Thank you!

Newsletter sign up successfully

How to move fast — without damaging Alterna's online presence

Alterna | Web Development

Speed. It’s essential to businesses - but how fast can we really go without sacrificing the brand? When it comes to websites, perhaps 40% completion is the sweet-spot.

A good reason to pivot

Alterna is a premium hair care brand in the USA which uses no harsh ingredients or additives. They have seen considerable success since 1997, and thanks to the beauty of ready-to-go e-commerce templates like Shopify, they were able to sell their products online fairly efficiently.

However, over the years they had built strong relationships with professional hair stylists who chose to use Alterna products for their salons; and Alterna’s e-commerce store was starting to inadvertently provide to be competition.

Strategically, it made sense for Alterna to double-down on the stylist market who acted as powerful distributors and ambassadors for their products. Unfortunately, their existing Shopify site made it difficult to do anything but do what it does best - continue to sell online. That’s when Alterna approached Skyrocket to help - how could they pivot their brand online to appeal to consumers without the e-commerce component?

Alterna Header

The 40% launch

We knew from the start that the new web experience would be brand-heavy. This meant lots of beautiful, custom design work and lots of space for compelling content. The idea for the new website was an editorial style home for users to understand and desire the premium appeal of Alterna products, which would see more stylists opting to stock them and more consumers demanding them from stylists. That said, we didn’t want to put all of our eggs in one basket - we wanted to retain the option of e-commerce in the future. So, we chose a platform which was able to produce custom designs with easy content entry and e-commerce capability; and that platform was Craft. Speed was important to making the pivot and we needed to get something up and running - fast. Our design team put their heads together and came up with a phased plan which would see the most important pages built first, using the most common design components (or “design blocks”). Within 6 weeks, we were able to launch a site which looked finished but was only 40% complete in reality. That might sound like a shortcut, but it’s actually practicing agile product development the way it’s supposed to - launch, learn, iterate, and optimize. The users don’t know the site is 40% finished, only we do.

The value of speed

First of all, Alterna was happy that we were able to move quickly. The nature of business is that most things are needed yesterday, so the sooner we can act the sooner the client and their stakeholders can feel positive progress. More importantly - we’re able to start moving towards growth objectives faster. Users can utilize the value of the new product, rather than having to wait for project completion to begin reaping the rewards. Finally, early analytics and reports can advise the next phase of the project - for example, we found through Google Analytics and Hotjar tracking that many users were clicking on the homepage banner (which would take them nowhere) rather than the button, so we changed the whole banner to be clickable and made sure our next pages employed the same tactic.

Therefore, if planned for properly - 40% could be the new 80% when it comes to website launches. If you want to explore your own 40% with us, let us know - we’re always on our toes and ready to launch.

More Projects