Cross Border Customer Panel - Meet Magento UK

Posted by Mark Slocock on 27 October 2011

The panel for this part of the event consisted of: Alex Barbier from Watco, Barry Thorn from Crimsonwing, Vic Watson from MotherCare and Ian Wilding from Radical Company

This talk was really good and was packed full of useful insights into deploying Magento across multiple countries, the talk was broken down in two parts:


Alex Barbier and Barry Thorn presented a talk on the multi-country roll out of Watco, explaining that they chose Magento because it had multi-store capability, was scalable, is a decent CMS and it's cost effective.

Watco was traditionally a catalogue business and this strategy worked well to begin with, however in 2008 they started to see a drop off in orders and a new strategy was required, putting digital as the main driver for the business.

The main operational benefits were that could centralise product info and images, with full integration to ERP (Microsoft Dynamics and Navivision).

Results for Watco were impressive: revenue +40%, orders +52%, visits +38%, new customers +36%, organic search +53%.

As a result of the success of the Watco rollout, the company launched a new website in August 2011 - Floorpaint Express. Although only 2 months old, the results so far have also been impressive: revenue +108%, orders 34%, AOV 55% (when compared to forecast).

Barry outlined the process and timescales from rolling out new country websites, which was great insight for me as it provides a useful benchmark when talking to clients about the time required for this. Each rollout has slightly different requirements for integration, but uses the same templates:

  • Business Case & Scoping: 1-3 weeks
  • Build: 1 week - 1 month
  • Deploy: 1 week
Currently, Watco is live in 8 countries and Floorpaint Express in 1 country, the planned rollout for 2012 is in 2 new countries for Watco and 3 for Floorpaint Express.

Clearly Magento has proved very successful for them.

Mothercare and the Early Learning Center

The UK site for ELC is running on Demandware, and Mothercare is moving from Amazon to Demandware. However, for their franchise operations around the world they choose Magento as their platform of choice - to enable a quick rollout for low cost.

The first task was to launch Ireland and Russia on the new platform, but in order to do this, the templates and features for the UK website had to be created for Magento. Initially, they opted to run both Ireland and Russia on the same enterprise installation of Magento, but had problems with running two countries on one platform – there were data leakage problems, although this was swiftly resolved by running each country on its own installation.

The Ireland rollout took 10 weeks and Russia took 22 weeks, due to more complex integration requirements. They are aiming to get country rollouts down to 6-8 weeks from a standing start, with Indonesia launching in Feb 2012.

Ian outlined the problems they had initially with a lack of Magento skills, which they soon solved. He indicated that a team experienced in Magento was an essential for large scale projects such as these.

Next Talk: Putting Magento at the heart of your e-commerce personalisation strategy


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