Even renowned companies can suffer from a dated, suboptimal online presence. This case study details how the WEZOM team revitalized the online store of Ukrainian gun company STVOL, improving its reputation and user experience.
Who Is Our Client?
For nearly 30 years, STVOL has been a fixture in Ukraine's local gun market. The company boasts a network of eight offline branded stores and partner representatives in every major city across the country. With a staff of 150 people, STVOL's logistics meet global standards. Yet, their e-commerce platform software fell short, requiring much-needed upgrades and optimization. Actually, for this, the owners of STVOL turned to WEZOM experts.
The Client's Request: Improve User Flow, Update Website Design, and Boost Performance
Despite having an efficient offline operation, STVOL's online store presented a challenge. With about 28,000 items from various brands, the site struggled with long load times, a cumbersome catalog, and an outdated design. Customers had to navigate through numerous steps to complete a purchase. The root cause of these issues was the Bitrix CMS, not originally designed for e-commerce solutions. As a result, our first task was to choose a new website engine, or as it turned out, to create one from scratch.
In general, the task was global: to create the best online gun store in Ukraine: high-performance, user-friendly, and eye-catching. Even though the WEZOM web development team had never dealt with the gun business before, both the client and the project executors were satisfied with the result. Read below about what has been done to achieve this.
What Goals We Followed and What Services We Provided?
As part of web development services, the WEZOM team was given the following tasks:
- create a modern web design, focusing on the company's brand book;
- build a flexible product catalog with convenient functionality and a quick purchase process;
- present through the website a unique STVOL shooting range, as well as a network of stores and a dealer program;
- display on the website the current number of items in stock and each offline store;
- integrate the website with the 1C base, payment systems, and delivery services;
- adapt the resulting solution to any user device.
What Technologies Were Used?
To build a brand-new version of this online store, the WEZOM team used the next tools and technologies:
- Webpack, a module bundler for running scripts sequentially
- CSS, a style sheet language
- ElasticSearch, a tool for introducing a distributed, multitenant-capable full-text search engine
Our Workflow and Top-3 Challenges
The workflow kicked off with digitizing the client’s requirements. The client brief was transformed into a structured future project plan and presented as a mind map. The map underwent several revisions, leading to a detailed list of tasks and use cases. After finalizing the development tools and scope of work, WEZOM provided the client with a financial assessment of the project.
The WEZOM team chose Scrum as the development approach. This approach offered clarity on expenses for the client and ensured the team progressed in the right direction. At the end of each 10-12 day sprint, the client received comprehensive financial reports and a demonstration of the work accomplished. Based on the feedback received, the further scope of work was optimized.
However, the project was not without its challenges. The sheer scale of the project, the implementation of innovative solutions, and the continual addition of new tasks presented considerable hurdles. Consequently, the project's original timing estimate expanded by 400 hours.
If we talk about top-3 challenges the WEZOM team faced, here they are:
- the large scale of the project;
- implementation of innovative solutions;
- regular addition of new tasks.
As a result, the project's original timing estimate increased by 400 hours.
What Problems Did Our Team Face?
In addition to the constant expansion of the list of project requirements on the part of the client, at the testing stage, the WEZOM team encountered problems with the website's performance. WEZOM DevOps experts fixed this problem quickly by spreading the databases across several servers.
We also had to take into account the fact that some items in the catalog required a license to purchase, some were only available to 18+ buyers, and some had specific shipping restrictions. All these aspects carried additional requirements for the logic of purchases and the structure of the catalog.
What Solution Did the Client Need and What Was the Result?
For the new version of the e-commerce website, the WEZOM team created an engine from scratch, implementing a personalized admin panel and adding a number of unique features. We also simplified and improved the UI/UX design of the online store (now it consists of media blocks), making it more minimalistic and visually appealing.
The next key task of the project was the organization of a large STVOL product catalog, with flexible filtering settings, convenient search (including the voice search), and displaying the current balance of particular items in stock.
Our experts also implemented simplified navigation, providing website visitors with three ways to get to the product page: through the catalog, search, and brands module, as well as integrating popular shipping and payment services. In addition, the personal account was radically modernized and a flexible loyalty program was introduced. Also, the updated version of the website is compatible with any modern gadgets, including mobile ones.
A special place was given in the project to develop a presentation module for the shooting range STVOL, which should lead to a new landing page. For this, we have created a separate catalog with available types of weapons, instructor cards, schedules, and the possibility of buying a package shooting course.
With the launch of the new website, the store's life cycle has just begun. In the future, the WEZOM team is going to implement new original features: a 3D weapon designer and a bonus system. The purchase history, checkout process, and performance will also be improved.
However, even at this early stage, the online gun store has demonstrated impressive conversion rates and has successfully attracted new segments of the target audience. The modern design, user-friendly interface, and improved performance have undoubtedly contributed to its success.
In conclusion, the collaboration between STVOL and WEZOM has yielded a robust and optimized e-commerce platform that offers an improved shopping experience for STVOL's customers. Despite the scale and complexity of the project, the WEZOM team was able to deliver a high-quality solution that not only meets the client's needs but also sets a new standard for online gun stores in Ukraine.