Major Release – eCommerce Upgrade

Our new e-commerce site at http://www.valorebooks.com is finally live! First, a huge shout out to the team that worked on it for getting it over the starting line (see what I did right there).

We are quite far along in our agile implementation at this point. Me and my team always think about how to draft the user stories, and break them down into more discreet value.

This project was different.

Launching a huge re-write of existing software, aka, “legacy” added some interesting wrinkles to the process and agile approach. The sheer volume of visitors and the transactions occurring made it a daunting task.

A few things I learned…

1. You still need to define your MVP – Just because you have a ‘big thing’ you are working towards, doesn’t mean you need complete feature parity to launch. Get to the starting line. Be clear about where that starting line is. Only then, begin your race to include the remaining ‘necessary’ features. In our case, things like product reviews, dynamic SEO content, and the search results page were all de-scoped for the MVP. We also omitted some cart functionality like the ability to edit your information in-line further down the checkout funnel.

2. Have a rollback plan ready – You will have to rollback. It’s just the reality. Stop thinking that you won’t. You’re not perfect, neither is your code. We had to rollback a couple of times before we were comfortable with keeping the new experience up permanently.

3. Test if you can – We invested extra time into creating a home-grown way to segment traffic. We started by putting a limited amount of traffic (5%) to the new experience. The analytics we had in place gave us confidence that we were making the right decision, but we didn’t really have an option. There was no going back to a site that was last refreshed a decade prior and had no mobile optimization.

There are more things that I will remember in the future, I’m sure. These three things really stood out, however.

Now, like a bad infomercial, enjoy some of the before/after shots! Can you notice a difference in the placement/appearance of the CTA?!?!


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Old mobile view (iPhone 6)

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New mobile view (iPhone 6)
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