Jonastone is a German direct distributor of high-grade natural stone flooring that was founded as a pure play retailer, selling its products exclusively online. Today, brick-and-mortar showrooms and the digital platform complement each other. For the optimisation of their digital solution, jonastone was looking for a partner with specific Sitecore knowledge and extensive experience in e-commerce. Together, we developed a vision that would best support the direct sales model. The result is a high-performing solution for which we used both standard functions and custom components.
Improved development processes have significantly reduced jonastone’s time to market. The optimised frontend performance has not only improved the user experience but also the search engine ranking. As of March 2021, the optimised platform had been rolled out to five markets (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Belgium). The optimisations also enabled jonastone to reduce their own showrooms to a minimum in various countries.
- 12 people involved
- 30% higher Google performance
- 85% less time spent on development and deployment processes
Relevant Information – Digital and On-site
The jonastone.de online shop does not just guide prospective and existing customers through the various menu sections. Thanks to the high user-based information density, customers can make their final purchase decision on the screen. The actual purchasing process is very easy to complete. If users are still undecided, they can simply order a sample tile, just to be really sure. This is anything but standard practice for a building materials supplier.
Customers can also visit the showrooms in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to get a tactile impression of the materials. But the detailed and appealing visualisation of all product information in the online shop makes in-person visits almost obsolete. The online business model connects the different phases (research, product tests and visualisation) of the purchasing process. It combines the best of both worlds, online and offline.
Find Your Flooring With Visual Clues
We launched an online customer journey that fits in seamlessly with jonastone’s content strategy, toeing the fine line between too little and an overwhelming amount of information. The result: In almost all cases, relevant content is available to the visitors of jonastone.de on a single, comprehensible and well-structured subpage.
Whether it is contractors, architects or end users: Based on their search, we take them on a journey into the world of tiles and slabs from natural stone and fine stoneware. We use both editorial tools such as text and images (magazine, tips and tricks) and the Roomvo visualiser to help them make their choice. The tool allows for a configuration of the desired flooring based on visual cues.
360-Degree Tours Supplement Conventional Services
Users decide for themselves how and where they want to approach the subject. They can, for instance, choose from a variety of 360-degree tours that enable them to take a virtual tour of a house, similar to Google Street View.
This of course complements conventional services such as the shipping of sample tiles, online complaints and returns, a wish list, a product search including filters and various payment methods (direct debit, credit card, PayPal). Or would you prefer to be helped over the phone? One click and you’ve booked an appointment.
Product Information – Down to the Very Last Detail
The product subpages are a special highlight. With a click, they provide the required depth of information: Price, format, packaging, weight, delivery time/shipping costs as well as details on the material characteristics. Should users require additional information, in-depth product descriptions including images are also available.
What’s also new is a manual: The individual, illustrated instructions for the different slabs and tiles support all construction projects. Of course, care instructions and recommendations for matching accessories are also available.
Responsive Web Design
Google is increasing its focus on the use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets: In spring 2021, the US company will be deleting all desktop contents from the Google index. That is to say, from then on, the search engine will only be indexing the mobile version of a landing page for an optimum ranking.
This is why we overhauled the frontend of the jonastone website. Now, the entire content of the desktop version (content and services) is also available on a smartphone or tablet. A positive side effect for jonastone: There is no need to develop a costly, OS-specific app. And since load times are still a key factor for the organic ranking, we also optimised the frontend performance.
Frontend and Backend – Separate, but Developed Jointly
Frontend and backend development have become independent disciplines. Taking that into account, we separated frontend and backend development when we overhauled the jonastone digital solution.
Only technically, mind you, because the developer teams still work together: After all, frontend and backend components need to be in sync to be able to interact perfectly. Another joint goal was to consolidate and enhance the technical know-how in the jonastone team. In the meantime, jonastone has brought in additional backend developers and continues to develop the Sitecore system in cooperation with us.
Improvements to Continuous Integration
In the first step, we created the foundation for more efficient software development, while also reducing the risk of human error and shortening the time to market. We placed a strong focus on improving the continuous integration functionality. Today, when necessary, the team can add newly developed and tested code into the source code of the solution several times a day.
Smaller code sections in shorter intervals contribute to successful code integration into the system: The developer team can quickly spot the cause of possible bugs. Also, the work result is available to all developers. This, in turn, enables them to react to changes more quickly and make their own changes.
Introduction of Continuous Delivery
The next logical step was the optimisation of the accompanying processes and the provision of the required infrastructure: We aligned testing and deployment as well as the required tool chain. From code generation to commissioning, all project members including the customers are always up to date. When necessary, colleagues can see, test and apply new features directly in the development, testing or integration environment.
In a nutshell: Continuous integration and continuous delivery have significantly accelerated the introduction of new features.
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