Spree Commerce

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Spree 3.0.1 Released

Posted on May 05, 2015 by Jeff Dutil

Summary

Spree has issued new 2.3.10, 2.4.7, and 3.0.1 releases which are available now! These releases are primarily focused on bug fixes particularly with promotions.

You can review the Github Compare for a complete list of 2.3.x changes.
You can review the Github Compare for a complete list of 2.4.x changes.
You can review the Github Compare for a complete list of 3.0.x changes.

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Choosing Spree Commerce to Power Storefronts

Posted on May 05, 2015 by Seb Ashton

About the Author

Seb Ashton is a developer at Made. Made is a Spree Commerce Certified Partner comprised of software experts who are passionate about delivering well-crafted, mission-critical software. The team works with organizations across many sectors who share their drive to produce standout, commercially succssful work.

Why companies are choosing Spree Commerce to power their online storefronts

As Spree Commerce gains popularity, more and more companies are enlisting it to power their ecommerce offering. At Made, we recommend Spree because of how well it scales, its flexibility, and the benefits it offers over paid solutions and other open-source platforms.

Spree can be tailored to any scenario

When choosing Spree, you have access to a wealth of official and community-written Spree extensions. Furthermore, while it may require some integration work during development, your application will be able to take advantage of any gem available in the wider Ruby ecosystem.

All of this ensures your storefront can be as unique in its feature set as it is visually.

Who is using Spree Commerce?

Spree is powering the online storefronts for companies from a diverse range of retail sectors. In luxury food, it backs the storefront for Fortnum and Mason. In DIY, it ensures potential Dulux customers cannot only get inspiration for their new projects, but can also purchase the paint necessary to do so.

In fashion, it’s helping to sell clothing for Finery London and SHOWStudio. In home decor, Spree enables SurfaceView to sell bespoke wall covering from an extensive catalogue of prints, maps, and murals. And in sportswear, it’s helping to sell the unique On Running Cloud running shoes.

And that’s just a small snapshot; there are countless more.

Do all the stores look the same?

As you can see from the sites above, there are a myriad of possibilities in terms of the features your software engineers can add to your application. The look and feel of any Spree Commerce storefront can be as flexible and unique as your business.

Since Spree Commerce version 3—both the user-facing site and the admin area—have utilized the Bootstrap framework, using Bootstrap alone opens the door to a lot of customization options. Users don’t even have to edit any HTML; just pick your colors and you’ll have a unique-looking shop in next to no time.

However, if you do want a completely bespoke look, there’s a little more work involved. Fear not though, because Spree has thought of this too. Spree maintains a Ruby gem called Deface. Deface will easily override and customize any template in the Spree codebase—it will even work on a given extension. This allows you to really tailor every page to your needs, or the needs of your client. And when coupled with custom styling, you’ll get a one-of-a-kind storefront.

Spree is a great platform, and by using official and community extensions, you can create highly customized storefronts that are as unique as your business requirements. The flexibility of Spree doesn’t end with the possible application features either. By making use of Deface, the front end of your storefront is completely configurable too.

So, a Spree storefront can be built to suit any client, whatever their needs may be.

To read this post in its original format, visit the blog of Made.

Fortnum & Mason Gets 20% More Customers with Spree Commerce Site

Posted on April 30, 2015 by Margi Murphy

How Fortnum and Mason got 20% more customers to check out with open-source site

British luxury retailer Fortnum and Mason has seen 20 percent more customers check out online thanks to its brand new open source website.

The renowned store in London’s Piccadilly has completely replaced its existing ecommerce platform, opting for the open-source, and lesser known Spree Commerce to avoid vendor lock-in.

The new site has already improved usability, contributing to a 15 percent customer conversion rate, a ten percent on-site search conversion rate and its former 20 percent basket abandon rate reduced to zero, the retailer revealed.

“It will pay back in less than two years’ time – and you do not hear of many e-commerce projects doing that” Zia Zareem-Slade, head of customer experience at Fortnum and Mason told Techworld.com.

Spree Commerce is similar to more commonly used Magento, Hybris or Demandware, written in Ruby – a modern, flexible language. With over 500 contributors it is one of the largest open-source projects.

Deploying such a platform is quite daring for one of the oldest luxury shops in the world. Other British retailers like Selfridges, John Lewis or Marks and Spencer favour vendor platforms like Oracle ADG and IBM Websphere.

But Zareem-Slade said: “The fact that you have a community of people constantly improving and writing features is fantastic. It has been hard enough to be locked into one platform, let alone a partner that is the only one who knows how to make your platform work. I have seen businesses tied up in knots over [lock-in] before and I’d rather not go that route if I don’t have to.”

Existing website

When Zareem-Slade joined the firm two years’ ago she was faced with an e-commerce platform was reaching the end of its life. It was “very challenging to do anything with it.”

Fortnum and Mason has a complicated set of delivery services to provide the best in customer service across the world – delivering complex orders to more than 130 countries.

“Being able to compute that set of offers for customers will always be challenging, but the way you present that back to them shouldn’t be”, she said.

The legacy platform was “a big old matrix that looked like a spreadsheet”, where click and collect feature could not be separated from others.

It needed to move away from what was becoming end-of-life technology, drastically improve user experience and speed of use and team with a partner and platform that could be continuously improved as digital channels evolve.

Agile

Partnering with Red Badger, Fortnum and Mason worked closely with its developers using Agile methods to get the site to go live within eight months.

The new, responsive website has been built with tools for continuous deployment like Circle CI and Ansible integrated into Slack. This means any member of the project team, technical or non-technical, can turn on regular new features and updates. Flipper allowed Red Badger to switch features on and off at the flick of a button, meaning that tests could be run in a production environment without any increased risk to customers.

Integrated with Fortnum and Mason’s Dynamics AX ERP, the platform has solved one major retail headache of putting orders in a single view for the customer online.

“If you have an order number that was made from in store at a service point or over the phone you can check it on the website too.”

ROI

Aside from positive customer conversion rates, Zareem-Slade said Fortnum and Mason had seen a 20 percent drop in calls to its customer service line and more mobile users making purchases.

The innovative choice of platform and technology partner is a reversal from the retail norm, but Zareem-Slade is convinced this was the best long-term option for the firm.

“I’ve seen some pretty horrifying numbers in retail and we made a conscious decision to do things a bit differently and our spend is reflective of that.”

To view this article in its orgiginal format, visit Techworld.com.

Fortnum & Mason Replatforms with Responsive Spree Website

Posted on April 28, 2015 by Alexander Diegel

Over the last two years Fortnum & Mason has delivered significant growth figures, in part due to new store openings such as Heathrow Terminal 5 and St Pancras, but also through an excellent online performance. In line with its continuing digital success, Fortnum & Mason has launched its new, fully responsive ecommerce site, to ensure that online customers enjoy the same high quality experience that the brand has been providing in store for over 300 years.

Designed and developed in just eight months, the new site is claimed to be one of the few truly responsive ecommerce sites currently live. As well as being a visual interpretation of the brand, the new site is scalable, agile, highly flexible, and able to handle complex orders and delivery across more than 130 countries.

Since its rollout mobile visits have improved 77% YOY, and mobile conversion has increased 57% YOY. Developed to deliver an improvement in conversion rate, new customers are currently converting 15% more than on the previous site. In addition, the business has seen an 18 per cent reduction in calls to the customer service centre.

The new website has been built by software development studio, Red Badger, under the stewardship of Fortnum’s customer experience director and board member, Zia Zareem-Slade. Using modern and progressive technologies, including open source ecommerce platform, Spree Commerce, and Facebook’s React, Red Badger was able to focus on creating a user experience catered to Fortnum’s customers’ needs.

Key to the success of the project was engaging Fortnum’s customers to help drive the direction of the design and development of the site by allowing them to provide feedback directly to the team. Throughout the project the Red Badger design team ran guerilla testing in its flagship store in Piccadilly to get customer feedback on the look and feel of the site.

Throughout its 308-year history, Fortnum & Mason has been at the forefront of retail innovation, and in 1998 it was one of the first retailers in the UK to launch a transactional website. In recent years a number of design changes have been made to the site but last month’s re-launch is the first full-scale redevelopment in four years.

Zareem-Slade said: “Collectively, we’ve achieved something very special. As well as being beautifully designed, the new site is fast, slick and easy to navigate – and is truly responsive, providing the same experience across multiple devices. The site reinforces the brand experience that our customers expect and since the site went fully live we have seen incredible results in increased revenues, increased conversion rates, but most importantly, amazingly positive customer feedback.”

Cain Ullah, CEO of Red Badger, said: “By working in full collaboration with both Fortnum’s and its customers throughout, and testing at every phase, we have managed to deliver a brand new fully responsive site in just eight months. The new site provides Fortnum’s with a robust and agile platform to support future business expansion and take advantage of the explosion of mobile and tablet usage.”

“We were ecstatic to hear that a company as renowned as Fortnum & Mason wanted to make the switch to the Spree and Wombat platform,” said Spree Commerce Chief Product Officer, Sameer Gulati. “Our robust platform serves retailers of all sizes and complexities; but to have a 300-year-old luxury retailer on board presented a new challenge. The customer metrics achieved by Fortnum & Mason so far are incredible and we fully expect the new site to be a benchmark for retailers to strive for.”

To view this post in its original format, visit Retail Times.