A new design system accelerates thansen's digital experience
Business is at full speed with thansen, Denmark’s largest dealer of car equipment, spare parts and much more. But after many years of growth, the digital customer experience had become fragmented. Now, a new design system once again ensures a consistent user experience and a more scalable business setup for thansen.
Sales of spare parts, accessories and equipment for cars, mopeds and bicycles are booming. Since its founding in 1991, the thansen chain has grown steadily, and today it operates 124 stores across Denmark and Norway. In 2021, turnover was around DKK 1.5 billion (~200 m EUR).
thansen’s digital platform has expanded with the burgeoning business, but with such rapid growth rates, fragmentation was occurring because of the many creative solutions implemented. That’s why the company wanted to create a more streamlined visual design that would create a consistent customer experience.
“We’ve come a long way with our digital platform but came to the realisation that a clean-up and visual boost was needed. The primary aim was to create a better customer experience, but almost as important was the need to make our platform’s operations more manageable for ourselves,” explains Bo Bommersholt Sørensen, CIO at thansen.
thansen, which developed its own commerce platform from scratch, began to experience increasing complexity on the platform’s user interfaces, which became a hindrance for both its digital editors and marketing team.
A structured approach to customer experience
When you have a product range of more than 300,000 items – as is the case for thansen – the digital user experience needs to support a wide range of use cases. From extremely price-sensitive bargain items to high-investment purchases running into thousands of Euros.
In recent years, thansen has also expanded its range to cover new product groups and target audiences. It has shifted from targeting primarily car-owners to also including cyclists, boat owners, campers and families with children.
“Today, our business needs are extremely diverse, and this places great demands on the flexibility of our digital platform – not least on the customer experience. That is why I was very excited when IMPACT proposed a design system as a tool to ensure both structure and flexibility in our experience,” says Bo Bommersholt Sørensen.
This structured approach to design is the key to a more effective design system:
“By thinking and developing design modularly, you ensure quality in the long run. We’ve broken the design down into separate components and individual user interface elements that can be reused across both individual pages and the platform’s many facets. It provides a super solid foundation that thansen can build on for years to come,” explains Daniel Doktor, Design Lead at IMPACT.
CONSISTENCY AND CREATIVITY
The push towards consistency may sound like a creativity and design killer. But that’s a misconception. Customers’ patience today is so short and expectations for convenience so high, that rules and uniformity are needed.
“It is crucial that in a purchase flow you have great recognisability and follow well-known, basic design conventions. Therefore, putting design into a system is almost a prerequisite for being able to deliver a superior customer experience today,” explains Daniel Doktor.
The strategic value of design systems as a tool to deliver better customer experiences is something that makes Rasmus Lawaetz, Client Director on the project, especially pleased with the IMPACT/thansen collaboration:
“thansen is a very digitally mature company and has for many years been a frontrunner on the digital scene. They really understand the value of a systemic approach to creativity. That’s why we’re super-proud that they have come to IMPACT to take their experience to the next level.”
THE BUSINESS CASE OF EXPERIENCE
The starting point for elevating the design experience was thansen’s strong brand. The instantly recognisable colors and fonts were integrated into the design system, which has been expanded with fresh new interactions and motion graphics. cs.
“It’s been greatly encouraging that thansen has regarded the design and customer experience from a larger, more holistic perspective. It not only made the task more fun for the team, but also meant that the effect of our collaboration has had a much greater business impact”, explains Rasmus Lawaetz.
A big benefit of rolling out the new design system is that it improves the day-to-day operation of its digital platforms. Decision-making processes are simpler and sources of errors in the work on the platforms are minimised.
“In the past, we had to be extremely attentive every time we introduced a new element to our site. Now we know that if we follow the instructions of the design system, we will get the quality and experience we want. It saves us time every single day, so I am completely convinced of the positive business case in our collaboration,” concludes Bo Bommersholt Sørensen.