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Case Study: The Custom Development that Helped International Shopify Furniture Retailer Aeris Improve UX

Find out about the custom development solutions that Swanky has implemented to help German furniture retailer Aeris improve UX, promote its flagship product, and effectively target another key international market.

Written By
Catherine Lambert

Aeris: A Shopify furniture retailer with an international footprint

On a mission to enable an active and healthy lifestyle with its innovative, ergonomic office furniture, German retailer Aeris creates movement where it is least expected but most needed – whilst sitting. The brand’s hand manufactured products – including its bestselling ‘Swopper’ stool – keep the body moving throughout the day, using unique 3D technology to facilitate ‘active sitting’.

A hybrid brand, Aeris sells its products via a network of distributors throughout Europe, as well as directly to consumers via its Shopify Plus website. 

Objectives

When Aeris first engaged Swanky back in 2020, the Aeris team was looking for an experienced ecommerce agency to build its online store on Shopify Plus, using the design created by Aeris’ design agency MPStudio.

Following the site’s launch, we have continued to support the Aeris team with growing their brand within Germany, across Europe and in the US, supported by a network of retail partners. Aeris works closely with local retailers in each region, giving customers the opportunity to interact physically with their products before purchase at their local store. 

We’ve provided a range of Shopify Plus growth services, including internationalisation and custom development. Our main objectives have included improving user experience across the site and better promoting Aeris’ flagship product, the Swopper. This has involved enabling users to find the best product to fit their needs, with the help of a product configurator, as well as to more easily search for their local retailer.

More recently, as the brand’s international presence continues to grow, the Aeris team asked Swanky to help them provide a localised experience for their Swiss customers, to gain increased visibility in this region. This involved creating a dedicated expansion store, with a customised store selector to link their EU, US and Swiss stores.

This case study will consider the solutions and strategies we have implemented to help Aeris achieve these objectives.

How Swanky helped

Developing fast & intuitive product configuration functionality

Aeris’ Swopper is an innovative stool that can be customised to suit a customer’s individual needs and tastes, with extensive choice between colours, sizes, springs, wheels, and more. In the initial website build project in 2020, we were tasked with developing a solution that would allow consumers to create their own Swopper stool with ease.

With 2600 potential configurations of the Swopper, this presented a challenge within the Shopify platform, which natively has a limit of 250 variants per product. With so many combinations possible, our aim was to simplify the user journey. We also needed a solution that didn’t require a page load when the users switched between products.

Together with input from MPStudio, our in-house development team created a bespoke product configurator that offered a fast and intuitive product customisation experience for users.

More recently, to further improve this experience and support the launch of two other customisable Aeris products, we upgraded the product configurator to leverage GraphQL.

Despite the technical complexity of this functionality, the user experience is smooth, elegant and just as sleek as Aeris’ pioneering products. Shoppers can select between thousands of variants and are simultaneously presented with an instant image response based on their selection. They are also presented with accurate pricing and delivery information depending on the product they currently have configured.  

For brands selling custom products online, incorporating a responsive visual configurator like this is a surefire way to increase users’ confidence in their purchase, by showing them exactly what to expect from their product. It also creates a more engaging on-site experience for shoppers.

Find out how our Australian Shopify experts tackled a similar issue for Veneta Blinds by building a bespoke product builder app that can handle over 700 billion variations.

 

Implementing product personalisation

Selling personalised products can have a number of benefits for both brands and customers, including enhanced loyalty and competitor differentiation.

Seeking to reap the rewards of product personalisation – specifically to further enhance sales of the Swopper, reduce return rates and help customers feel more connected to their brand – the Aeris team tasked us with adding personalisation functionality on the Swopper product page. They wanted to offer the option to consumers of getting their stool’s base engraved with a name or text of their choice.

To bring this request to life, we designed, developed and implemented bespoke functionality that extends the native functionality of the Shopify platform.

Upon configuring their Swopper and adding it to their cart, a pop up appears inviting users to personalise their stool with up to 20 characters of text. This personalisation is classed as a separate product and is linked to the Swopper product before being added to the cart.

Personalisation can also be added via a button in the cart.

You can learn more about how we have helped other brands implement similar functionality in this article about selling personalised products on Shopify.

 

Product page development: New accessories slider

As part of the objective to improve user experience on product pages, we designed and implemented a new accessories slider for the Active Office product page. This allows users to add relevant accessories to their cart without leaving the product page.

Here are some key features of this slider:

  • Complementary accessory products are displayed in carousel format, which can be scrolled through via left and right arrows.
  • The product image in each tile changes upon hover, showing the accessory being used in situ alongside the Active Office product.
  • Clicking on the ‘i’ symbol triggers a product description to replace the product image.
  • Pricing and delivery details sit below each tile, along with an ‘Add to shopping cart’ button.

Allowing users to view and add accessories to their cart, without having to navigate away from the Active Office product page, hugely simplifies the journey to purchase. The customer experience is clean and uncomplicated, notwithstanding the complex development behind-the-scenes.

 

Launching a new Shopify expansion store for Switzerland

Thanks to strong partnerships with a network of retailers, Aeris has customers throughout Europe and the US. The brand’s EU store has a good reputation with shoppers in Europe, with language options for each country.

However, when it came to the Swiss market, Aeris wanted to have a more targeted approach to the region. This would allow them to improve customer experience and to more effectively promote awareness about back pain and the Aeris solution for Swiss customers. As such, the team opted to create a separate Shopify expansion store for this region.

The introduction of Shopify Markets has made it easier for brands to localise the language and currency of their stores to reach their international audience more effectively. However, expansion stores remain the best option when further content localisation is required, such as offering a different product catalogue, particularly when there are regional complexities around tax or compliance.

In Switzerland, different tax bands apply depending on the total value of a sale. These price differences cannot be handled through simple currency conversion using Shopify Markets, so an expansion store was necessary. In addition, the design of the Swiss website needed slight modification in order to accommodate the symbol for Swiss currency CHF, which takes up more space than the Euro symbol.

If you are planning your international store structure on Shopify Plus, take a look at our comparison of Shopify Markets and expansion stores.

This new international expansion store is a key tool in Aeris’ armoury as the brand looks to accelerate its cross-border expansion and serve up a high-quality localised experience to consumers across Europe. It offers greater control and flexibility in promoting the brand in Switzerland, including the ability to localise product offerings, language and content specifically for the Swiss audience.

 

Developing a store locator pop up

To direct new users to the correct store, Swanky developed a bespoke store locator pop up.

The pop up detects the user’s country from their IP address, whilst Weglot detects their preferred language from their browser. If a new user lands on the wrong store for their region, the store locator is triggered, and offers users the chance to navigate to their most appropriate store – US, EU or Switzerland – as well as choosing their preferred language.

Directing users to their local store ensures they are presented with the relevant products for their region, as well as the correct product prices and delivery charges. Also, since three languages are spoken in Switzerland, it’s important that Swiss customers can choose their preferred language easily.

Once a user has selected their preferences, they will be presented with their preferred region and language options automatically on all future visits.

You can read more about localising your customer experience in our whitepaper on internationalising your Shopify store.

Reflecting on this custom development project

Reflecting on Aeris’ Shopify Plus store and the team’s work with Swanky, Christine Beck, Senior Ecommerce Manager at Aeris, commented:

“Our experience of Shopify Plus as an ecommerce platform has been fantastic. The platform is intuitive and easy to learn. Shopify is constantly evolving with the market and rolling out new functionalities to respond to their clients’ needs. 

“We feel in good hands with Swanky as a Shopify Plus partner. Aeris has challenging technical requirements because of the complexity of our products and configurators. However, Swanky, as a reliable, skilled technical partner, always manages to make even the most complex things work.”

Juliette Rosset, Project Manager at Swanky, added:

“Aeris is a technically challenging store – it’s been excellent to see everyone bringing their skill sets to the table to achieve some fantastic results. The store represents fantastic in-house collaboration at Swanky, as well as an effective relationship with the team at Aeris.”

Looking for a Shopify Plus agency to handle complex store requirements?

This case study demonstrates how the application of UX best practice, complex technical expertise and international ecommerce acumen have combined to elevate Aeris’ Shopify Plus store and meet key business objectives.

If you’re looking to work with a trusted and experienced Shopify Plus Partner agency to improve your site’s user experience, implement innovative new functionality, or approach your next international market, please contact our team today.

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