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An ecommerce agency lives and dies by its ability to innovate and scale, but as online retail continues to boom and the space becomes ever more competitive, what lifts a project from “good enough” to great?
As one of blubolt’s longest-standing clients, after an unprecedented seven years of collaboration, when Seasalt were recently recognised as one of 2018’s top online retailers by Which? Magazine, we thought it would be interesting to share the three key factors that have enabled lasting success within our relationship.
When both parties clearly communicate their timelines, goals and capacities, agencies are able to keep pace with their client’s success, scale and growth. Solutions are proactive, rather than reactive, and there’s no element of surprise on either side, as work is truly collaborative.
The concept of ambition itself is hardly groundbreaking – we all aspire to keep on the bleeding edge when it comes to our industry’s developments in terms of technology and service, but an imbalance between client and agency here can lead to many avoidable frustrations, from the inability to meet expanding requirements to wildly over-engineered but under-performing sites. By keeping closely aligned in terms of growth, this is avoided.
Ambition is a two way street of course:
At blubolt, we’ve found one of the biggest benefits of this mirrored approach is trust. Scaling our technical expertise and systems alongside Seasalt, as their requirements for multi-channel retail become more complex, ensured that their needs were predicted and preemptively met. After multiple high volume sales periods with 100% uptime, their complete confidence in our ability to handle traffic spikes and peak transactions means time-sensitive marketing opportunities can be fully capitalised upon. In short, they’re able to pour their full passion into their online presence with no holds barred, and as their recent Which? success suggests, the results are tangible.
Paul Hayes, CEO of Seasalt, recognises the benefits of this;
“We’ve definitely learned from each other as we’ve grown. Everything we do puts the customer at the heart of the experience, making it as easy as possible for them to interact with our business. Everything that we’re able to achieve in our stores, we look to replicate on the site itself, and that relates back to the bespoke nature of our collaboration with blubolt.”
Personalised experience is key to customer satisfaction when it comes to online retail, and exactly the same can be said for the way that clients are treated by their chosen agency. Ecommerce should be a bespoke undertaking; a made-to-measure experience that sees all aspects of a brand considered, respected and represented. The individuality of both brand and product should be tangible in the online experience, and truly representative of the company’s vision. In addition to winning new customers, a high quality online experience breeds brand loyalty from time-poor consumers, who’ll settle for nothing less than seamless service on and offline, ensuring reliable repeat business.
Getting a real sense of a company’s ecommerce needs covers much more than the technical capacities put in place. Regardless of whether the experience occurs on or offline, commerce is ultimately about people and relationships. Building award-winning commerce sites requires not just an understanding of your market and buyers, but a real appreciation of the passion that drives the people behind the brand itself.
At blubolt we pride ourselves on no two sites looking the same, but are mindful this mantra runs more than skin deep. Our work with Seasalt over the last seven years has given us the ability to provide work which is both consistent and unique, as we’ve adopted really collaborative approaches to the UX / UI elements of their sites.
Paul Hayes echoed the benefits of this tailored approach;
“Over the years, the teams from both sides of the equation have worked well together. What we’ve developed is something tailored to our exact needs, which works perfectly in terms of we want to create with our customer experience. This has really been a key benefit.”
The longevity of these collaborations brings rewards all of its own. The sense of trust already mentioned, which has its basis in the technical ability to consistently meet client needs, is further strengthened by genuine human connection and a real sense of shared history. While it would be unrealistic to suggest that everything always goes perfectly to plan, the level of trust enjoyed ensures that these are recognised as passing storms, weathered together and dealt with respectfully.
This is the magic that you can’t fake, outsource or cook up overnight. Once a client has found an agency willing and able to scale alongside them, and who is truly committed to translating all of the unique passion of their brand to pixel format, the relationship is set to be a lasting one.
blubolt’s relationship with Seasalt began in 2011, at a time when they were a much smaller operation. In the seven years that have followed, all aspects of their business have enjoyed very healthy growth; retail, wholesale and online sales have drastically increased and blubolt has been able to adapt and keep pace throughout. Not only has this meant a consistent, reliable experience for the client, blubolt has itself benefited from the experience and privilege of witnessing the changing ecommerce needs this kind of success necessitates; an experience which we are now able to apply to the growth of other clients at earlier stages of their story.
“We are immensely proud of our relationship with Seasalt. As a company, we are here to help retailers grow and by us working together, have excelled at that. The team at blubolt relish the challenges that a partnership with a high growth retailer brings and its a privilege to be part of it.”
— Leigh Mardon, COO blubolt.
For award-winning ecommerce, look for an agency who will go above and beyond to customise all aspects of your experience with them, especially in the following areas:
The outcome of making these key factors the foundation of your relationship will be an agency who commits to building a lasting, shared history, and technology you never outgrow for all the right reasons. We’d like to pass on our huge congratulations once again to our friends at Seasalt; here’s to many more years continued collaboration and growth together.
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