“The design of the new site was more than we could have hoped for, with clean lines, a very modern feel, and most importantly for us it is very easy to use.
“I have to commend First Option Software for the whole experience from the design right through to implementation. Throughout the whole process we have been listened to and on the day it went live the changeover went very smoothly. The site was up and running in just over an hour with new orders flooding in.
“To sum it all up, we are so pleased that we chose your company, and I would not hesitate in recommending First Option Software to anyone”.
Kieron Davidson, Managing Director Skoolkit
Custom ecommerce integration
To design and build a new website that would bring extra functionality to the online shopping experience, to make numerous improvements and fix many problems, and to integrate Skoolkit’s ordering/cataloguing and stock control software, Fashion Master.
Skoolkit is one of the UK’s leading independent suppliers of schoolwear, school uniforms and uniforms for Scouts, Guides, Brownies, Cubs, Rainbows and Beavers. Based near Southampton, they have retail stores in Basingstoke, Eastleigh, Fareham, Totton and Havant but more and more have been developing their online capability. The old website, which functioned well and everyone was familiar with, was not ‘broken’ but needed developing to make it fit for purpose for the next five years and to take advantage of the growth in online orders.
Fashion Master is the software from DGCS which gives the staff at Skoolkit control over their ordering, their stock control and is the database which contains the 6,600-odd images and the many hundreds of different products, with their numerous variations of sizes, colours, styles and so on. The main requirement, and a key to First Option Software winning the contract to develop the new site, was to integrate the Fashion Master database seamlessly with the Skoolkit website, thus saving hours of administration time, laborious manual entering of ordering information from the website into Fashion master and preventing the possibility of errors and inconsistencies. This was achieved by liaising closely with DGCS, Skoolkit’s IT personnel and by using the API required to make the two systems work together. To quote Kieron Davidson, Skoolkit’s MD, “One of the main upgrades to our site was the integration with our stock control system – this has happened seamlessly and all completed by First Option Software. On the day it went live the changeover went very smoothly. The site was up and running in just over an hour with new orders flooding in.”
Browsing habits have changed dramatically over the past few years, and certainly have moved on significantly since the original Skoolkit website was developed. Before starting the redesign, First Option Software’s designers studied the existing site in detail to identify its shortfalls and strengths. The new design features a simplified, restructured navigation which avoids dead-ends and ensures that any area of the site can be reached with a minimum of clicks or levels. Clean lines and easy-to-understand illustrations and icons have helped freshen the site and encourage more product browsing. The new Skoolkit website is an example of great software and design working together. The whole user experience has been stepped up to a new level of enjoyment and interaction rather than a complicated chore, giving both the Skoolkit staff who maintain the site, and their customers who order through it, an intuitive and user-friendly experience. Kieron Davidson says “My wife Claire had a go as soon as it went live and the first thing she said was how simple it was to use, which is what were after.”