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Tom&Co on giving Topps Tiles a user experience makeover

Tom&Co won the ‘UX/Usability’ category at The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries 2021. Here, the team behind the winning entry reveal the secrets of this successful project...

The challenge

Topps Tiles opened its first ever store in 1963, giving it a wealth of experience in its tool kit. For over 50 years Topps Tiles has had a simple philosophy for business, providing an inspirational shopping experience and unrivaled product range authority, coupled with exceptional convenience. This has led to becoming the UK’s leading tile specialist, with over 300 stores nationwide.

After outgrowing its previous agency, Topps Tiles came to us to increase development capacity. Topps knew that to retain the majority of market share, it needed to continue to develop and grow.

The relaunch

Relaunching its website in 2019, Topps experienced an immediate 30% uplift in revenue from consumers, 100% uplift from trade customers and a 1,000% increase in trade website visits. We were pretty chuffed!

Shortly after the relaunch, a global pandemic plowed in and the retail landscape was changed as we know it. But how did Topps Tiles cope with the challenge?

With the boom in interest in home renovation and DIY, principally driven by conversion, online sales skyrocketed, trebling during the lockdown and remaining consistent at +45% across the year.

Despite challenges, Topps remains a market leader owning 17% of the combined domestic and commercial tile market. This growth and increased conversion can be attributed to how we have creatively and strategically thought out the UX of the website. Keen to hear what our client thought, we asked Topps Tiles what it believes helped it do so well this past year. It said Tom&Co relaunching the website with advanced omnichannel capabilities has been ‘key to performance,’ during the pandemic. So let’s talk about that!

We leverage the power of Magento by spearheading all our websites to a headless setup. This means that we can achieve clean separation of front and back ends, lifting all restraints both creatively and for our development team, all while eliminating risk. Our methods worked perfectly for Topps Tile’s key objective; to integrate their offline and online worlds. With 332 stores, we had our work cut out. Lucky for it, our advanced omnichannel capabilities were more than up to the challenge.

Omnichannel experience

We’ve achieved a seamless omnichannel experience, through the integration of the Design Advice Area. How does this work? Upon entering the store, customers are invited into a ‘design area’. Here, the staff use the website’s store mode to connect to the customer. This enables Topps Tiles to explore details of the customer’s previous on-site behavior and use the visualizer tools to build a basket the customer is happy with. Once they’re happy, they can either place their order straight away or request a quote. The quote comes in the form of the customer’s basket, all saved and ready to buy. A link is sent to their email address and may even contain an extra discount as an added incentive.

This frictionless omnichannel experience was paramount to success as 90% of customers visit both the website and store. This has been a highly effective tool for Topps to help convert early leads. Our clear strategic thinking and design have been instrumental in driving conversion from 0.7% to over 4.0%.

We don’t like to brag about our omnichannel capabilities but we did have one other trick up our sleeve. When connecting online and offline worlds, convenient click-and-collect is the number one service that shoppers expect to have access to. We seamlessly integrated all 332 Topps Tiles stores with click-and-collect service to make it easier than ever to shop on the go. We even enabled customers to see what is in store directly from the website, making trade workers’ lives especially easy.

Acknowledging that trade customers are a vital part of Topps custom portfolio, we implemented a trade loyalty program called Rewards+ to increase brand loyalty, through offering bulk buy discounts and points to accumulate store spend. Overall this contributed to the huge B2B success that Topps has recently experienced and the high customer satisfaction levels, soaring at 80%+.

User experience

That wasn’t the only key objective Topps Tiles needed us to meet. Topps also asked us to create an unparalleled user experience by inspiring the customer at every touchpoint. We started out crafting an inspirational experience, positioning enviable lifestyle imagery on premium website segments.

Secondly, we got to know our audience. As the biggest tile specialist in the UK (in fact, Topps Tiles is googled more than the world ‘tiles’ itself), our customer was looking for choice. The interior design world can be overwhelming. With so much choice in material, shapes, finish, the mind boggles. To remedy this, we integrated not one but two specialized visualizers. This allows the customer to preview their chosen tiles alongside their selected grout and trims. After all, redecorating is all about feeling inspired. Seeing the combinations in a fun, visual way meant high customer satisfaction and fewer returns. We also integrated Loop54 for highly personalized search capability, so the customer can always find exactly what they are looking for.

By using a combination of dynamic, configurable product pages and an in-page basket cross-sell, we were able to guide customers to purchase all the essentials they needed alongside their tiles. This is highly beneficial to the customer, but also generates profit for Topps. A win-win. What’s more, going headless meant we were able using API’s to quickly deliver essential commerce services and experiences to the customer. With the added flexibility we were able to commerce enable any system or application and seamlessly integrate with all chosen third parties. This meant we could integrate Paypal, Klarna, Barclaycard, Instagram shop and Deko for all the payment flexibility the customer could want.

The results

Topps Tiles began a customer feedback program named Tile Talk. This found that 89% of in-store customers were satisfied, awarding 5-star reviews, placing Topps Tiles in the top three UK retailers. Topps Tiles, a clear market leader, was even named a top five retailer for its handling of the Covid-19 crisis by Retail Week and Glassdoor. Bravo Topps Tiles.

Since relaunching the website recently we have seen an immediate uptake of online sales by 30% and a 100% spike in trade sales. In the last six months compared to the previous year, revenue has increased by 52.7% and conversion rates are up by a whopping 102% and our PWA enabled mobile-first solution has also improved mobile sessions drastically by 42.2%.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries 2021. Find out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.

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