First look at a newer technology: React
“The page was written in .Net, just like our main website”, Paternoster recalls. “We were not dissatisfied with it, but we were looking for a small proof of technology project for the React programming language. We had been looking at React for quite some time, as we’re always evaluating our current technology versus what’s new in the market.” Paternoster thought it seemed like a good idea to use the interactive page to try and integrate React in a .Net environment. That way, the product selection webpage would get a visual update, and the Luminus team would discover the advantages and disadvantages of moving to React.
The decision to call on icapps for help with the project was a quick one. “We had some experience working with icapps in various UX and design related projects”, Paternoster explains, “and we knew they were the guys to call on for web development in React.”
A partner with autonomy
The scope of the project was rather small, which meant icapps enjoyed a great degree of autonomy. “We just asked them to write a product selection page in React that’s better than the .Net page we had at the moment.” Since the old page was starting to look a little bit outdated, the challenge wasn’t that big. However, icapps more than fulfilled the expectations. “We trusted them to deliver, and they did”, a very satisfied Paternoster explains. The icapps team delivered a completely overhauled page which looked fresh and modern in the front end, and worked on React in the back-end. “There was very little need for extensive meetings”, Paternoster says. “We sat together at the beginning of the project, and then we just let them do their job.”
The biggest challenge came after the design of the React page. Implementing the product selection page in our existing .Net website proved challenging. The icapps team and our own website development team worked together to overcome any unforeseen issues. Paternoster: “Since this was a test project, we anticipated that integrating the two technologies wouldn’t be easy. Our team and the team from icapps had to work some difficult issues, but in the end they managed to overcome the challenges quite efficiently. Even more important are the lessons learned: if we decide to go ahead and make our use of React more widespread, this pilot project will insure integration will go much easier.”
An impressive result
After the implementation of the React webpage, EDF Luminus decided to run an A/B test to gauge the reaction of potential customers on the new page versus the old one. The results were staggering: “with the page icapps created for us, the conversion rate has increased with no less than 39 percent.” The e-commerce manager can’t hide his enthusiasm: “with conversion, we don’t just mean people using the tool all the way through to the end, we’re looking at an actual increase in sales.”
At EDF Luminus, the project has left everyone involved more than satisfied. “Our digital director is happy because the project was managed and executed efficiently, while the sales director is ecstatic because of the increased conversion.” Paternoster can’t go into too much detail concerning the return on investment, but it would be an understatement to say the project has paid for itself. “Within just a couple of months, the new webpage has generated more than enough profit to offset the initial investment.”
A taste for more
The immense success of the relatively small pilot project has given EDF Luminus a taste for more. “Our website and applications are a couple of years old. At the moment, we’re still satisfied with them, but technology moves very fast and we want to keep up. Therefore, we’re questioning everything. We’re not only looking at upgrades for the user interface, but also at the technology driving our online presence.”
It’s too early for Paternoster to reveal whether this major overhaul will make use of React, but chances are the successful proof of technology will get a sequel. “And if we were to decide to implement React on a broader scale, we would definitely once again look at icapps as a potential partner”, Paternoster concludes.