In 2016, Swanky were 1 of the first 3 agencies in Europe to be awarded the title of Shopify Plus Experts; an accreditation which recognises our commitment to providing enterprise brands with stunning websites that drive conversions. As leading Shopify Plus Partners for design, development and growth services, Swanky remain as passionate as ever about finding innovative solutions to help our clients reach their full ecommerce potential. I recently caught up with Ben Homer, Head of Operations at Swanky and picked his brains about the exciting things they have planned this year!

1. Tell us all about Swanky! 

From a spare bedroom in Exeter (glamorous, I know) where the team landed Swanky’s very first client, to now running offices in the UK and Australia with over 30 full-time staff members, Swanky has been on quite the adventure over the past decade.

Today, we are a leading end-to-end ecommerce agency, and our passion for creating beautiful, compelling ecommerce websites is stronger than ever.

As official Shopify Plus Partners, we provide full in-house delivery of services to maximise growth and revenue for enterprise-scale ecommerce retailers, including Shopify Plus migrations, web design, development, conversion rate optimisation and digital marketing strategy. These services drive transformative growth at velocity, propelling our clients to the forefront of their industries.  

Our team of experts are passionate about providing stunning, commercially-optimised websites for ambitious, fast-growing enterprises. Together, we are on a mission to unlock our clients’ ecommerce potential with our data-driven application of creative conversion optimisation techniques.


2. Where should retailers be focusing their efforts? How can retailers compete with the likes of Amazon. Should they compete with Amazon?


Giants like Amazon have a bottomless pile of resources, so the thought of competing with them can be pretty daunting for retailers. 

The best way to compete with them in my eyes is by showing your character and taking a much more personable approach to commerce. Amazon is faceless, and the shopping experience is uber-transactional. It seems optimised beyond the point of pragmatism now. 

There’s a huge market trend towards sustainable and ethical commerce. Consumers are moving past the whole “I want it now thing”, and instead value transparency and authenticity - things which Amazon struggles to provide. So, as consumers’ demand for more sustainable, homegrown products and services continues to dominate the industry, retailers can compete with the likes of Amazon by providing a ‘local’ brand experience.

3. What are some of the biggest changes/trends that you currently see happening within ecommerce?

Personalisation is of course already a huge trend within ecommerce, to the point where it’s increasingly becoming an expectation that users receive a personalised experience. This will surely only advance as tools and technology get better and better!

We’re already seeing a huge shift towards subscriptions too, but I think it will accelerate into 2020 as technology continues to make it easier for businesses to move to subscription models.


4. What sets you apart from other agencies? Any special areas of expertise?


So, we take a bespoke and collaborative approach to everything we do. You won’t find a ‘boilerplated’, standardised Swanky solution anywhere. We thrive on collaborative, strategic thinking, within the Swanky team, with our clients, and with our partners as well.

One of the most innovative aspects of our business is that we provide full in-house delivery of all our services, from initial analysis and strategy, through to design and build. This is distinct from many other agencies, who tend to subcontract the delivery aspect or leave this to clients’ in-house teams. Our approach places far more responsibility and risk upon Swanky, but can lead to significantly faster client growth. 

5. Tell me about one of your biggest success stories?

 

One of our favourite-ever projects has been with American fashion label Pulse Boutique. It was one of Swanky’s first big CRO campaigns, which led to the launch of our successful new service-arm, the Growth Accelerator. Pulse approached us with a number of common ecommerce challenges, so we made a thorough user-journey assessments of their (and their competitors’) website and analytics data to establish a 12-month action plan.

We did things such as incentivising video reviews, linking up email flows, building out a loyalty program and conducting advanced testing on their ecommerce store. Among many other impressive results over the year, Pulse experienced a 39% (!) uplift in returning visitors thanks to the combined efforts of the growth campaign. This is now something we do for clients on a regular basis, and has led to tremendous results.

6. Why did you choose to partner with Klevu?

First off, we wanted to partner with Klevu because of the strength of your integration with Shopify. As a Shopify Plus Partner, this is super-important to us.

The feature set of Klevu’s search solution was also key in developing our partnership. The tool offers great functionality with personalisation, and the natural language processing is an interesting feature for continuing to expand user engagement with search.

Finally, the strength of our relationship with the Klevu team was important. We want the merchants we work with to be able to work with partners with whom we know they can enjoy a strong relationship. Thanks to Klevu’s brilliant customer service team, we know this will be the case.

 

7. How important is strategic merchandising on category/collection pages/ the search overlay? 

There’s an increasing desire and expectation by consumers to find what they want on a store quicker. With our attention spans shortening, relevance is key. So, strategic merchandising is vital from a customer experience perspective. It’s also important from a commercial point of view. Being able to strategically merchandise based on stock availability or margin, for example, is key for boosting profits.

 

8. If your agency was an animal - what animal would it be and why?

Not exactly your typical answer to this question, but I’m going to go with an aardvark. Brilliant at sniffing out success (ants and termites). And what’s the first word in the dictionary? That's right, Aardvark - we are always first. Aardvarks are the only species in their order, making them completely unique (closest relative is the elephant). We offer a unique service offering at Swanky. Surely we’re an aardvark? I can’t take credit for that one unfortunately. Thanks to Jake, Swanky’s Project Manager in our Growth Accelerator team, for the idea!

 

9. Klevu are involved in your upcoming Ecommerce Unlocked event - tell us a bit about what people can expect.

Yes, we’re super-excited to be hosting an all-new ecommerce conference right here in Exeter, Ecommerce Unlocked: South West. It’s taking place on Friday 3rd April, and will be a day packed with inspiring speaker sessions, deep-dive workshops, collaborative networking and general ecommerce fun! 

We’ve got some really cool speakers lined up from across the globe, who’ll be sharing their stories, expertise and advice. Plus, everyone will get a delicious hotbox lunch, refreshments throughout the day and some fizz to close out the event.

People can find out more and buy tickets here.

 

10. What would you say to online retailers that have not used an agency like yours before?

At Swanky, we recognise that for a lot of businesses, your ecommerce store is only a small portion of a huge list of day-to-day tasks, so staying up to date on the latest trends and tools can be a huge and quite daunting task for you. The niche thing that a full service agency like ours can bring to your brand is that we live and breathe ecommerce. It is what we do. Not only can we bring value through strategic thinking, but we know what works, we know the route of least resistance - which is essential for improving efficiency. 

Lead Magnets

Upcoming Events

Ecommerce Unlocked: South West

Friday 3rd April 2020; University of Exeter, Devon, UK

People can find out more and buy tickets here.

Ben Homer | Swanky

Ben Homer | Head of Operations at Swanky

As Head of Operations at Swanky, I love making processes more efficient and scalable. I enjoy working together with the rest of the team to facilitate creative and effective solutions that help our clients navigate the competitive world of ecommerce! 

Thanks, Ben!

Any questions? Please contact amy.marks@klevu.com

For more information about Swanky Agency, get in touch here . We love working with Swanky and look forward to working together in 2020. 

To learn more about the features that Klevu are currently deploying, submit a demo request here.