eCommerce businesses need to be on top of their game when it comes to platform development. Acting as a visual storefront, their website must be well designed, intuitive and function flawlessly.
To craft the best online experience possible and attract new users, players in the e-commerce field need to stay up to date with all the latest tech trends.
This is no simple task and sometimes requires reinforcements. Such was the case for Sensee before they turned to Pentalog.
It has been 7 years since Sensee, the No.1 French online optics specialist, entrusted Pentalog and our Cluj Delivery Center with PHP and Magento development for their eyewear and contact lens websites.
ABOUT SENSEE – A FRENCH E-COMMERCE COMPANY
Sensee is a French e-commerce company founded in 2011 as a startup selling glasses on their web platform, Sensee.com. They acquired Central Optics, another e-commerce company founded in 2005 that sells contact lenses and solution from their website lentillesmoinscheres.com. That merger made Sensee the biggest online provider of contact lenses in France and their services are only becoming more popular with the passing of every year.
By taking over the optics market, Sensee founder Marc Simoncini took a huge step in delivering on his promise to make optical products affordable to the general public. Sensee sells optician-quality frames twice as affordable as major brands. Their cheapest pair costs €18 (about $20), is designed in Paris, and made in Jura, France. In addition to its website, Sensee has opened several stores in France’s main big cities.
Technology has traveled leaps and bounds between 2005 and today. Sensee’s in-house development team had made adaptations to the contact lenses website over time but keeping up with the newest technologies proved to be an overwhelming task for their small IT team as business scaled up.
On top of that, the platform selling glasses launched in 2011 and functioned well but did not take advantage of the latest and greatest tech tools available. In order to update both their websites to better accommodate higher amounts of web traffic and take advantage of new tools, they needed more developers to reinforce their team.
In 2011, Sensee could no longer develop or maintain both websites independently, and faced difficulties with recruitment in France. The group decided to outsource their PHP development and Magento eCommerce site maintenance.
In order to fully update both of their websites, Sensee decided to team up with Pentalog for an IT nearshore outsourcing solution in Cluj, Romania. Five developers (one of which functions as the project director) and one tester began working with Sensee in 2011 to update their newly created eyeglasses website as well as their older contact lenses site. Working together with their in-house team Pentalog developed, implemented, and tested new functionalities and features for both of their websites.
We developed a new framework for their contact lenses website with newer technology and replaced most of their older legacy code with newer technologies for its front-end. This resulted in a more stable and faster website. For the glasses website, many of their pages were static so the Pentalog team helped migrate these pages to a CMS, making it much easier for Sensee to change and customize their website on demand. Development on both websites included a heavy focus on making marketing easier and more effective.
The Agile method turned out to be the best organization methodology for both teams. Pentalog implemented and tested new functionalities on each website to provide smoother and more intuitive navigation. UX was enhanced, letting the customer choose frames on their own, and a delivery feature was added to let customers compare frames at home.
The website www.sensee.com has been developed on Magento platform, and has several functionalities :
An online catalog of over 1,000 accessories
An online POS for glass frames and lenses – progressive and single vision
Online pupillary distance measurements
Support from Sensee’s opticians
The solutions mentioned above are just a glimpse of many examples. The most important result of our collaboration was the creation of a continuous improvement cycle. Each new implementation on their websites was just part of a larger cycle and not a final end solution. Pentalog and Sensee have also found ways to improve workflow and projects progress faster and more smoothly than ever before.
All of our teams’ efforts have already produced concrete results. After one major release, a re-design of the Sensee.com website layout coincided with the release of a TV commercial in France. This resulted in a sales and website traffic increase. Meanwhile, everything functioned perfectly – even with the traffic influx.
The Pentalog and Sensee teams worked alongside each other and acted as a unit. Each workday kicked off with a meeting and was reinforced by constant contact the whole day. Our developers considered each other as co-workers rather than two separate teams. This collaboration is still ongoing and we will continue working within our continuous improvement framework to keep Sensee on the cutting edge of e-commerce technology.