Apranga Group is a Baltic leader in the fashion retail trade. Apart from the main company Apranga APB and 25 subsidiaries, it partners with many famous European and global brands such as Burberry, Hugo Boss, Maxmara, Mango, to mention just a few.
The company started after World War 2 as a state-owned warehouse providing footwear and clothing in a wholesale model. When it got privatized at the beginning of the nineties it turned to retail starting with the first store in Lithuania in 1993.
Apranga grew fast from one brick-and-mortar store in 1993 to over 170 – in 2020. Apart from that, it is the main retail partner for many casual (Inditex, Mango, Orsay) and luxury (Emporio Armani, Hugo Boss, Burberry) brands in the Baltics. Since 1997, it has been present on Vilnius Stock Exchange Current List, while in 2005 it debuted on Nasdaq.
Soulz is an exclusive e-store combining the products of many brands under the Apranga’s group umbrella. It targets an audience that chooses the online space for shopping offering an omnichannel experience.
With the dense web of brick-and-mortar locations, Apranga offers the Soulz.lt customers full flexibility when it comes to order and delivery. One can decide whether their merchandise is sent to one of the stores – so you can try it on and make the decision, to a parcel terminal or directly to your home. All this comes with free returns policy, encompassing successful, fashion e-shop principles.
Building a completely new e-commerce instance with an already existing infrastructure and processes requires an approach that takes it into account. It means putting some extra effort into the sync so the store management system works effectively. Our partner Nordcode was well aware of it and prioritized optimizing the new processes while maintaining a smooth customer journey.
They implemented an integrated e-commerce process chain to the existing systems, at the same time designing a flawless user experience for the e-shop’s clientele.
The whole process took an astonishingly short time to market – Nordcode launched Soulz.lt after just 6 months of work.
Within over 12 years of experience in Nordcode, we have worked with most of the e-commerce platforms in the market, but 3 years ago when we found Sylius, we decided focuse on it as one of our main technologies for e-commerce. Sylius is a very flexible framework that doesn’t bring unnecessary weight from the code base, functionality, and infrastructure compared with others e-com platforms. That is why it perfectly fits and is easily adaptable for mid and large enterprise business needs. The code base is very clean with the PHP Symfony framework background and doesn’t have legacy code issues compared with other platforms. That is why it is so likable for developers.
As Nordcode already had broad experience in working with other popular e-commerce solutions, choosing Sylius was a decision fully confronted with the customer’s needs.
In order to create a successful fashion e-shop, Nordcode knew it had to be visually attractive and eye-catching; however, it also needed to be functional. A lot of their efforts were targeted at configuring an outstanding search and filtering engine, catalog, and product pages. They didn’t miss out on the advanced category system either. Every product not only can now be sorted according to its size or color but by style, material pattern as well as many other attributes.
Nordcode’s in-depth analysis showed that the new e-shop by Apranga Group should encompass the following strategies:
Omnichannel strategy creates a unified experience for your customers. No matter if they visit the mobile or desktop version of your store, or choose the brick-and-mortar shop, what they get matches and works together to make the client feel cozy while their shopping, return or exchange is being done.
With omnichannel, you let your customers order online but collect at the store – or/and the other way around. They can check if a certain item is available at the store next to them to buy it on their way home from work. Omnichannel not only connects the dots of online and offline shopping – it interconnects them.
In this context, the omnichannel strategy works like a charm in the fashion industry, and thus it was fundamental for Apranga Group to introduce it within Soulz.lt ecommerce system.
Over 50% of lady shoppers among both Gen Z and Millennials choose mobile phones as their preferred shopping device. It clearly shows that this way of purchasing goods cannot be overlooked – especially when it comes to fashion (again!).
Nordcode oriented its mindset on creating a UX/UI towards the version for smartphones first, and only then did they develop a responsive desktop version. It guaranteed a flawless experience for both of these options and a truly mobile-first approach.
The fewer steps leading to the purchase – the bigger chance the basket won’t get abandoned. The same logic goes for ease of payment itself. In order to ensure it, Nordcode chose Adyen as the PSP.
Adyen is a versatile payment solution that allows unifying both online and in-store payment data into one system, a great addition to the omnichannel strategy. Apart from that, it provides a wide range of accepted payment methods online and a custom setup for offline points of sale (POS).
It’s one of the biggest fintechs in the world, which also happens to be the Strategic Sylius Payment Partner.