Global efficiency for iconic fashion

Vans e-commerce

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The client

A North American based, global fashion house with some of the most iconic and successful lifestyle brands under its guard. VF corp operates in all major markets, promoting and selling lifestyle by way of clothing from brands such as Vans, Timberland and The North Face. As with all brands, each has its own e-commerce website where customers can buy direct from them. With any successful e-commerce store online today, they need constant updates for their content, items and promotional material which is a mammoth task that powers the brands bottom line.

Image of Vans shoes

The challenge

Having recently brought on board a new content management system (CMS) to power all their brand e-commerce sites, VF was trialling the changeover with their Vans team in the North American market, swiftly being followed by the European team in EMEA. With initial adoption, the Vans team had gained some experience of utilising the CMS for their most recent updates, trying to adapt their day-to-day processes to work with the new system.

This didn’t go as smoothly as they had hoped, whether it was down to the training required to use the new system, the connections between systems or the complexity of the interface, there were recurring issues from the team. With a lot of corporate investment in the new system however, and the vital need for the team to be able to efficiently update and upload content to their sites, these issues had to be resolved.

The CMS they had brought in was called CoreMedia, a modern enterprise offering that was e-commerce focussed and completely off the shelf. Being such a large enterprise partner, VF did have access to developers from CoreMedia who helped to mould the system to what they needed and alter aspects of the interface and user flow where possible. Overall though, the CoreMedia product is a very complex, developer designed system which offers far more options than it does succinct and obvious user flows.

Example product shot of CoreMedia

The solution

As the Vans team were still in the phases of live testing the system to make it work for them, we were coming into this particular challenge at an opportune time. From the get-go we were able to start running user research sessions with the team members to get a greater understanding, not only of their challenges, but more importantly the processes and workflows that they need to follow. With access to the CMS we were also able to query the user interface across all the different use cases required for operating it. Reviewing the screen flows, the work patterns, the functionality available and the interactions that occurred for the user. Whether the user was needing to start a new campaign for upload, change the price information for inventory items, or schedule new releases for the future, we had to interrogate every process the Vans team would have to be able to accomplish with this system and its interface.

Example of proprietary wireframes created by EdgeCase

While it was obvious that the system was overly complex and had less design input than it did development, we aimed to improve the efficiency and ease of use for our particular user base by reducing visual chaos on screen and making flows for any one particular task more obvious.

We did this by interviewing select users across differing roles in order to capture a wide variety of use cases. We worked closely with the CoreMedia dev team to better understand what could realistically be achieved, and where we could improve the user experience without hindering another part of the system. We established where visuals and iconography would be needed to add value to the interface and created those assets. We conducted a review and comparison of best practices being used across the e-commerce sector to identify methods to employ for the content in order to drive sales. We even worked closely with the internal design teams of the brand to review, update and make their existing design system more valuable and streamlined.

Example shot of CoreMedia in use

The results

Having established the common issues and hinderances the teams were facing, we were able to identify changes that could be made to the CMS interface, where user flows could be streamlined and made more obvious from a user perspective, and ensured all product assets were made available in an organised and on-brand manner so that the team could operate more efficiently and effectively together.
These results were primarily aimed at the North American Vans team, however we continued our work with the global teams across Vans, Timberland and The North Face in order to review their own processes and how the CMS could be deployed with those teams whilst mitigating any previously experienced issues and reduced efficiency for their e-commerce sites once the CMS was put in place.

Example shot of design system assets

Our goal here was to increase efficiency by way of improving the user experience of an integral system used to command and maintain the customer facing sales portals for each brand. Whilst doing this for that particular system, we were also able to achieve efficiencies in general process for the teams by improving the design processes in play.

This ultimately reduced time to market for new products, increased team efficiency across NA and EMEA, and allowed the brand to utilise a powerful new tool to increase sales across all their e-commerce sites.