for a change, and we wanted to live and breathe our brand – being more tailored and process driven to better serve our customers. We needed a partner that would bring Orlebar Brown to life digitally.”
“We’re not averse to delivering high-performance, customer-centric e-commerce platforms in such short timeframes, so we weren’t discouraged in the slightest given the time pressures
the Orlebar Brown brief posed. Our team is adept at hitting the ground running and meeting all deadlines, regardless of the time available, and this was again the case with this particular implementation,” said Hunter.
Before Astound could meet the October deadline, there was a lot of work to be done. Given the importance of brand consistency for the retailer, Orlebar Brown was eager to have Astound Commerce fully involved in the initial discovery stages of the website design. Astound Commerce therefore became very hands-on from the get go, meeting with company founder Adam Brown to ensure the design and implementation teams understood the brand vision, ethos, the customer profile and how Orlebar Brown wanted the brand to be creatively portrayed via the new e-commerce platform. As part of this discovery process, the Astound team also visited a number of Orlebar Brown’s physical stores to fully immerse itself in the brand.
“BY GETTING ASTOUND INVOLVED IN THE CREATIVE PROCESS, THIS ENSURED ANY SUBSEQUENT WEBSITE DESIGN AND BUILD WOULD ACCURATELY AND VIVIDLY REFLECT THE CORE VALUES OF THE ORLEBAR BROWN BRAND THROUGH TYPOGRAPHY, ICONS, SITE JOURNEY AND LAYOUT. ASTOUND’S DESIGNERS DID A FANTASTIC JOB OF GETTING UNDER THE SKIN OF OUR COMPANY, AND THE RESULT HAS BEEN A CLEAN, SHARP AND VERY ON-BRAND EXPERIENCE THAT OUR CUSTOMERS COMPLIMENT US ON.”JAMIE DE CESAREHEAD OF ECOMMERCE AT ORLEBAR BROWN
READY TO BUILD
Due to time constraints, Orlebar Brown opted for a ‘lift and shift’ project based on the latest Demandware Site Genesis platform, using as many out of the box solutions as possible. Working with Astound, this platform was used as a template to optimise the website in order to create the most fluid, seamless journey for users. During the build phase, which kicked off in June, Orlebar Brown visited the Astound development team based in the Ukraine in order to fine tune the new elements of the e-commerce platform before the user acceptance testing stage.
“The Astound team really went beyond the call of duty throughout the project. Whenever we needed the team, day or night, via phone or Skype, the developers were 100% committed to getting the job done and allaying our concerns. Fine tuning the style guidelines with Astound’s help made it much easier for the developers to the build the new site. The face-to-face time we spent with Astound’s developers and solution architects was invaluable and fruitful, ensuring that all involved parties stuck to the strict timelines we had put in place,” commented De Cesare.
The new Orlebar Brown e-commerce platform went live on the 19th October as planned, and now offers a more tailored, customer-centric experience. Load time has significantly improved, boosting the performance of the website, thanks to the ability to search products and complete transactions much more simply and swiftly. The new, sleek look and feel of the website reflects the brand’s ethos of tailored, well-fitting and smart clothing; improved features such as a new-look store locator and rich content provide a more engaging and intuitive shopping experience. Embracing a mobile-first approach in line with customer habits, the platform is now fully responsive and can be viewed across multiple device formats. Most importantly, the retailer now has a website that underpins its future roadmap, enabling it to add content and functionality as it looks to achieve its international expansion goals. imposed.”
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
After rebuilding and relaunching its website in just five months, Orlebar Brown is now monitoring customer traffic to ensure there are no pinch points in user journeys. Honing the online user experience will be the retailer’s focus in the coming months, as well as developing additional functionality and new content – such as more engaging look books and rich media – so that customers can fully immerse themselves in the brand. As a longer-term e-commerce partner, Astound Commerce will be on hand to provide support and consultancy on how to improve the platform on an ongoing basis.
“From day one, the development team has gone the extra mile in terms of commitment, delivery, speed and creativity and we’re certainly not disappointed with the end result. We’re looking forward to working to seeing how our new e-commerce platform propels us into our next phase of growth,” De Cesare concluded.