Unic recently developed a completely new concept for UI design, user experience and frontend for Europa Möbel Verbund (EMV). In our interview, Elisabeth Starke (EMV), Florian Armbrust and Jutta Weber (both Unic) tell us about the approach that made the project successfully and explain why user experience is so important in product sales.
A User-friendly Shop System
Elisabeth Starke, you are the Team Leader Digital Business at Europa Möbel Verbund (EMV). Who exactly is EMV?
Elisabeth Starke: Europa Möbel Verbund (EMV) is an association of medium-sized furniture dealers. We provide a range of services to our member dealers. These also include a white-label shop system based on SAP Commerce.
What features are included in this white-label solution?
Elisabeth Starke: The shop system includes back offices for product data and content management. Dealers receive product data provided by the association and can add their own products. This setup allows dealers to operate their own websites. It is up to them whether they want to use the online shop functionalities or whether they just want to display product data and offer a wish list.
The frontend was redesigned completely. What led to this decision and what were your other goals?
Elisabeth Starke: The dealers are at liberty to design their own websites. However, we still aim to provide an appealing and modern design for the default setting. That is why we also revised the default design of the frontend when we migrated to a new version of SAP Commerce.
We wanted to combine a simple design with a high level of user-friendliness.Elisabeth Starke
Team Leader Digital Business EMV
A Simple Design and Mobile First
Those are ambitious goals. Why did EMV decide to work with Unic?
Elisabeth Starke: Unic had relevant experience with SAP Commerce projects and excellent references. That is why we chose Unic as our partner for the redesign of the entire frontend.
What does that mean, exactly?
Elisabeth Starke: The task was to redesign all frontend components and optimise them for desktop, tablet and mobile devices. This includes content elements such as the stage area, two-column or three-column grid elements, accordions and the header, footer, main menu and forms. The product overview pages, product detail pages and checkout were also revised. We wanted to combine a simple design with a high level of user-friendliness.
Florian Armbrust: Unic was in charge of the UX concept and UI design. Another service provider implemented the Unic designs in SAP Commerce. Additional requirements were a short project duration and combining design and implementation in an integrated, parallel process.
Looking at the User Experience: What did you decide to focus on?
Florian Armbrust: EMV had requested a mobile-first approach. We also wanted to significantly improve the look and feel. To achieve that, we grouped the requirements into work packages based on content and functionality and analysed and assessed the different parts of the website. This was the foundation for the development of the different page types.
Jutta Weber: Regarding the user experience, we looked at the best practices in the furniture industry and adapted them to EMV’s needs. In our opinion, there is no need to reinvent the wheel every single time. We enhanced this with our experience and now we have a solution that works.
No matter whether it is a ticket machine, a website or a banking app: Users want to reach their goal or have their needs met without having to think too much.Jutta Weber, Unic AG
Senior UX Architect
Why is user experience so important these days?
Jutta Weber: Good user experience has been a key element of successful product sales for a long time. No matter whether it is a ticket machine, a website or a banking app: Users want to reach their goal or have their needs met without having to think too much. The emotions triggered along the way play a crucial role. It is these emotions that make UX products successful and create customer loyalty.
There were many aspects to this project. In retrospect, what was the key to mastering the various challenges along the way?
Elisabeth Starke: The collaboration between EMV and Unic was very professional and well-structured. For every element, the Unic team first sketched and evaluated several possible options. The design draft very quickly evolved into what we had in mind. Unic recorded the project results in Zeplin and passed them on to us and our development partners. Thanks to the expertise provided by Unic, we also chose an innovative headless frontend technology by SAP Commerce.
And what was the key to this successful collaboration from Unic’s point of view?
Florian Armbrust: I would like to mention two things: After the kick-off and the initial weekly meetings, all parties began to work together as equal partners very quickly, be it on a technical, organisational or content level. Combined with quick response times, this led to rapid approval of the work packages developed and saved us from having to clarify or go over things again at handover.
Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Florian Armbrust: The second thing I appreciate in our partner EMV is their openness to our ideas, concepts and designs combined with their enthusiasm for trying new things. We got into a really good flow on the project, which is absolutely priceless.
Positive Feedback From Dealers
Are there any measurable improvements yet?
Elisabeth Starke: The migration to the new SAP Commerce version has not been completed yet. We plan to migrate the first dealer websites to the new environment in early 2021. But after our initial presentations, we have already received a lot of positive feedback from dealers about the new frontend.
Why did Unic prove to be the right digital agency for this project?
Jutta Weber: At Unic, we have plenty of experience in the fields of UX and UI design in various industries and project sizes. Our accomplished specialists in these fields know exactly what it takes. We work very closely with our customers and pick up quickly on what their users want. We are also always very transparent in everything we do. Personally, I can look back on many projects where the collaboration amongst all project members was very good and developed into friendship.
Let’s take a look into the crystal ball. What’s next?
Elisabeth Starke: One thing is for sure: Should there be any new frontend projects in the future, we will very much look forward to working with Unic again.
About the Interviewees
Elisabeth Starke is the head of the digital business team at EMV and responsible for the white label solutions for the dealers.
Florian is a Senior Project Manager at Unic’s Karlsruhe office.
Jutta is Senior User Experience Architect and works for Unic in their Munich office.
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