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86% increase in transactions for B2B hair & beauty leader

86%

increase in transactions

53%

increase in conversions

39%

increase in site sessions

View the website

A cut above the rest for Salons Direct

Brand trust and customer loyalty is key for all eCommerce businesses in the hair and beauty sector, but especially so if the customers you’re serving are hair and beauty professionals. 

Salons Direct have paved a niche within the beauty industry for their supply of high-quality salon furnishings and professional beauty products. 

Beginning life in the 1990s as a mail-order family business for beauty professionals, Salons Direct has grown to become a well-respected B2B eCommerce company for the hair and beauty sector – servicing hair and beauty professionals and salon owners within the UK. 

Salons Direct were looking to grow their business further online, with a new eCommerce experience that would better serve their UK customers and empower their internal team of 80 people.

Salons Direct are focused on not only providing high quality products to hair & beauty professionals, but also practical and insightful advice to better their businesses. 

Key services

  • Magento 2 migration
  • CRM and ERP integration
  • Usability research
  • UX and UI design
  • Performance optimisation
  • Strategic planning

The experts for the experts

In order to continue to offer this level of service online, Salon’s needed to address some of their biggest blockers surrounding Customer Experience. 

These included; site speed, a CRM integration, the user-experience and their search functionality for products. 

M1-M2 Site Migration

We worked closely with Salons Direct to solve issues surrounding configurable products and upgraded the site to Magento 2. The previous site had a poor standard of code which we re-wrote to improve the site’s overall performance. 

As part of the M1-M2 Migration, we took this as an opportunity to refresh the look and feel of the website, investing time into the design and improving the overall user experience as a result. 

Server speed was much slower than it should be, not ideal for a website with a vast product offering and the potential for high AOV’s! We moved the hosting provider to Sonassi who could better cater to Salons Direct’s requirements for an improved site speed. To address the problems Salons were facing with their checkout, we integrated with Braintree and Paypal to provide their customers with more flexible and secure payment options. An integration with Shipper HQ also ensured that shipping and delivery was simplified. 

Speed & performance improvements

Magento by default has a large amount of Javascript files that are both large in size as well as number. This can cause site speed and performance to be impacted if the right bundling solutions are not implemented. 

Although Magento does include JS/CSS bundling built-in, it is not efficient as it calls in Javascript that are not required on certain pages, which means performance is not improved.

However, we have implemented a custom JS/CSS bundling solution, which  means that only the JS that is needed on that particular page is loaded. The JS is also minified as well which further reduces the size of the page that is loaded.

The core requirement of bundling for speed is to maintain functionality of the existing site, whilst improving load times. The testing of the existing functionality with the bundling enabled allowed us to safely launch this feature. Here were the results: 

Product listing page

  • Lighthouse performance score: +6% increase 
  • Requests: -42% reduction
  • Load time: -28% reduction

Product detail page

  • Lighthouse performance score: +42% increase
  • Requests: -54% reduction
  • Speed index: +40% faster
  • Load time: -39% reduction

Improving the User Experience through Search

We carried out some analytics research, which showed search affected just 15% of sessions but 52% of sales — users who search have high intent and search gets them what they want easier.

It was therefore integral to the success of the site that we improved the performance of Salons Direct search functionality for their users. Prior to the re-build, the search function on Salons Direct only provided rudimentary suggestions and the results page had a 40% refinement rate, whereby it was failing to show something relevant. The old search functionality also showed no search results preview to the customer, so if the customer wanted to see the search results they were forced to redirect to a results page, causing extra steps / friction in the user-journey. 

To improve the experience for users, we introduced predictive search-as-you-type suggestions which blended relevant terms, products, and categories from across the catalogue. This allows a customer to enter a search term to see the related search queries, the top 3 search results as well as related categories. 

We were able to work with technology called ElasticSearch in order to improve the search functionality for Salons Direct, rather than investing in a paid third-party integration, therefore saving some budget for Salons to redirect elsewhere! 

Improving the User Experience through swatches

It will come as no surprise that Salons Direct product catalog comprises a vast array of options for customers from colours to sizes. This required a specialised approach to the UX so that customers can quickly and easily find, select and add their desired options to the basket. 

Our initial research had observed that customers were also frequently engaging with bulk buy tools, so the natural next step was to evolve and build upon this existing functionality. 

We implemented a multitude of colour chips, codes and names that allowed for faster recognition of product options, regardless of the customer’s purchasing choices. 

In addition, we ensured that colour options were revealed through progressive disclosure in gradual steps, beginning with smart defaults that serve the majority of customers. 

To address the issue of undescriptive colour names under certain products (i.e. Bubble Bath!), we implemented a facility for the internal team at Salons Direct to directly upload colour swatches that correlated with each name. This allowed for the customer to see a visual representation of the shade against the colour name, in turn enabling more confident purchasing online.

Results

Salons Direct now has a future-proof site with JH by their side to enable continued growth and stand-out amongst competitors in their industry! The results were truly astonishing and speak for themselves…

86% increase in transactions

33% increase in conversion

14% increase in AOV