When I stepped into my first Charming Charlie’s store in Scottsdale, Arizona, I thought I’d found accessory nirvana. The place was huge, with an amazing assortment of displays—scarves, jewelry, handbags and apparel—all perfectly sorted by color and style, with organization befitting even the most obsessive-compulsive fashionista.
Launched in Houston in 2004 by 38-year old founder and CEO Charlie Chanaratsopon, the brand is known for merchandising products by color. The first-generation Thai-American is opening multiple stores every month and has built a “mini-empire” valued by Forbes in 2013 at $1B plus by selling trendy knockoffs sourced in Asia. Today, Charming Charlie has over $500M in sales and more than 350 stores across North America, quickly transforming from a little-known specialty retailer into a flourishing global brand.
Fueling Online Growth
In 2015, the chain looked to expand revenue growth through its burgeoning online business. Charming Charlie’s e-commerce site was built on the robust Magento Enterprise digital commerce platform to support the high transaction growth and scalability needed during its rapid expansion in online infrastructure. Charming Charlie turned to Magento solution partner Yottaa, a cloud platform for optimizing web and mobile applications, to optimize web experiences for its growing online shoppers.
Delivering a Positive User Experience
User experience is a critical differentiator for online retailers, and the rise of mobile browsing continues to create new performance challenges. According to Criteo, a leader in digital performance advertising, among U.S. retailers that had a mobile-optimized website, mobile commerce accounted for 31 percent of e-commerce transactions during the second quarter of 2015. In comparison, mobile drove just 22 percent of e-commerce transactions for retailers that hadn’t yet optimized—far below the 30 percent average overall. Poor user experience is also a contributing factor on Google when visitors bounce. The search engine recognizes sites with a positive user experience and penalizes those without. For online retailers, this means ignoring the user experience is risky business—especially while companies like Amazon and Walmart continue to advance their user experience optimization, raising the bar on consumer expectations.
Performance Drives Conversions
David M. Torres, director of digital technologies at Charming Charlie said in a statement, “One of our goals for 2015 was to increase the performance of the Charming Charlie site. Having a fast, frictionless experience is critical to driving conversions.”
Torres went on to say, “Our close relationship with the Yottaa team and their knowledge of Magento helped us leverage Yottaa’s technology to optimize the front-end of the Charming Charlie web application. The results were incredible.” When Charming Charlie IT staff tested Yottaa’s impact, the retailer found that its optimized pages showed a 25 percent improvement in page load time and an 8 percent improvement in e-commerce conversion rates.
What Optimization Means to Shoppers
Through front-end optimization or FEO, Charming Charlie has delivered mobile and website performance improvements that make its site faster and more personalized. FEO targets the front end or “last mile” of web content delivery over the wireless network, altering site content so it’s easier for browsers to render by compressing images and shrinking the complexity of applications. The user sees a host of benefits, such as:
Faster page loading
Seamless page-to-page transitions
Dynamic rendering of product recommendations
Personalized content, such as complementary products and responsive images based on their scrolling and clicking behavior