Coast has unveiled a new responsive web platform which has allowed it to create a more seamless customer shopping journey both online and in store.

As one of the UK’s leading occasion wear retailers, Coast’s average order value is £145. Emma Bonar, head of digital at Coast, described this as a “considered purchase”, which often results in customers visiting the brand online and in store several times before purchasing.

Meanwhile, Coast’s commercial director, Jo McWilliams, described how this type of purchase lends the stores to a showroom model, as customers often visit to try on dresses and order them online so they are delivered “box fresh”.

“We’ve gone on a journey to showcase bridesmaids in the store and we know they want to order it fresh,” she said. “We still have a good mixture in the store, but for the more special or more limited collaborations it makes sense to hold that product back so we know exactly where that inventory is and fulfil it as a fresh boxed version.”

Due to this trend, Coast has decided to hold the bulk of its stock in its web DC to ensure the customer gets the product as quickly as possible,

Bonar said: “Customer expectations for fulfilment are increasing and we’re all keeping up with Amazon and playing catch up the whole time, so it’s about providing as many options as possible,”

As part of the website replatform onto Aptos’ Singular Commerce Platform in the cloud, much time was spent on improving the check-out experience and ensuring the website was responsive to appease its growing mobile consumer – with 55% of traffic now coming from smart devices.

The product page was also revamped, with hero images that really show off the Coast product range. “Product is king for us, as it is in any business, but it’s really important for us,” said McWilliams.

Bonar added: “We’ve taken up the whole screen with the product, the product is really the hero.”

Coast has also integrated social media on the product page, partnering with Bazaarvoice to embed shoppers’ Instagram images using the hashtag ‘#MyCoastStyle’ next to products, which helps customers see how the dress has been styled at a real wedding or event.

Another small change which has been made to the eCommerce site is the introduction of a persistent basket. Due to the nature of Coast products being a “considered purchase”, Bonar described how if a mobile shopper places an item in her basket, when she logs on from another device, even a week later, she will still see the item in her basket. “They do take a lot of time to think about it," she said.

Since launching its new website in February, Coast has reported double digit growth “way ahead of expectations” on average order value, traffic, conversion and mobile use, which Jo said has a “big effect on bottom line”.

Bonar also noted how easy the replatform was. “It’s actually been really smooth – it’s the only platform I’ve worked on I’ve been able to say this about.”