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eCommerce Evolution – our Q&A with Tom&Co

We caught up with Tom&Co, a London based Magento eCommerce agency.

As part of our series “eCommerce Evolution”, we feature, showcase and share knowledge, expert views and wisdom on the eCommerce market and how it is evolving around us.

Aaron @ ADLIB: How has your team adapted and evolved in recent times with the emergence of Covid, Brexit and other external factors?

During the last year, eCommerce has seen a tremendous amount of growth, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the physical store closures, even those who were avid high street shoppers switched up to online shopping. The pandemic gave a push to the fence-sitters and older generations who perhaps weren’t as accustomed to eCommerce. In a world where convenience and efficiency have become a priority, eCommerce gained popularity offering a quicker, easier, less stressful alternative to hitting the high street.  So while the pandemic precautions seem to be drawing to an end the growth for eCommerce is here to stay.

This has kept Tom&Co very busy this last year! We had the most fantastic year in a multitude of ways. We have taken on some clients we would have once dreamt of working with such as Sekonda, Accurist, Micro Scooters and MYFuji film and not to mention we relaunched the websites for some of our award-winning long-standing clients such as Topps Tiles, Biscuiteers and Oliver Bonas.  At the very beginning of the pandemic, we had to quickly acclimate to working fully remotely to ensure we had all our processes down to a fine art to ensure successful launches. Our first launch during the pandemic was for Agent Provocateur which is a project we are extremely proud of. We were so proud of how well our team adapted. 

It has been a whirlwind! Of course with great power comes great responsibility, so with that in mind, we expanded our team to ensure and welcomed onboard new superstars to help our team succeed. In fact, we grew our team in every single department, across our two offices in London and Katowice, increasing from 50 to 82! We must have done something right as we won 13 prestigious awards across The Drum DADI Awards, The UK Ecommerce Awards, The Ecommerce Awards 2021, The Digital Growth Awards, the Global Ecommerce Awards and Adobe Experience Maker Awards. 

Aaron @ ADLIB: What are the pros and cons of these new ways of working?

We have managed to refine our processes to enable us to work even more efficiently in a hybrid setup. By adopting this flexible approach, our team have a greater work-life balance, whilst also improving processes through new technology. Of course, there have been obstacles to overcome along the way, though we feel now we have mastered the art of collaborative hybrid working.  We have ensured to keep some client face to face meetings and plenty of Tom&Co socials to keep bonds strong and keep us working well and having fun as a team. 

Aaron @ ADLIB: What specific eCommerce tech do you offer, and how does this compare to another eCommerce tech available?

Tom&Co are a forward-thinking Magento Agency with over 8 years of experience building top-notch headless ecommerce websites. We design, build and maintain websites for top retailers, always with the consumer in mind. 

What sets up apart from competitors is our collaborative approach towards our clients. Our project management team ensures the client is part of every decision, creating a site that feels truly authentic to them. Once they couldn’t be happier with the result, we then continue the journey together, on a retainer basis.

We know that a common pain point for many large e-commerce businesses is the speed and flexibility of their websites. With heavy traffic and huge product portfolios, they need a website that is going to be fast, lightweight and flexible. They also don’t want to compromise on their aesthetic or brand image either. By spearheading our website moves to a headless setup, we can produce websites built for speed, whilst also looking sleek and polished. What’s more, we did all of this 8 years ago and now our entire portfolio of 40 e-commerce websites are all running ahead in this setup. 

Building our websites on Magento 2 allows for all the flexibility our clients could possibly want. What’s more, by using the power of Magento’s functionality coupled with a quick, app-like front end, we’re able to deliver PWA-enabled websites. We can also integrate our clients with pretty much any third party they want. What’s more, our expertise in omnichannel ecommerce has attracted the likes of Topps Tiles, Oliver Bonas and Millies Cookies given that they all boast large portfolios of brick and mortar stores. In 2021 our business grew by 40%. We were able to process over £300 million in online sales and our websites had over half a billion page views.

Aaron @ ADLIB: Which trends do you see in the world of eCommerce and what’s your take on it?

65% of traffic to retail sites is seen to be coming from mobile, and 53% of all online sales. An eCommerce brand would be mad not to think mobile-first. The online shop should work across all devices, allowing shoppers to effortlessly shop on the go. In the pursuit of building a mobile site that acts like a native app, there has been enormous growth in the popularity of PWAs. A PWA is a ‘Progressive Web App’, which means that they use web technologies like the forever infamous HTML, CSS, and Javascript but allow the user to install the website to their phone as you would any other application.

We also predict that personalisation will become a key expectation for shoppers. Addressing the individual user’s needs is becoming essential in eCommerce. Personalizing content to specific users makes it easier for them to browse the way that they want to, as well as makes them feel more considered and appreciated by the brand.

We have all heard of (and accepted many!) ‘cookies.’ Not the chocolate chip biscuit, but a clever tool to remember users’ choices made on a website. For example, a user might select to view a PLP (product listing page), in a 4 column grid and sort products by ‘best selling’, using cookies a website can remember this decision, and provide these options already pre-selected when that specific user browses any other PLP.

There you go, there are two! 

Aaron @ ADLIB: What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the exciting eCommerce agency world?

Come in with an open mind and a desire to learn. There is a huge amount of opportunity when starting your career in this sector, but there is also such a wide expanse of knowledge to get to grips with. It is also fast-paced so be prepared to give your finger on the pulse of new trends. Our advice for those looking to kickstart your career in this exciting and growing industry, you should narrow down what areas interest you the most and start focusing on this area. You can always move sideways further down the line!