Scalability, Stability and Support from Demandware
Updated December 09, 2014
Scalability, Stability and Support from Demandware
Score 10 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Demandware
We implemented Demandware at Urban Decay Cosmetics three years ago to replace a custom eCommerce solution. The DW platform boosted our abilities to provide a stable and scalable eCommerce solution to the fast-growing brand. Our DW solution provides our storefront and entire ".com" brand presence with editorial content and a solid and secure shopping experience. The solution freed us from relying on internal resources to maintain and improve urbandecay.com and allowed a company with much greater development resources to provide us with continual "best of breed" improvements as well as relatively easy connections to leading and start up 3rd party service providers such as Bazaarvoice for Reviews, MainStreet for OMS and Baynote for product recommendations. Today we focus limited resources on front-end development to keep the site fresh and exciting with minimal back-end troubleshooting while meeting technical challenges given to us by the Marketing Team as they feel ever more comfortable pushing the creative envelope. This is something extremely important to the Urban Decay brand.
- Scalability - In December 2013 alone we launched a "tentpole" product that sent our single day eCommerce sales from an average of 500 orders per day to over 17,000.
- Integrations - Through "cartridges" Demandware facilitates 3rd party integrations in a relatively easy way. Trusted providers such as Merchant Banks, UGC Integrators and Social Media pipelines can be set up and launched with much less developer time than in a traditional, custom solution.
- Improvement - The Demandware product development teams do a great job of keeping on and sometimes even ahead of trends and technical advances. They roll out improvements large and small at regular intervals and maintain excellent documentation. When the online documentation isn't enough, we've found that our support contacts do a great job of filling in the gaps for us. When something doesn't go as planned with a rollout of new features (as can happen with software!), Demandware is quick to make adjustments and good at communicating what they are doing.
- Image Management - Through Demandware's Business Manager, loading, assigning and maintaining images in the Product Catalog is a bit cumbersome. Granted, our current implementation doesn't take advantage of DW's Image Management that allows clients to load a single, high resolution image that gets dynamically scaled throughout the site so we load several versions of each product image in each size we need. This certainly compounds the complexity of a tedious task. Moving to Image Manager is expected to reduce some of this frustration.
- Business Manager - The backend management tool for Demandware could use some UI improvements. The company has a plan to make merchandising and catalog management more WYSIWYG, but has delayed implementation of the improvements. My opinion is if the tool is not ready, then don't force it going live.
- URL Management - Historically, we have had challenges with the way Demandware handles URLs. Specifically, it used to append required elements that diminished SEO effectiveness and URL "cleanliness". Additionally, we've had challenges with redirects resulting in endless loops, etc. In 2013 the company addressed many SEO challenges and these improvements have had a positive impact at Urban Decay. Interestingly, today, as I write this review, Demandware pushed a new code version that is expected to address some remaining issues with redirects and other SEO-related issues.
- Demandware's scalability has had a significant impact on our business. As I mentioned previously in the Strengths section, the platform allows us to successfully launch new products as well as drive significant traffic to the site in "bursts" in a way that our custom solution would not have been able to handle. Handling traffic spikes in thousands of percentage points smoothly allows our creative teams to focus on driving customers and fans to our site knowing it will perform.
- The negative side to front-end scalability is that it can expose weaknesses in other parts of the business. Being able to sell at high volumes in short bursts is fantastic on the front-end, but it can expose "bottlenecks" in the OMS and Fulfillment sides of the house.
- The Demandware platform allows us to be more "device agnostic". Today we are working on making urbandecay.com responsive. But before this initiative, going live on the platform opened up the site to many more devices to a positive customer experience than our previous site did.
A huge factor influencing our decision to remain on the Demandware platform is that our new parent company is standardizing all its luxury brands in the US on it. We are fortunate. However, even if we had remained an independent company, I believe we would continue on the Demandware platform for all the reasons outlined in this review. I appreciate the stability the platform has provided to our eCommerce site in the last three years as well as the continuous improvements and technological advances being rolled out that will allow us to keep the site fresh, engaging, modern and stable. I've heard many horror stories from colleagues on other platforms who struggle with the expense and complexity involved with making what should be minor and simple changes and updates to their sites.