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Case Studies







Case Study: 85% Revenue Increase For Department Store Coes after migrating from Visualsoft to Shopify Plus

Find out how Swanky migrated independent department store Coes to Shopify Plus, leveraging our extensive design and development expertise to create a streamlined, intuitive ecommerce experience.

Written By
Hannah Smiddy

Brand overview

From a humble menswear shop in Ipswich with just £100 worth of stock, to an empire of five department stores across the East of England, independent enterprise Coes has come a long way since first opening its doors back in 1928! 

From homewares and hirewear to sports apparel and school uniforms, every Coes store is a treasure trove of clothing and accessories from the globe’s leading brands.

After 80 years of brick-and-mortar retail, the brand began experimenting with ecommerce in 2008, allowing customers to shop their wide range of products from the comfort of their own home.

The challenge

Frustrated by the fragile, inflexible nature of the Visualsoft ecommerce platform, the Coes team knew the time had come for an upgrade. 

Impressed by the flexibility and reliability offered by Shopify Plus, Coes reached out directly to the Plus team, who subsequently recommended Swanky as the best team for the job thanks to our wealth of migration experience.

How Swanky helped

With a huge product database to migrate, this was a mammoth project to migrate the website from Visualsoft to Shopify Plus

Never ones to shy away from a challenge, Swanky’s New Builds team put their design and development expertise to work, crafting an intuitive ecommerce experience for Coes’ customers.

“This was a big and challenging project with lots of moving parts,” explains Sam Wilkinson, UX Designer at Swanky.

We pushed the boundaries of Shopify Plus with the sheer volume of products and extensive filtering options. After a lengthy design process, it’s great to see it all in action now.”

We sat down with Sam to talk through some of the highlights of the new Coes site.


This third-generation family business is steeped in over 90 years of history. Their family heritage and long-lasting commitment to quality and service are key parts of Coes’ brand proposition, and important USPs to communicate to shoppers. 

The brand’s unique story is weaved throughout their new site, with their core values emphasised through a combination of copy and imagery.

“To really engage users in the rich history of Coes, we created a timeline feature on the About page that walks through the key milestones in the business’ development, all the way from 1928,” says Sam.

“This helps humanise the business, allowing shoppers to get to know the Coes brand and the people behind it.”

The beginning of the Coes timeline. Check out the rest of the brand’s story on their About page.

Creating a narrative around the company and its history not only creates a sense of community and customer loyalty, but it can inspire confidence in a brand by demonstrating authenticity and quality – key values for today’s consumers.

“Less is more”

When it comes to the design of the store, the site is characterised by a simple black and white colour palette, reflecting the premium quality of the products and service provided by Coes.

“We approached the aesthetics with a ‘less is more’ ethos,” explains Sam.

“The mainly monochrome colour palette appeals to Coes’ sophisticated customer base. Maintaining a lot of whitespace on the site draws the focus onto the images and accentuates the details of their products, whilst the strategic injections of colour on the CTA buttons help guide users along their purchase journey.”

On-site search and navigation

With over 20,000 SKUs, the Coes site has an extensive product offering – one that could overwhelm users if not presented in a clear, logical way. With this in mind, we prioritised user-friendly navigation across the store.

“A visual, multi-level mega menu helps users navigate Coes’ wide-ranging product offering,” describes Sam.

“Pages and collections are organised into logical groups and display all available options at a glance, allowing users to visually compare their options.”

The mega menu on Coes’ new Shopify Plus store.

We also recommended and implemented Searchanise, the smart on-site search solution that helps transform browsers into buyers. Offering a much more intuitive search experience than that offered natively by Shopify, Searchanise instantly displays suggested products, categories and pages as users type, before presenting an on-brand results page that is easy to navigate and filter. 

The search bar in action. With ecommerce search users up to five times more likely to convert, Searchanise helps Coes capitalise on this strong buying intent with an intuitive search experience.

To find out more about Searchanise’s features, plans and pricing, check out our guide to third party site search solutions.

Bespoke products and pages, fit for a department store

Going beyond the native functionality of Shopify Plus in order to cater for the complex requirements of an online department store, the Coes site-build involved numerous bespoke development projects.

For instance, our team designed and built bespoke landing pages for high-level product categories (e.g. men, women, gifts, schoolwear), which provide a place to highlight specific collections within the category and promote the quality brands sold by Coes.

These image-led pages feature plenty of appealing lifestyle shots to create a sense of desire amongst shoppers.

An example of one of the bespoke landing pages we designed for the Coes site.

Other bespoke development includes a custom-built Made to Measure page, where we created an engaging narrative around the tailoring process using numbered blocks to guide users towards the booking form, and a bespoke suit product that allows shoppers to buy a suit as a whole, or each element independently.

The bespoke page we designed and developed to promote Coes’ Made to Measure service.

We’ve simplified the purchasing of schoolwear with a bespoke ‘quick buy’ shopping-list-style page, bringing convenience and speed to what can often be a stressful experience for parents!

Describing the purchasing process, Sam says: “Customers can select the school their child goes to and then see a full list of all the available uniform and sports kit options on one page. They can select a size and add an item to their basket, all without leaving the page.” 

The process for purchasing school uniforms is now even easier – users can view relevant items, select a size and add to cart, all without leaving the page!

Our development team also built some bespoke product personalisation functionality, which allows shoppers to easily add custom text to woven uniform name tapes – a popular feature with parents! They can select a quantity, enter their chosen text, choose a colour and preview the name tape before adding it to their basket.

Users can create custom name tapes in just a few steps!


Coes’ new Shopify Plus store launched in May 2020, during the peak of the UK’s first COVID-19 lockdown. Despite the significant challenges facing retailers, analysis of behavioural and ecommerce data pointed to a promising first 30 days on their new platform, compared the same period in 2019:

  • Revenue had increased by 85%.
  • The ecommerce conversion rate had increased by 78%.
  • Revenue per user had more than doubled, increasing by 102%.
  • There had been 66% more transactions on the site.
  • Average order value increased by nearly 12%.
  • People were spending longer on the Coes site (45% increase in average session duration) and navigating to more pages in each session (41% increase).

No longer constrained by the limits of the Visualsoft platform, Coes can now enjoy the freedom and flexibility gifted by Shopify Plus

They now have the time and resources available to accelerate their online growth, at a time where ecommerce has become more important than ever.

Migrate to Shopify Plus with Swanky

Looking to move away from your current ecommerce platform? Talk to our team today about what a migration to Shopify Plus could do for your business. We have a decade of experience replatforming sites from Visualsoft, Magento, WooCommerce and other complex systems.

And why not take a look at our must-have migration bundle, complete with downloadable ebook, on-demand webinar and plenty of replatforming success stories to get you inspired!

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