e-Commerce case study
Having been implemented in the very late stages of the 1990’s, by 2007 the esure trading websites had multiplied in number, but were starting to reach the end of their lives. As the e-Commerce manager for esure (and it’s associated brands) I was the lead business user for their replacement.
By the point that the business decided that the websites should be replaced there were 6 websites, being:
- esure Motor
- esure Home
- Sheilas’ Wheels
- Halifax Car Insurance
- Sainsbury’s Car insurance
- First Alternative
The websites were entirely managed by developers, with all content additions and changes requiring software development.
The objectives were relatively straightforward:
Cost reduction: The ability to manage static and dynamic page content through a Content Management System
Business control and agility: The ability to manage the above content through a CMS quickly and with appropriate controls
Profitability: An increased e-commerce rate through an improved landing-page experience, coupled with a over-hauled and much improved transactional journey
Consistency: Bring a degree of consistency to the sites through a templated approach to page design
Reduced TCO: Achieve a lower total cost of ownership through reduced development and testing effort through the consolidation of multiple trading platforms into 2 white-labeled instances (car insurance and home insurance)
As the business lead on the project, my role was to represent the customer and marketing team within a co-located agile project team. Along with 3 of my team, we sat with and amongst the IT project team of business analysts, developers and testers.
Within this team we were responsible for defining the business and functional requirements for the Content Management System, Car Insurance Journey and Home Insurance journey, for both direct website visitors and aggregator customers.
Content Management System
I oversaw the definition of the requirements that would allow us to content manage both the static page content, as well as the transactional content. As the first CMS within the business, this took the company into un-charted territory, defining workflows and approvals, page structure, Information Architecture and the process for managing these changes.
The Stellent (now Oracle) CMS had been chosen before the project commenced, so worked within various constraints, not least of which was experience within the consultancy world of this particular platform.
Although the question set could not be changed, we had significant flexibility over the customer journey in the way in which the data was collected, processed and displayed.
We mapped out the customer journeys from process flow, through to wireframe and early-stage functional prototype.
At this point, I facilitated internal workshop sessions with directors, senior managers, IT and marketing to resolve key differences in opinions. These workshops were pivotal in moving the project from discussion to decision.
We engaged with an external consultancy to conduct usability testing on these early functional prototypes. We wanted to be far enough through the process that it was sufficiently defined to be reflective of what we proposed doing, but not too far that it would be costly to change.
The usability testing was effective in diagnosing a small number of issues, as well as closing down remaining differences in opinion on a number of points.
The project was successfully delivered, delivering the stated objectives. The implementations were completed smoothly with minimal post-live issues, and the project concluded.
The sites remained fundamentally un-changed for several years afterwards – a testament to the thinking that went into the project.
If you’d like to know more about me or my experience, and how I can help your business, please get in touch. I’d love to chat.