Cox & Cox: the journey to mobile

While many other catalogue retailers are ditching paper in the post and directing shoppers online, eCommerce brand Cox & Cox is investing in its catalogues, with an additional brochure recently added to its yearly line-up.

eCommerce manager, Aynsley Peet, describes how shooting its own images and creating more of a lifestyle magazine means customers are still waiting for the brochure to drop on their doormats nine times per year.

Cox & Cox has 1,200-1,500 SKUs, around 40 full-time staff and last year saw turnover increase 20% year-on-year to £14 million. Additionally in the last two years, the brand has changed its product range to offer more furniture, which increased the average order value from around £120-£140 to £180-£200 today.

While the pureplay retailer based in Somerset sees social channels like Instagram as a brand awareness opportunity rather than a sales channel, it does see its catalogue customers increasingly order products online.

An existing Magento user, Cox & Cox decided to move onto Magento 2 last year, as part of a five year agreement with the vendor. And at the same time, it added a new ERP system with Netsuite.

“It was difficult to keep up to date with eCommerce trends,” explains Peet. “We’d outgrown Magento 1 because it was also our ERP and warehouse management system.”

Separating out these functions gave back more control to Cox & Cox and allowed Magento’s technology to focus on eCommerce growth, and more importantly, mobile sales.

“We’ve gone back to core Magento,” says Peet. “The old site had 100 plug-ins and now we’ve limited the number and stripped it back. This improves load speeds, makes the site more stable and makes it easier to code.”

Mobile revenue has increased 42%-44% over the last year and reducing the check-out process from five steps to two has also helped conversion.

“It surprised me,” says Peet. “I browse on mobile, but then I would make a purchase for a £600-£700 console table on desktop? But we are seeing consumers shop on mobile, which is great.”

The cost of technology

Peet says the brand decided to stick with Magento because it felt comfortable with the vendor, but he says the real key driver was cost – compared to competitors such as Hybris which is more expensive or Salesforce Commerce Cloud (previously Demandware)’s revenue-share model.

Indeed, the overall cost of technology is a concern for Peet going forward, who points out that systems integrator and eCommerce development work does not come cheap.

“There are also challenges of getting development work delivered on time.”

Meanwhile, the other big concern is the rise of Amazon and its same- and next-day delivery offering which is conditioning consumers to expect this level of service from all retailers.

“So customer service is a big challenge for us and we want to be on top of educating our customers and keeping them in the loop [about their orders].”

Future digital innovations

Looking forward, Peet hopes to leverage technologies such as augmented reality (AR), which he feels works well in the homeware space so customers can see how the sofa they have their eye on looks like in their homes before committing to the big-ticket purchase. Cox & Cox intends to sell more upholstery in the coming year, which increases the use case for AR even more.

Peet says Cox & Cox is at the very early stages of looking at this technology, and wouldn’t want to develop it in house, therefore it is looking for a plug-in to its Magento website, which he hopes to find within the Magento community, which the vendor encourages to share resources.

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