M2mobi - Mobile Web
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Mobile Web

Design, Development, Maintenance
Mobile Web

The Briefing

In the summer of 2013, denim brand G-Star was about to launch a new website. It was not until the very end of the process that it turned out that it was not suitable for smartphones and (to a lesser extent) tablets, despite the fact that there was a considerable growth in traffic on these devices. Postponing was not an option, which meant a solution had to be provided as soon as possible so smartphone users would also have a good website experience.

M2mobi was asked to think of an approach and solution. After a first phase we would enter a new process. During that process mobile-only features and conversion increase would be the primary focus from a mobile first perspective

The Challenge

Normally the advice would be to start from a mobile first perspective and create a responsive site. In this case, development of the desktop site was already too far advanced to start from scratch.

For a company the size of G-Star (that is active in 54 countries) we are also not talking about a simple website, but about a complex architecture and underlying corresponding challenges. Several teams worked full-time on further developing the various components (internationalisation, e-commerce, CMS, branding, features, conversion optimisation, etc.).

Either way, it was a major challenge to find a solution in this complex and dynamic environment that would also be ready for production quickly.

The solution

Because it was not possible to make the desktop site responsive, we opted for creating a parallel mobile-only m-commerce website. In order to save a lot of time we did use the desktop site's code. This has been stripped, converted and optimised for mobile use.

In order to serve mobile shoppers as quickly as possible, we opted for a phased approach. The focus first lay on the shopping part and less on branding. There also was no link with a CMS. We started with only a catalogue so people could browse products but not yet buy them on their mobile phone. In this phase a product locator was already included to find the nearest shops that had a certain piece of clothing in stock.

Subsequently, we started on the actual shopping part. We first went live with it in the Netherlands. Subsequently, we expanded to Europe and eventually covered the rest of the world. With this milestone behind us, we could slowly but surely start expanding the site more.

The results

Using the desktop version as a foundation and by means of a phased approach we were able to launch the mobile site on schedule. However, it was far from perfect. Its performance was suboptimal and updates were time-consuming.

That is why we immediately started on optimisation and further development of the website. By using a hybrid Kanban/Scrum approach, we were able to keep up with the many updates that were required for the marketing team and with the continuous development of the back-end for the desktop. Not only that, but it was also possible to implement optimisations and new features at the same time.

By continuously upgrading processes and architecture the quality and efficiency improved gradually. For example, by automating testing for so many different countries by means of unit tests and use of selenium as well as adjustments to the architecture there was more time for the development of features. It also allowed us to focus more on the site's conversion.

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Stefan Smit
Stefan Smit