Let’s meet Vitamins Direct
Vitamins Direct is a leading supplier of health and wellness products, such as functional foods, sports nutrition, multivitamins, high-dose therapeutic vitamins, herbal remedies and many more.
Founded in 1994 and with over 26 years of experience, they are experts in the benefits of healthy living.
The company specializes in delivering premium products supporting heart health and weight reduction, helping customers stay fit and abled as long as possible. Vitamins Direct’s offer covers over 100,000 products. All of them are available in the company's online store, which we helped to optimize and improve.
What the client wanted to achieve
The previous year saw a huge increase in customer interest in online shopping, due to, among other things, restrictions on traditional trade caused by the pandemic. At this time, many business owners decided to adjust their online stores even more to customer requirements and improve their operation.
One of them was Vitamins Direct, which approached us in April 2020 to discuss their options in terms of optimizing their existing online store, based on Shopify.
Their main goal was to automate processes, such as adding products, updating inventory and comparing prices with competitors. Previously, this had all been performed manually, which cost them a lot of time and resources.
The purpose of these changes was to become more competitive, get more traffic from Google Shopping, attract new customers and gain more conversions.
What we had to face
Our first step was a detailed analysis of the documentation provided by the client. When we read it, we knew that there were numerous areas that could be improved.
Knowing that it would be a complex project, we started with detailed planning and task assignment. Later, we moved on to choosing the technology stack.
The main challenge was the aforementioned complexity. Apart from developing the main application, we had to perform several smaller but equally important optimization tasks simultaneously.
Thanks to the involvement of skilled developers and experienced project managers, we were able to carry out one task after another.
How we chose the stack and strategy
There were no specific guidelines in terms of technology, so we could choose the stack based on our knowledge and experience. We simply knew that it had to be future-proof.
Our team decided to work with React.js (currently the most popular framework in the world) and TypeScript, the latter in the form of Next.js combined with styled-components, to make sure that the frontend is highly performant.
We were also responsible for prototyping and graphic design. Remembering that the app has to be first and foremost functional, our UX designer chose Material Design – an adaptable design system highly suited for mobile platforms. This paid off through significantly shortened prototyping and designing times.
To complete the stack, let say something about the backend solutions we chose. Fastify is currently the fastest and lightest framework on the market, and it’s developing dynamically. Sequelize is a promise-based Node.js ORM for Postgres (a relational database that we used) that also works well with TypeScript.
We could not call this application future-proof if we did not decide on a serverless solution, more specifically Google Cloud.
Naturaily experts involved in the project
What we accomplished
Although it’s an ongoing project, we have already created multiple solutions, such as Product Feed SyncApp, which is responsible for:
- handling orders
- automatically synchronizing inventory and product descriptions, photos and tags
- adjusting product prices based on competition data
We created VD Portal – a special admin panel to manage all of the aforementioned applications. With VD Portal, the client can easily check the latest updates, the type and number of orders that have been made by customers, and add the lists of products/keywords that have to be removed from the online store or Google Merchant Center.
Thanks to the solutions created, many important tasks are now performed automatically, which saves both time and money while also reducing the number of errors caused by the human factor.
Now the Vitamins Direct team can manage the online store more effectively, which results in higher revenue and an increase in the number of customers attracted directly from Google Shopping – which was one of the main goals.