About the client
Barcham is Europe’s largest tree specialist, growing over 200,000 instant impact trees. With over 20 years of experience in the industry and a nursery which covers a 300-acre site, they have an extensive collection of trees available to purchase online.
Challenges and goals
When customers visit the Barcham Trees nursery in person they receive a high level of service and a great deal of guidance when making their purchase. Barcham wanted to convey the same experience online.
The retail site launched in 2014 and provides customers with a rich experience reflecting Barcham’s quality and brand. The retail site makes it easy for customers to find the tree they want and provides a channel for Barcham to guide decision making. The website also creates confidence and trust during the purchasing process. Following the launch retail sales online increased by 49%.
Looking to duplicate this success, Barcham approached us in 2017 to develop a new trade website: Barcham Pro. We ensured optimum performance for both retail and trade websites by:
- Exploring user journeys to develop a site structure that would support and encourage online sales
- Understanding the specific needs of retail and trade customers and supporting this with bespoke functionality
- Improving the website performance on mobile devices.
Exploring user journeys
There were no analytics on the old Barcham’s site so it was impossible to know what user journeys customers were taking and where they might be dropping off in their journey. We set up Google Analytics with goals so we can track how customers use the site and identify points in the journey which could be improved in the future.
Understanding customer needs
On the retail site we helped customers to find their perfect tree as easily as possible by adding search functionality best suited to their needs. This includes a keyword search for those who know exactly what they need, through to a question-based tree finder to aid those requiring guidance.
We proposed using Barcham’s consumer site as a template for the design of the trade site. With design time kept to a minimum, we could provide a quick turn around and a significant cost saving for the client. We focused on the bespoke functionality that would be required by trade customers:
- Sophisticated search options for tree names as well as tree attributes and needs such as ‘tolerences: drought tolerant, pollution tolerant etc.’ and ‘use: avenue, parkland, urban etc.’
- Accounts give users access to trade prices. These are only available to trade customers and are hidden from consumers who may access the site by accident
- Quick quote for trade customers who know which tree they want and how many they want.
The Barcham Pro website was developed on OpenSource software. We used WordPress as the CMS platform for all non-ecommerce pages for example the ‘news’, ‘events’ and ‘help and advice’ pages. The e-commerce aspect of the website was built on the Sylius e-commerce platform. Sylius is built upon the popular Symfony PHP framework. Sylius enables the creation of customised, high performance e-commerce stores, backed by a secure and reliable foundation.
Improving performance on mobile devices
The old Barcham site had a low number of mobile users, a high bounce rate from devices, and an average visit duration of almost half compared to desktops. It was a must to build the both the consumer and trade sites in a responsive manner. By doing this, we ensured that Barcham websites fit any size device they are accessed from. Barcham have enjoyed a 52% increase in users since 2014.
Both the Barcham and Barcham Pro websites are meeting the client expectations of providing a first class service to online customers and increasing online sales.
52% increase in users since 2015
49% increase in online sales from 2016 to 2017
46% increase in revenue from 2016
330% increase in sales of accessories
Reviewing performance to increase sales
The launch of a website is not the end of a project. We work with our clients to ensure that their websites are achieving their objectives. We use an iterative approach to website development as well as data driven and user-led improvements.
As part of our ongoing work with Barcham Trees we manage their Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising to ensure those looking to purchase a tree find Barcham online.
Following the launch of the website, Barcham Trees tasked us with the key objective of increasing sales for the planting kit and hydration bags, ideally to be purchased alongside every tree bought through their site. Based on customer feedback, improvements to the site search was also a key focus. We undertook user testing with existing customers to explore how we could help Barcham Trees to achieve these goals.
We prototyped search improvements in the browser, which allowed Barcham Trees to quickly review and feedback on the new approach – in doing so we were able to launch this update just three weeks after the project commenced. Alongside prototyping the search improvements, we worked on the design and user experience improvements for the rest of the site. These were demonstrated to Barcham Trees using InVision, bringing the designs to life on-screen and showing how they will look on desktop, tablet and mobile. This allowed Barcham to approve the updates with the knowledge of how they would work responsively.
In January 2017, we launched the second set of site improvements and we monitored sales through Google Analytics to see what impact they had on sales. In the first three months following launch, there was a huge 20% uplift in sales on the site. 24% of these were from new buyers, and sales of accessories went up a whopping 330% from adding up-selling opportunities to the checkout.
This brings Barcham Trees much closer to their target of selling a planting kit or hydration bag alongside every tree bought on their site.