A group of people repairing a greenhouse

Magento optimization for the leading greenhouse retailer in Germany

Staylime performs Magento optimization for Gewächshausplaza, introducing performance improvements, and ensuring its uninterrupted operation by rendering ongoing support services.

  • Domain Greenhouse manufacturing
  • Market Germany
  • Duration Ongoing
  • Services Extension customization, support & maintenance
  • Technologies Magento 1 Open source
  • Team Project Manager, Client Relations Manager, Backend Developer, Frontend Developer

Project background

Our customer, Gewächshausplaza, is a large German retailer offering a wide assortment of high-quality greenhouses, ranging from miniature balcony pieces to huge aluminium installations for professional gardeners.

A large greenhouse
Working with the leading European manufacturers and premium brands, the company also produces custom greenhouse solutions and related equipment.
Jan Guardian
Jan Guardian, Chief Business Development Officer @ Staylime
It stands to reason that a powerful, beautifully designed website is a prerequisite of making it big for any ecommerce business regardless of the products or services they provide. With that in mind, our customer had contracted a freelance developer, hoping to get a full-featured ecommerce solution to establish robust online presence, yet save time and costs on engaging a professional team.

Unfortunately, their expectations were never met: the delivered Magento store was full of bugs, hampering customer experience and inevitably impacting company’s sales. After 3 years of desperate attempts to make the website work properly, Gewächshausplaza had finally decided to hand the project over to a full-service Magento development company for optimization.

Seeking a reliable vendor to fix all the issues and enhance the website both technically and commercially, Gewächshausplaza turned to Staylime. Thanks to our proven track record, the customer entrusted our team with project rescue.

Project goals & priorities

The major goal of the project was to perform Magento optimization, improving website performance and driving higher conversion rates by addressing a number of visual and technical tasks and issues.

In particular, we had to:

  • Rearrange website’s layout in a way to provide viewers with more content, yet ensure fast and easy navigation;
  • Update the design to ensure equal browsing experience across various devices;
  • Install the latest security patches;
  • Refactor the code of the existing store;
  • Fix the bugs and defects caused by the avoidance of common Magento standards and best practices to ensure faster page loading and overall site performance;
  • Ensure stable operation of the existing store and prepare it for migration to Magento 2;
  • Render uninterrupted Magento support services and further Magento optimization.
Cybertruck towing a greenhouse
Besides, Gewächshausplaza were planning to migrate their store to Magento 2 as soon as it’s stable and bug-free, so it was necessary to set the stage for the migration as well.

Magento optimization

Given the scope of work, we proposed ongoing support with 40-hour prepaid blocks as the most optimal way of collaboration.

The navigation menu and information architecture were the very first targets for us to hit. To make the website easy-to-navigate, we revamped its layout by modifying the product and category pages. Responsive web design is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must, so we adapted the user interface to fit bigger screens and ensure consistent and seamless browsing experience to viewers.

Eugene Selenkov
Eugeny Selenkov, Chief Product Officer @ Staylime
Having polished up the visual aspect of the site, we proceeded enhancing its performance.

Advanced Product Options upgrade: approach & challenges

As migration was on the customer’s agenda too, we had to take care of the necessary preparatory work during the second phase of the project.

In particular, the existing version of the Advanced Product Options module required a major upgrade, both on the back- and frontend.

Initially, the extension was installed and then hard-coded by the previous developer, which hindered further work on it. Besides, Gewächshausplaza tasked us with the refinement of the extension’s UI, but there was no documentation or even Git commits for our team to review.

With complete absence of any initial information as well as customer’s unexpected intervention into the development process, the conventional extension upgrade became quite a challenge.

A man taking Polaroid photos of a greenhouse

First thing we did was to put the project under Git to ensure its traceability.

Working in the staging environment, we had to compare all the files manually to migrate legacy options to the updated Advanced Product Options with no data damage or loss.

Each increment was then approved by the customer and uploaded to the production environment.

A half-new half-old greenhouse

After that we stepped up to frontend development.

Since the product page has been significantly altered by our team before, we had to make some changes to the layout of the custom options block and, correspondingly, to the frontend part of the Advanced Product Options extension.

It would’ve been just a simple custom Magento development task had the customer allowed us to carry it out on our own. However, there was more in this than meets the eye.

As we were working on Magento optimization, the client started to set up extension templates and assign them to products on the staging environment.

They then asked us to transfer all the products with templates to the live environment. However, the templates should have been set up live in the first place, as the staging contained test products and data.

Jan Guardian
Jan Guardian, Chief Business Development Officer @ Staylime
Our project manager put a lot of effort to communicate the idea to Gewächshausplaza, having explained the proper approach in detail via call sessions and emails. All in all, merging the databases of two standalone Magento installations took longer than we expected, but our team managed to complete the task accurately.

Results

This project was a top priority initiative for Gewächshausplaza, and we helped the company in carrying it out.

We managed to perform Magento optimization and enhanced the company’s ecommerce website, having successfully handled all the technical issues arising in the process.

As a result of the refinements made, the website metrics such as page visits and average time on page have remarkably increased, contributing to a 10% turnover growth in less than 3 months.

The redesign has driven measurable improvements to the site’s visits and time spent per page, along with an improvement in the turnover rate.

Staylime adapted to in-house tools and utilized them to catch errors more efficiently. They’re a resourceful and reliable partner.

Peter Maas
Peter Maas Owner, Gewächshausplaza

Ultimately, we helped the customer to:

  • A greenhouse open 24/7

    Ensure uninterrupted operation of their Magento 1 store

  • A man trying to fix a broken hose

    Reduce costs and save reputation by eliminating business-critical errors

  • A mailbox with a spider web

    Spare a lot of time that used to be devoted to solving problems and responding to complaints

  • A man planting a seed

    Get ready for the 2019 sales season being absolutely sure that by 2020 the store will be ready for migration to Magento 2

Valera Kelmuts
Valera Kelmuts, Chief Executive Officer @ Staylime
For now, Staylime is looking forward to jumping at the opportunity of collaborating on migration of Gewächshausplaza’s store to Magento 2.