Lavish shoestring revolutionized the antiques market in the United Kingdom. The antiques market being inherently offline, they envisioned a platform which makes selling antiques scalable, digital, and, most importantly, fun for the user. Vasterra has been hired to design and implement a sophisticated platform enabling Lavish shoestring to scale their business rapidly.
The people behind Lavish Shoestring have always enjoyed visiting flea markets across the United Kingdom. Following their motto “to live a lavish lifestyle on a shoestring budget”, they sought to find extraordinary pieces. However, travelling back and forth is not convenient – which is how the idea of Lavish Shoestring was born. The vision was not only to offer users to scroll through thousands of products within the convenience of their home but also to support small antiques dealers in scaling their business and remain profitable.
All antiques are one-off pieces, which means that each plate, teacup, and fork requires a unique picture to be taken as well as a unique description to be added. For Lavish Shoestring to be able to scale, these cumbersome steps required a high degree of automation. Vasterra wrote code to automatically detect the product shown in a picture, recognize the characteristics and, eventually, classify as well as describe the product. This piece of code decreased the overhead cost structure by more than 18% and contributed to a sustainable scaling-up of the platform.
Vasterra understands the importance of an exceptional user experience. Especially in ecommerce, a well-thought-out user journey creates added value beyond predictability. Analysing the competition of Lavish Shoestring, we recognized that the standard design for antiques web shops is a plain white design. We knew that Lavish Shoestring is more than that. It stands for an eclectic, bohemian, colourful way of life. Therefore, we anticipated a platform design beyond the white and established a colour scheme for the system to automatically decide what products are shown on what background colour. The result is a colourful, engaging website full of impressions and emotions.
Dealing with antiques is a difficult business, especially determining the pricing of each and every product. It requires a fair amount of experience to successfully differentiate between old tableware and the hidden treasure many collectors are searching for. Lavish Shoestring envisioned to solve this problem and support antique dealers by setting the right price for their products seamlessly. Vasterra implemented a machine learning algorithm onto the platform which evaluates all given characteristics of the product as well as the sales history of the platform to determine the most profitable price given these circumstances. Our final tool allows all antique dealers to base pricing on facts rather than intuition.
Lavish Shoestring recognized that selling only through their own platform is not the most profitable decision. Therefore, they started selling the antiques on various online platforms such as Amazon and Etsy. Vasterra was asked to improve the ranking of their products on these online marketplaces to foster their sales.
Analysing the sales history, Vasterra created A/B testing possibilities between products. More specifically, we changed description, picture and price across similar products and compared the impact these changes had on the sales success as well as the ranking position. Lavish had hundreds of products available at this stage and manual A/B testing was not feasible. We, therefore, built upon our image detection and description generating algorithm and automated the creation of keyword sets for each product to be used on these marketplaces. Through this, we were able to fully automate the hypotheses testing and choose without delay the single most effective keywords, description, and images to rank the product as high as possible.
Vasterra built a new user experience from scratch. Further, we implemented a mobile application and an intuitive web interface to encourage antique dealers to participate on the platform with ease. Besides the general UI/UX work, Vasterra implemented an advanced machine learning algorithm which enables Lavish Shoestring to automate a significant number of repetitive tasks as well as to take advantage of the vast amount of data generated. Our automation demonstrates that we understand our client’s business and go above and beyond to work towards their respective vision and mission.
Vasterra increased the average purchase amount per order by 83% in just under six months and increased the customer lifetime value by more than 147% within 12 months. Our design decisions and system architecture enabled us to deliver a user experience which captivates the users and turns them into profitable customers. And the best thing is – Amazon approached Lavish Shoestring when they wanted to grow their own antiques section.
We here at Vasterra insist on personally getting to know each of our clients we work with. By understanding the very specific business challenges and their current environment, we are able to address issues that may arise in the future and to build solutions that are made to last. User-centricity is as important for us as it is for you. Let us prove that to you.