Since opening its first store in 1997, Pulse & Cocktails has grown to become the creator of the largest adult stores in the UK and Europe. For over 25 years they’ve built their reputation by delivering the ultimate in-store shopping experience for those looking for sensual products. Their brand has been built around the motto “couples who play together, stay together”. However, in a rapidly changing sexual landscape, they are now looking to move with the times and encourage inclusivity and diversity especially as sexual wellness and health are becoming less of a taboo topic.
With ambitious growth plans and the sex toy market growing at an exponential rate, a best-in-class eCommerce solution was essential to allow Pulse to attract a new demographic of younger customers. To support the eCommerce aspect of the website, we wanted to create a platform that delivers value around sexual health and well-being. So, whether it’s a new customer buying their first toy or an experienced buyer looking for something new, there will be the support and guidance they’re looking for.
- UX/UI Design
- WooCommerce Development
- Full SEO Migration
Our goal was to build on the excitement and expertise offered to customers when purchasing in-store and deliver a best-in-class eCommerce experience to match. As Pulse was looking to expand their target demographic to a younger audience, it was important we created an inclusive and empowering platform for new customers to explore and purchase their diverse range of intimate products. There were also a number of pain points from the old site that needed addressing that would help enhance the user experience as well as improve efficiencies behind the scenes. The site wasn’t built for speed or scalability, which meant the website was slow, not optimised for mobile and difficult to update. So key considerations for our build were to ensure the website was fast, scalable and integrated with all of their 3rd party software.
To create a solution that would appeal to the younger demographic, a full overhaul of the website was needed. We began the process by looking at the site architecture to ensure that it had the best chance to perform from an SEO perspective as well as allow for smooth navigation, making purchasing and browsing the site easy and informative. Once the core structure was agreed upon, we moved to wireframing to make sure that all of the relevant content was easily accessible, allowing for a seamless journey through the pages. To bring those journeys to life, we created a sleek and modern front-end design accompanied by simple yet effective micro transitions to create the elevated solution required to set Pulse apart in a competitive online marketplace.
One of the key technical aspects was the integration with Cybertill, an EPOS/WMS system, for order and stock management. This necessitated the use of SOAP API to send orders/data and an ODBC connection to check real-time stock levels in all shops/warehouses. This integration was crucial to ensure inventory management and order processing, providing customers with accurate and real-time information about product availability.
We also implemented various third-party APIs, including Stripe for Apple Pay and Google Pay, Royal Mail API for order information and label printing, Google API for maps and reviews on shop pages, and getaddress.io for quick address lookup using postcodes. Another significant challenge was the data migration from the existing shop system to a format compatible with WooCommerce. This involved migrating user data, product information, product SKUs, product images, product metadata, and blog/news content.
To help create a consistent shopping experience across the website and in-store, we introduced key features that utilise the cross-channel opportunities available thanks to Pulse’s 17 stores. One of the features specifically designed to integrate the online and in-store experience is the ability for users to narrow down the product listing page by availability in-store with a dedicated filter. Continuing on from the filters we’ve developed, a store checker on the product page allows customers to find the nearest store where the product is available in stock, creating a seamless omnichannel experience. The experience is completed with a bespoke checkout that allows customers to pay online with discreet delivery available for home or to the nearest post office, as well as click-and-collect options for in-store.
Rewarding Customer Loyalty
A large number of Pulse’s existing orders are made by returning customers thanks to the excellent level of service they offer. To continue to incentivise customers to return, we have included a loyalty program on the website. ‘Pulse Points’ allow customers to collect points as they purchase, which rewards them with up to 10p per point to cash in on future purchases online. As customers earn more points, they have the ability to level up and earn greater discounts.
Full Migration Strategy
With the restrictions around marketing for sex toys, it was crucial that we preserved the historical authority and rankings. To achieve this, we conducted a comprehensive audit of the current website to identify its existing authority, rankings, and any potential issues that may affect the migration process. Then our marketing team worked closely with development to ensure the new website took into consideration SEO best practices, such as proper URL structure, optimised metadata, and relevant keyword targeting.
To retain the authority and rankings during the migration, we implemented 301 redirects from the old URLs to their corresponding pages on the new site. Following this, comprehensive testing was conducted to identify and rectify any technical issues that may arise during the migration. Once pushed live, we undertook continuous monitoring and tracking of the new website’s performance and rankings to address any potential drops and promptly make necessary adjustments.
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