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It’s official; ours is an award winning website.

We are very pleased to announce that on 4th April 2017 at the Magento Imagine conference in Las Vegas the Virginia Hayward website was named as Magento’s most innovative website for 2016.

Magento Imagine Award Winners - Justin WalmsleyJustin (Digital Marketing Manager) and Dave and John from our website development agency (FishEye) were there to accept the award as well as attend the Magento Conference. We were up against some pretty fierce competition from the other finalists (Quinny & Architect Uprising), but we were fortunate that the judging panel understood the complexity of the Virginia Hayward website and why we have taken a truly innovative approach to building our new website.

What’s so innovative about our website?

There are a number of elements to our website that make it unique (and innovative), but the 3 major elements are:

  • Build A Hamper
  • Real-time available and actual (free & physical as we call it) stock calculations
  • Composite (floating VAT) calculations

There is a fourth element (Multiple Shipping Checkout), but despite ours being highly customised, the Magento platform offers this basic functionality OOB (Out Of the Box). So, if I haven’t lost you by now, let me explain these three areas in a little more detail.

Build A Hamper – Think real-life personalised Tetris!

The build a hamper section of our website is the most heavily customised area of the website. We have a few competitors who offer a build a hamper service, but they are nowhere near as advanced as ours. Here are a few elements of Build A Hamper that our unique to our implementation.

Volumetric Packing with accurate percentage full notification.

This is where the Tetris bit comes into play. We measure the internal cubic capacity of our hampers/boxes/bags etc.; we measure the external dimensions of all of our products in order to calculate their cubic capacity. All of these measurements are then held on the website so that when a product is added into a hamper, the remaining available space is calculated so that we can exclude customers from adding any products that there is no longer enough space for and make product recommendations for products that would fit the remaining space. Essentially this means that you could add 1000 refresher chews to a 20inch wicker basket, but you may not be able to add 1001! There are other complications, such as bulky items and we have to make allowances for packaging materials, but essentially this means that you, our loyal customer, can’t physically overfill your hamper. At the point in where the hamper is full, and you try to add another item, you will be prompted to upgrade your hamper to the next size.

Products aside, we also offer our customers the ability to choose from over 15 different types of hamper, you can upload a photo or choose from one of our pre-made designs and overlay text onto your design which can then be printed directly onto the hamper (if an appropriate hamper is selected) or you can have your design and message printed onto a leather label.

Building a hamper (like online grocery shopping) can take a little bit of time, especially when selecting products that your lucky recipient might like. Therefore we give our customers that ability to use a “save code” allowing them to come back online later and re-start their hamper from where they left off.

Why not have a go at building a hamper?

Real-time free and physical stock calculations.

As I’m sure you can imagine, during Christmas we get extremely busy, and products can sell very quickly. As previously mentioned, building a hamper can take a while (depending on the size and complexity of the hamper), and during the time in which you are building your hamper, other customers may well be building theirs. We reserve our customers’ products at the point in which they add it into their hamper. The item is then reserved for around 2hours before being released back to being available. As soon as the item has been placed into your basket, no-one else will be able to purchase it (lucky you!). “So what”, I hear you say, “isn’t that normal for all websites?” sadly not. I’d bet that 99% of retail websites will only allocate the stock to you once your payment has been accepted. The reason that this is so important to us, is that it means we can be very accurate with our stock volumes and as lots of our products are unique and hard to come by, we need to ensure that if we only have 30 bottles of very expensive champagne, we don’t over-sell, as we may not be able to get additional stock.

Composite (floating VAT).

If I haven’t lost you yet, please bear with me. Selling food is simply not easy! Some products have a VAT level of 20%, some of 0% (read more about how it works here). What that means is that hampers are normally around 13-14% VAT. This doesn’t cause us a problem for our “pre-made” hampers such as our Christmas Hampers, but when a customer is building their hamper. The calculations of what they are purchasing need to be done “on the fly”. As you can appreciate, the calculations for this are complex, made even more so when a customer buys a pre-made hamper and a build a hamper, or multiple ‘build a hampers’. Fairly quickly you’d have to have a sound understanding of VAT and economics to work it all out. Fortunately, our website does!

There are many, many more bespoke areas of our website, far too great to cover in one blog post, but hopefully the above features as well as what we (and the judges) think is a phenomenal, modern and mobile/tablet friendly design, coupled with our core strategy of putting our customers first have helped to make this award winning website a success, and we very much hope that you enjoy using it.

If you have any questions, would like to understand more or have any website suggestions, we’d love for you to leave a comment (below).

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About the author

Justin Walmsley

I joined Virginia Hayward Ltd as the Digital Marketing Manager in 2012. Previously I was a self-employed Digital Marketing consultant specialising in optimising websites for Google. Prior to that, I spent just under 8 years in the British Army. These days life is a little more relaxed and I enjoy spending my spare time with my Wife, Daughter and Dog (Rambo!).

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