The Gill business all started in 1975, when a dinghy sailor, Nick Gill, frustrated by a lack of specialist sailing equipment. To address this directly he decided to design and manufacture his own sailing clothing.

Since then the brand’s trajectory has been phenomenal, with Gill Marine consolidating its position as a technical innovator and bringing to market fair priced products and earning the reputation for transforming waterproof clothing production.

Early contracts included British Airways ground staff, British Olympic Sailing Team, Chessie Racing, Ilbruck, Conrad Humphries, Emirates Team NZ and Louis Vuitton Series, and picking up accolades such as the Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2012.

In 2018, the Gill ecommerce team appointed Williams Commerce as their chosen partner to deliver a complex transition from their current platform (Magento 1EE) to BigCommerce Enterprise across a number of international sites. This involved comprehensive data migration and systems integration across their internal ERP and financial packages.

A marine boat on the open sea

Why BigCommerce?

A great deal of consideration and diligence was given to selecting the future ecommerce foundation for Gill’s international online retail business and BigCommerce was chosen. The BigCommerce Enterprise offering provided a strong fit for the business across integration, site speed, flexible design, optimised SEO, and merchandising. Another key element was a truly affordable total cost of ownership SAAS solution through BigCommerce’s licensed enterprise option. BigCommerce as a SAAS product brings peace of mind for Gill Marine on hosting, upgrades and security.

Since go live, the results have been stunning. Seamless migration of data, an efficient CMS for easy back-office management, smooth integration across multiple systems and an impactful new design that now effectively showcases Gill Marine’s unique range of specialist clothing and innovative product systems have all been realised.

“Working with Williams Commerce and their extensive platform experience gave Gill the flexibility to remain agnostic during discovery and requirements gathering,” said Oliver Cole, Head of Ecommerce at Gill. “It became apparent early on that BigCommerce was the perfect Ecommerce platform for Gill allowing us to build a solid foundation for future growth and not ever have to worry about site stability and upgrades. The ease of integrations, plethora of third party apps and support from both Williams and BigCommerce was extremely impressive. We now have a truly flexible solution that can take advantage of evolving technologies quickly, giving us at Gill the freedom to drive the brand forward.”

Mark Howes, Senior Account Executive, Large Enterprise - BigCommerce

 

“Williams Commerce are a trusted BigCommerce Elite Partner, demonstrating a huge breadth of commercial and technical expertise across all stages of an ecommerce project. Their deep technical experience is utilised across the most complex commerce and integration solutions. Our merchants highly rate the Williams Commerce team to deliver innovative, high quality projects, and their dedicated commitment from start to finish.”

 

AFTER
The Gill Marine BigCommerce website after Williams Commerce's project
BEFORE
The Gill Marine BigCommerce website before Williams Commerce's project

BigCommerce was the perfect Ecommerce platform for Gill...

allowing us to build a solid foundation for future growth and not ever have to worry about site stability and upgrades. The ease of integrations, plethora of third party apps and support from both Williams and BigCommerce was extremely impressive. We now have a truly flexible solution that can take advantage of evolving technologies quickly.

Oliver Cole Head of Ecommerce at Gill
Person using Gill Marine equipment at sea

Comprehensive Integrations

Gill operates across more 30 markets globally and required an ecommerce solution that would allow the business to seamlessly integrate their product catalogue across international markets, offering multi-language, multi-currencies and completely automated across their back-office operations. Part of the BigCommerce web build included the following core function integrations:

  • Data Migration from Magento 1 Enterprise to BigCommerce
  • ERP Protex and Warehouse OMS / WMS integration
  • Full Sage 50 integration with Global E for B2b and B2c
  • Global-E integration opening up multiple countries on a rest of world store
  • Block migration from WordPress to BigCommerce native blog
  • Payment Gateway integrations included Sage Pay, PayPal, Google Pay and Klarna Pay Later

Third-party software integrations included a fantastic suite of market-leading partners including Nosto for personalisation, Feefo for customer reviews and Dot Digital for email marketing.

gill marine_feature 02

UX Workshops and Custom Design

With years of data at our disposal, Gill Marine were able to rely on Williams Commerce’s UX specialists to analyse this information and undertake workshops with the Gill team. This allowed for layers of recommendations to feed into the new UI design, helping the business evolve the user journey and provide a more friction-free user experience.

The strong Gill branding has been placed at the heart of the new design, with powerful block colours that provide the perfect backdrop to best showcase Gill’s cutting-edge product range. Emphasis has been placed on accessibility, with an enhanced search facility and strong fonts, streamlined navigation and icon-driven signposting to key information such as sign-in, global locations, retailer locator and basket.

Key messages throughout the website are delivered in easily scanned, bitesize headlines, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the world of Gill Marine through stunning lifestyle imagery and clever signposting of categories, activities and systems.

The Gill Marine website on a mobile device

Features that make all the difference

A number of opportunities were discussed and agreed for inclusion in Gill’s migration to the BigCommerce platform. These were all chosen for their ability to enhance the user experience and ensure this next evolution of Gill online catered to user needs across multiple international markets.

Features include:

  • Layered navigation for helping customers sort and funnel down to their chosen product selection
  • Global address lookup
  • Optimised product bundles to present customers with complementary products in an easy format
  • Register your product for warranty
  • Dealer locator
  • Job vacancies
  • PDF downloads
  • Kit back functionality
  • Hot spots on the extended product page
  • BigCommerce and Styla integration
  • A page builder content management system
A product page on the Gill Marine website

SEO Migration

As any business may have learnt from bitter experience, investing time and effort into ensuring your many years’ worth of SEO value is handled correctly is hugely important.

Gill took advantage of an optimised SEO package offered via the Williams Commerce Digital Marketing team, from the outset, to ensure due diligence was given to handling redirects and the migration from Magento to their new BigCommerce website.

Careful collaboration during, pre and post go live for the new website ensured a smooth transition for Gill and no disruption to rankings. We highly recommend any online retailer considering a new website build to engage an SEO professional to provide guidance and recommendations for proper handling for technical SEO elements.

Person using Gill Marine equipment at sea

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