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Strand; Fast, Intuitive and All on One Page

Case Study

How Strand’s Digital Transformation Improved Customer Experience.

Strand, Australia and New Zealand's most-loved destination store for bags and travel accessories, didn't sit on the sidelines when it came to embracing new eCommerce technology to help customers achieve a smooth online shopping experience, particularly with the impact of the pandemic on physical retail.

Strand is one of the first Australian retailers to adopt One Page Checkout.

Partnering with Sydney based agency MindArc Digital and Shopify Plus, the company decided to launch their one-page checkout experience in New Zealand and Australia this week.

MindArc seamlessly migrated custom functionality in the Strand checkout to checkout extensibility. This migration has enabled Strand to effortlessly leverage the one-page checkout functionality with no further implementation required. Considering the recent launch of one-page checkout for Shopify Plus merchants, Strand is one of the first major retailers in AU/NZ to adopt this feature.

The Story of Strand

Strand is owned by Michael Lewis, the chairman of South-African based retailer TFG (The Foschini Group). It was established in 1927 with a strong sense of adventure at its core to meet customers' travel needs while also balancing functionality and fashion.

Since then, it has long been a household name within the fashion and apparel industry—offering an incredible variety of designer and own-brand handbags, luggage, business bags, backpacks, wallets and accessories. It has an online store and over 300 physical stores throughout

Australia and New Zealand for customers wanting to make a statement or simply complete any look in mind.

As a result of its growth and expansion, it has evolved into what it is today: the ideal destination store for travel and fashion bags that proudly celebrates its rich Australian heritage and its evolution as a company.

Achievements

Strand has achieved tremendous success over the years, thanks to the efforts of a devoted team working behind the scenes.

In 2019, Strand managing director Felicity McGahan redefined the retail company's store concept by updating its look and logo, adding more fashionable products to its line and implementing a smarter strategy to expand its 300-store footprint. Also, its online sales have grown by 50% in the last year, accounting for 5% of total sales. Online searches also rose by 64%, on top of the number of people who visit the stores.

Strand and the MindArc Enterprise team have worked closely to leverage Shopify native functionality which enabled a hassle-free migration to one page checkout giving Strand a seamless and efficient checkout experience which allows customers to complete their purchase quickly and easily, without having to navigate through multiple pages. Leveraging Shopify’s core
functionality also allows Strand to access all native conversion features that come out of the box like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Shop Pay.

The "Challenge" of Strandbags

From the first meeting, both sides felt the relationship was a good fit with an aligned work culture between the two teams. Strandbags wished to provide customers with a significantly distinct experience, whereas MindArc's aim is to create beautiful and innovative eCommerce solutions.

Strandbags and MindArc wanted to work together in a partnership arrangement where, as one team, could align on solving challenges and achieving the goals of the business. Both sides had really strong technical minds that could work together to bring things to life in a short timeframe.

 

How MindArc Responded

Once the project got underway, the delivery team managed by MindArc's Projects Division spent a significant amount of time learning about Strandbags' operations, both in-store and on their previous website.

MindArc looked into the issues or differences in customer experience for each of these channels. The team used that understanding in conjunction with the goals of the project to craft a solution that would set Strandbags up for future success and growth.

With new websites (Strandbags.co.nz and Strandbags.com.au), customers are given a whole new experience. Shopping sections for women and men were added, and the pages are content-rich and come loaded with recommendations powered by a Shopify plugin called Hi-Conversion, which is in turn powered by Amazon Personalize.

Following the delivery of the original Strand project, MindArc has continued to work in close partnership with Strand via the Enterprise team and together have achieved significant milestones together and made notable progress towards the business strategic objectives.

Here is an overview of our key achievements:

  • 1. Successfully transitioned to a new way of working within our Enterprise team, improving collaboration and efficiency.

  • 2. Increased focus on key business initiatives, ensuring successful outcomes.

  • 3. Have made remarkable progress on all FY24 business Initiatives, delivering the majority of them to date.

  • 4. Implemented additional initiatives, including Shopify native collections, native filtering, and Tagalys search.

  • 5. Strengthened our partnership with Shopify, receiving valuable support and validation for our initiatives.

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Strandbags was pleased with the solutions and designs that MindArc came up with in such a short period of time. Both parties felt a great alignment on the concept that we were all working to bring to fruition. This set strong foundations for the rest of the project, and we were able to deliver OPC for NZ and AU faster than originally anticipated.

We added other technical solutions including:

  • 1. Integrating Strand’s store network of 230+ locations and their inventory points across tens of thousands of SKUs

  • 2. Seamless integration with Shopify’s checkout extensibility features as it will show the pickup locations when the locations and inventory data for each location are populated

  • 3. Pickup locations are arranged based on the distance from the customer (using IP address)

  • 4. Pickup locations are dependent on the location availability of the product. A location will be displayed if all the products (added) in the cart has stock in that one location.

  • The website uses a Checkout UI Extension to validate the stock availability.

  • 5. Product’s inventory policy was changed to “continue selling when out of stock”, a Checkout UI Extension (banner) was leveraged to show the correct stock availability and  

also prevents the customer from completing the checkout until a proper location is selected

6. Compared to the previous implementation, Click & Collect implementation for location display does not require any front-end codes and can be managed mostly from the Shopify Admin. Also, locations are all coming from Shopify which cuts down the loading time for showing available pickup locations.

7. MindArc worked closely with Shopify to enable these Checkout UI extensibility features to make it easier to find a pickup location through showing a field to enter post code.

 

Discover the boundless possibilities for your business growth by engaging with the innovative MindArc team, and unlock strategic pathways to elevate your ecommerce success.

“MindArc has partnered with Strand over the last 4 years to ensure they can successfully leverage all the new features Shopify has released on their platform. Moving to Shopify's Checkout Extensibility functionality, the world's best-converting checkout, has been a big success for Strand this year. This has also allowed Strand to take advantage of the latest release of One-Page Checkout, after only just being announced and with no implementation required!”


Matthew Craig
Director, MindArc