Van Schaik eCommerce Store

Southern Africa’s leading academic bookstore chain required a complete website redesign from Realm Digital.

After viewing their website analytics, Van Schaik noticed a migration from desktop to mobile browsing activity. Issues pertaining to the design, responsiveness and user experience, sparked the need for a complete website redesign. 

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The Brief

Realm was asked to redesign the Van Schaik site, ensuring they would remain competitive in a world that has become ‘mobile-first’. The brief included using the existing layout and page elements while making the most of a new tech stack and an adaptive UX to create a mobile-friendly site.

The Solution

The reskinned website was built using PHP Version 7.1. This version is up to 4 times faster than the old PHP 5.6 on small load requests. Realm also recommended moving web servers from Apache to Nginx. Nginx provides considerable speed improvements in the Read/ Write (I/O) sector and can be up to 2.5 times faster than Apache.

We stretched our technical capabilities further by upgrading from Elasticsearch 1.5 to version 6.4. Given that Elasticsearch 1.5 is no longer supported and is relatively slower than the newer versions, the upgrade was necessary.

In addition to this, making use of modern technologies and having a mobile-first approach was our focus. As a result, we used HTML5, CSS3, Webpack, Node, and Bootstrap 4. Extensive testing was then conducted to ensure that none of the site’s existing functionality was lost.

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“Van Schaik is a key player in the South African education space and has always been quick to embrace technology. Realm Digital is incredibly privileged to have been a part of this journey for over 8 years and we look forward to seeing the impact the new site has on making learning resources more accessible to the student market” – Simon Bestbier, Realm CEO

The website redesign has ensured that Van Schaik can remain competitive in a mobile-dominant world. As summarised by Digital Manager, Melvin Kaabwe, “This is in keeping with our continuous strides to be ever-relevant in a world of changing student realities, to continue distributing bona fide educational content that is transforming lives for the better and ‘taking you places’.”

Services Provided

Technologies Used

  • PHP

Client Testimonials

Here’s what the client had to say

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The gradual increase of mobile browsing activity over the last few years required a definitive adjustment of our e-commerce platform to remain competitive in a world that has significantly become ‘mobile-first’. Our response was to take the opportunity presented by our development partners at Realm in making the most of a new tech stack and adaptive UX to create a fresh, fast and efficient mobile friendly nip/tuck of our existing web-site.

Melvin Kaabwe, Digital Manager

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