Digital360 revamped the Ace Karts website, transforming it from a series of poorly-structured webpages into an integrated racing portal.
Ace Karts is an outdoor racing operator established in Melbourne in 1994. Since those early days, Ace Karts has become the home of racing enthusiasts from all walks of life – including famous sports stars, F1 racers and Olympians.
It was clear the old Ace Karts website had plenty of usability and functionality issues. In particular, mobile experience, page-load speeds (up to 30 seconds) and eCommerce were user pain-points. This was evident in the eCommerce abandonment rate, with customers instead choosing to book via phone – an inefficient process for the Ace Karts team.
But our client wanted more than just a simple website with an improved checkout system. While go-karting is not a new form of entertainment, digital technology presented a unique opportunity to transform the kart racing experience. The Ace Karts team was already experimenting with digital marketing, sending out regular discounts, offers and news via email and social channels.
Ultimately, the client’s vision was to go beyond creating a standard website. The new website needed to become the centre of the business – from building a community, managing bookings and generating revenue. So our team set out to create a racing experience centred around an online racing portal.
- Confusing product comparisons – The client had structured their race packages to include a of range options. However, the differences between options were unclear, and new users found it hard to select a package that suited their needs.
- Poor online booking experience – The shopping cart experience was poor. Slow speeds and a frustrating mobile experience contributed to a high abandonment rate in the checkout funnel. Products, such as gift cards, could not be purchased at all.
- Third-party API integration – The client uses a software system that integrates their internal CRM, booking and racetrack data. Our team needed to work closely with the US-based software provider to integrate their system into the new site.
Why SilverStripe was the best solution
We reviewed our development options when assessing the challenges of this build. Ultimately, SilverStripe was chosen because of its strong development framework and customisable CMS platform.
Back end: integration and development flexibility
Third-party software integration was a key part of this build. The client’s vision could not have been realised without the framework’s flexibility, especially when working with APIs and developing custom modules. The speed of the project was also helped along thanks to SilverStripe's simple yet powerful data-modelling.
Front end: a scalable layout system
While the traditional approach to building page layouts usually includes creating a library of custom templates, we approached the front-end development in a more modular way. Using SilverStripe, we created a custom library of ‘strips’ in the CMS – layout components that could be reused across the Ace Karts project. A similar approach can be seen in the ‘SilverStripe blocks’ Git repository.
Website feature highlights
- Real time race results – When it comes to racing, it’s all about lap times. So we made it a central part of the experience. Racers’ times are tracked using kart hardware and then uploaded and published on a leader board.
- Competition racing portal – This is a central place for all the serious racers. The portal includes team and driver ladders and upcoming competition races. Race ‘recaps’ are then logged in the content marketing hub, ‘Race HQ’.
- Karts showcase – The Ace Karts vehicles are not regular go-karts. They’re real racing machines. So we wanted to show them off properly. We modelled the ‘karts’ pages on performance car websites, with high-resolution images, sporty features and 360-degree view of the machine in all its glory.
- Interactive racetrack content – The outdoor racetrack is a key feature of the Ace Karts experience. By showcasing it on the website with a unique ‘heads-up’ tutorial video and interactive map, we could offer tips to both newbie racers and seasoned veterans.
- Racing-package quiz – We created a simple quiz to help first-time users choose the right racing package. It features as a final call-to-action for users who scroll to the end of key pages – such as the home page, where up to 90 per cent of site traffic begins.
Results (first month)
- Better mobile experience – All pages are now mobile responsive and take only seconds to load page content.
- Increased user engagement – Users are spending 40% more time on page.
- Reduced complexity – The checkout process has been reduced from up to five pages to two pages.
- Improved usability – It takes 10% less time for customers to check out online.
For more information about the Ace Karts website and our lessons in SilverStripe, contact Digital360.
- 15 July 2016