A new revenue stream for Fairfax, Popshop is an online store which websites such as Stuff can link to via advertising.
It started as a test. Fairfax Media wanted to try out some ideas in the ecommerce space. They already sold advertising through their news websites, such as Stuff, and they wanted to maximise the asset that they had - eyeballs and advertising impressions - into sales for them, rather than third parties.
We started with Popshop in order to test out the ecommerce solution quickly. By reusing Open Source software, with customised UI, we were able to get to market as quickly as possible. The site allowed customers to purchase products though limited campaigns run by the Fairfax commerce team.
Popshop was effective and proved the potential business model for Fairfax Commerce, which in turn made the company want to invest in their own shopping platform.
In August 2017 we launched Popshop version 2, an entire ecommerce ecosystem including product infrastructure tools, financial reporting applications and admin portals. We provided many improvements to the original site including the ability to support multiple campaigns at once, better integration with Commerce API, a design update and an improved user experience.
The success of the project was achieved with a team of designers, developers and a project manager at Ackama, the business team at Fairfax and an independent product delivery specialist who is co-located at the Ackama office.
Using an Agile product development strategy we were able to offer close collaboration with the Fairfax product manager. Through this process we developed a close partnership with Fairfax, focusing not just on technical solutions but business objectives and outcomes.
Our lead designer was involved at every step of the process. She facilitated several collaborative workshops where we were able to engage stakeholders on the relevant issues at each stage of the project.
Implementation has been ongoing and continues today. We bring a pragmatic and results focussed approach to the project and have a dedicated Fairfax team at Ackama which provides consistency through knowledgeable and experienced staff members.
The scope of this project grew during the two year development and build period, and we have continued to work with Fairfax as their needs grow or change. We don’t manage this by building one bespoke product after another - instead we built a strong underlying infrastructure from the start. This allows Fairfax to roll out new storefronts, products, lines and brands in a quick and easy way.
One of the big challenges we faced in creating such a large shopping ecosystem was security, especially with regard to finance and personal information such as addresses. We overcame those challenges by implementing good security practices into our builds, and by having all of our work peer reviewed. A bespoke financial management system was delivered in preference to integration with SAP finance. Ackama also built a self-service vendor onboarding portal to enable www.indexed.co.nz to connect small merchants with Fairfax’s online traffic and these products feature alongside journalistic content on the Stuff website.
The purpose of the project was to iteratively test a range of innovation options so the strategy was underpinned by data and ongoing improvement. In the end, the project has proved that the ecommerce model works for Fairfax. They have been able to convert eyeballs to dollars and customers have been able to make purchases as part of their Stuff experience.