Willing to build an online fashion brand, Malianta took a year to test out different sales models and eCommerce solutions. In the end, they decided to launch a PWA-based online store as it ensured the best performance.
Malianta is an Italian startup specialized in hand-made leather bags and small leather goods. Before going live and launching collections created by the finest Italian designers, the company tested out the online market of women’s fashion accessories. For a year, Malianta’s was re-selling white labeled products and learning the market. The goal was to take the best preparation to run an online fashion brand – available worldwide solely via online touchpoints.
“We want Malianta to become a worldwide brand, and we believe that the only way to do it today, with modest financial resources, is online.” – Gabriele Conti Taguali, Malianta
The last year’s tests proved that well-marketed products garnish online interest in a very short time. In just a few months, customers perceived Malianta as a multinational company with thousands of employees which gave the startup hope and reason to compete with old, well-established fashion houses, without huge investments in showrooms or brick-and-mortar shops across the world.
At the same time, developers worked on Malianta’s eCommerce platform, making it suitable for the online fashion brand.
eCommerce platform for online fashion brand
Malianta defines themselves as an “Online Fashion Brand” instead of just “Fashion Brand”. Their goal is to offer products to customers regardless of their location. This required multiple location-based add-ons and system stability. Malianta began with the Shopify platform, but soon they were forced to migrate.
“We started our online business with the Shopify platform and it worked for a while. It was easy to use and to maintain, but after a couple of months, every new add-on made it heavy and unstable. What’s more, it became expensive. We could accept the monthly fee but we didn’t like to pay for every sale we were making. “ – Gabriele Conti Taguali, Malianta
In the second attempt, Malianta chose Magento 2 as it provides many functionalities just for free. Sadly, this platform’s front-end performance were below expectations, especially taking the long-term view. The website was slow and caused a high bounce rate in the pay-per-click campaigns, which reached over 40%. The developer’s team started huge work on performance of Malianta’s Magento 2 frontend with the “less is more” approach, and cut off all features that were useless in their situation. The performance tests were better but they were not yet satisfied with it.
Speeding up the store’s frontend
Malianta, like the other competitors in the fashion market, is forced to use high-quality images to allow users to verify the excellent quality of their hand-made products. Although well perceived by the customers, high-quality illustrations have a strong impact on a webpage’s performance. The PageSpeed Insights result reached only 51/100 and it was clear that, since image quality is such a strict boundary, the only way to score a better result was improving the webpage frontend.
While working on Magento 2 frontend performance, developers stumbled upon some open source projects that could speed it up. Vue Storefront’s demo presented exactly the frontend design and performance results which Malianta was hoping to reach, but the project was still in its early stages and seemed to be risky. Despite that, Malianta contacted Vue Storefront’s community and gained the knowledge and support that convinced them to leverage this new solution.
“Working with Vue Storefront was like being one of the first men on Mars. Every day was exciting because we could really feel we were implementing something powerful and brand new. “ – Gabriele Conti Taguali, Malianta
Vue Storefront’s installation was run on digitalocean servers (supported by Ubuntu and ngnix). This stage consumed the majority of the project’s time, as Malianta was looking for the best solution for their website. The server optimization process was backed by Vue Storefront’s community. In the end, the Magento 2 backend store was enriched with a progressive web app on the frontend.
Product page and shopping cart views at malianta.com
Launching an online fashion brand’s store
The new Malianta online store was launched during Black Friday 2018. Despite unusually high traffic, reaching over 755% more pageviews than during a typical week, the store’s performance met all expectations.
Now its team is continuing to work in order to enhance the customer experience and provide the checkout process without leaving the Vue Storefront experience.
Malianta keeps processes easy and clear for the customers, all using the “less is more” approach. Having as few features as possible, the company focused more on personalization on the UI, in particular for the product page.
Less information, more product experience.
Published January 9, 2019