Marginal gains #2: Processing payments
Online turbo-growth, re-platforming to Magento 2, and ramping up payments
How did the London General Omnibus Company’s ‘winged wheel’ evolve into Transport for London’s iconic logo? Why are London buses red? What’s the story behind those seat fabrics? Housed in Covent Garden's Victorian flower market, the London Transport Museum is home to the living history of London’s transport network. Before 2020, it was attracting 400,000 visitors a year. These visitors would also frequent the museum shop, which is known for its stunning collection of vintage travel posters and furniture featuring the famous moquette fabrics.
But then COVID-19 happened. Overnight the museum and shop were forced to close their doors and ltmuseumshop.co.uk took centre stage. To find out more about this upheaval, we spoke to Head of Trading, Laura Mullins, and Ecommerce Manager, Reena Joshi.
Before March 2020, the sales split for the London Transport Museum (LTM) was one-third online and two-thirds the Covent Garden museum and shop. With COVID-19, the online store suddenly became one of the museum’s primary revenue streams. On top of that it was in the process of replatforming to Magento Commerce 2, by Adobe Commerce. So the team had to move fast while still ensuring it had a robust and scalable solution.
"We needed something robust and configurable so we could make it our own. And it had to be scalable for the next three to five years.”
“The replatforming project was a good opportunity to evaluate the site and ensure its functionality was fit for purpose now and in the future,” Reena said. “We needed something robust and configurable so we could make it our own. And it had to be scalable for the next three to five years.”
And finally, there was a big focus on mobile. “A large proportion of our customers now use their mobile phones to make a purchase,” said Reena. “In the last year, we've seen a massive shift to mobile. So another key objective for us was to simplify the checkout stage and ensure it’s mobile-first.”
To help the team with the move to Magento 2, LTM needed an experienced tech partner that could move fast, understood its objectives, and had lots of experience with Magento. It also needed an agency that could offer design expertise as well as project management. And so it chose 247 Commerce. “Their experience of the sector was really helpful,” said Laura. “And I really appreciated their can-do attitude. They were straight down the line, which we liked and I think it has really come through in their final result.”
“Of all our third-party integrations, Adyen was by far the most streamlined and stress-free."
To learn a bit more about the project, we heard from Susant Patro, CEO, 247 Commerce:
“We were very excited to work on this project,” said Susant. “There were over 12,000 products, multiple product types, and hundreds of custom product attributes. There was a full data migration from Magento 1 as well as integrations with Adyen and other key suppliers.
“One week into the project, COVID sent us into lockdown. With just two months until the Magento 1 sunset date, timing was tight. It became our first project of this scale completed without a single face-to-face meeting. We had 15 team members working on the project, which was completed in six two-week sprints. Adyen’s support was second to none and we’re so pleased with the results, which speak for themselves.”
“247 Commerce delivered really well,” Reena agreed. “They have experience working with other museums and are familiar with third-party platforms like Adyen. This was really key for us because integrations needed to be seamless.” As a result, integrating Adyen into the Magento 2 platform ran smoothly, as Reena explained: “Of all our third-party integrations, Adyen was by far the most streamlined and stress-free. The Adyen plugin was very straightforward and our developers didn't come across many problems at all. 247 Commerce has an established relationship with Adyen, so they could simply pick up the phone if they had any queries, which really helped with troubleshooting.”
“It was one of the areas of the project that wasn't a technical headache,” concluded Laura. “Which we’re obviously very thankful for!”
“Our conversation rate is now at 4.5% which is really high, especially in our sector.”
In the past 12 months, LTM online sales grew by 60%, a huge step up from their already significant annual growth rate of 20%. For Laura, a portion of that success can be attributed to the great experience served up to online shoppers: “Launching a new site has really helped our growth,” she said. “It’s now much easier to browse and buy and a simplified payments gateway is a huge advantage.” Reena agreed: “Our conversation rate is now at 4.5% which is really high, especially in our sector.”
Experiencing success during such a difficult time has been a huge boost for the whole organisation as Laura explained: “The performance of the online shop really helped morale. The fact that we report on its success provided hope during a very dark time.”
“The performance of the online shop really helped morale. The fact that we report on its success provided hope during a very dark time.”
The success of LTM’s online store has provoked a shift in focus for the organisation. “I think the online shop will become at least 50% of our sales in the future, possibly even more,” said Laura. To support this growth the team has plans to optimise its mobile experience still further by supporting mobile payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay. It also has its eyes on the international market. “Currently about 10% of our sales come from overseas customers,” Reena explained. “ So there’s definitely potential to grow and I think there’s more we can do, such as introducing different currencies.”
“Adyen Giving is going to be a really big part of the online shop."
Finally, as a registered charity, donations play a critical part in the organisation’s revenue, so any means of streamlining donations is welcome. As such, LTM plans to make use of Adyen Giving, a feature that makes it simple for customers to make donations at the checkout. “Adyen Giving is going to be a really big part of the online shop. It’s a seamless way of collecting donations and ensuring we continue to meet our charitable objectives,” Reena concluded.
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