ActionMan Case Study Analysis

Commissioned by Art and Science

Intro

This document has been created for future reference incase we need to revisit something. It hopefully also provides some insight into our thought process but ultimately it hopes to determine if it was successful and could have been improved.

Mission Brief

Most people over 25 will remember or have heard of Actionman, an iconic toy of the 70s, spanning multiple generations but somehow it was lost. People have warm feelings toward action man and its invocative memories, this action figure has not seen his last day.

Log.

April 2020
Objective

  • turn a static site into a full functioning e-commerce platform.

Requirements

  • Needs the potential to scale quickly with viral demand
  • Maintain the branding and style
  • International customer base
  • Automate distribution channel

Brand Research

Moneysupermarket ran a series of successful advertising campaigns giving a modern twist on the ActionMan character.

Alternatively 80s-90s television adverts still brought a warmth of nostalgia to anyone that grew up with ActionMan, it felt important to maintain the retro look and feel of the original product and branding while incorporating the modern characterful take on the brand.

Plan

ActionMan is a global brand with a cult following and the potential for it to go viral is high so we needed a platform that could start small to minimise costs and scale with demand. The site had already been designed and developed and had a fun, retro style in keeping with the products vintage look. Once we had chosen a host for the static content we needed to find a solution to serve the dynamic content and inject it into the current site.

Shopify was chosen because of its potential ability to serve thousands of orders simultaniously and the pre-existing bridge with the clients chosen payment gateway. The products are seamlessly injected into the site maintaining consistency of design and origin while backend functions are executed by Shopify.

Order processing

Shopify's order API was utilised to connect the Shopify backend with distribution centres. Shopify provides the ability to extract order information upon events through webhooks.

Rococo developed an order managment system which can connect to the Shopify backend as a private app. The app accesses order information at timed intervals or upon triggered events and converts the order into the required format of the distribution centre and provides an interface for the distribution centre to securely access the order data. The full system provides a fully customisable headless stock management system ready to plug in any new distribution channels when necessary.

Analysis

The project is ongoing but the website has been live long enough to make some conclusions.

Overall the project has met the brief in the most cost effective way possible. Relying on 3rd party systems is always a risk due to their unknowns and limitations but Shopify performed beyond expectation.

Be prepared to develop your own apps. One lesson learned was not to rely on Shopify marketplace apps. Shopify could really do with improving the system of choosing apps as it can be a real time sink with the number of apps available. Ultimately if your requirements go beyond generic, while they may work initially, things change and you're at the mercy of the app developer to add new features, which was not acceptable in this case.

Issues

The only downside with the site is the speed which products are loaded. While the site is generally fast and responsive the site suffers having to load products from an external source and does not meet Googles ideal performance for modern websites and will mean an SEO hit.

A solution which was considered but dismissed due to complexity of updating content. The site could have used pre-build static content from the external data and rebuild whenever a product was changed or created. A suitable option would have been a javascript framework such as GatsbyJS, with its focus on performance and serverside rendering, it would have solved this issue.

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