Absolute Review of the Year 2017

| Posted by Shaun.Wheatcroft

2017 was our 24th year of trading and it was certainly one of the most eventful.

Our ongoing transformation from a general website provider to a Magento specialist agency continued, with Magento representing well over 50% of our £1m turnover. We have 85% of the development team Magento Certified, with more planned at the end of the year

Our ‘Special Apps’ projects team expanded its bespoke laravel development for business wide applications, with additional work for QuestMark and Brompton Bike Hire. These projects significantly add to our knowledge base and expertise, involving cutting-edge development.

Branding and Design for Print also had a great year, working closely with a select number of fashion and lifestyle enterprise clients to support their print based marcomms. We were also commissioned to conduct a brand audit, new website design and user experience study for legendary lifestyle brand Fired Earth

January will see the launch of our new website, which reflects these three core services; clients often find it reassuring that we offer a full service in-house, with a strict policy of no outsourcing.

This year, we also completed a £100,000 refurbishment of our Nottingham HQ, ensuring our physical presence keeps pace with our online footprint. We commissioned a short video to give an insight into what goes on in Haddon House.

Magento 

This year we continued our ongoing Magento certification, reaching seven certified developers, with two more to follow before the end of the year. We’re planning to start 2018 with nine Magento certifications in our team!

Magneto themselves continued to improve their platform, with a number of Magento 2 releases becoming available, plus a $250 investment that secured its future development.

We built lots more Magento 2 websites in 2017, including new websites for Emily Plus and Again Faster, Alan Paine, Straightset, Atomic Interiors and the launch of an exciting national homeware brand.

We were shortlisted for three 2017 national awards for our work on the GiftPup Magento site and we’re proud to compete in the same category as Eurostar and Virgin Money.

We also have two B2B sites launching in 2017 and we are seeing an increasing demand in this area as traditional distribution channels become more challenging for ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers.

In October we launched our largest ever Magento build, which integrates comprehensively with our client’s bespoke ERP system. The site comprises of a thriving social community, with a shop catalogue of over 20,000 products and 100,000 member artworks.

Following the launch of our Magento ‘Support’ package in 2017, we now maintain over 25 sites on a regular basis. A growing number of Magento store owners are moving their support to Absolute, benefitting from our expertise, higher service levels, and reliability.

Dec 2018 will see the end of official security support for PHP 5.6, which is the underlying programming language that Magento 1 runs on. We anticipate this will lead to huge demand for migration to Magento 2 (which requires the faster PHP7) throughout 2018 and / or upgrading of M1 sites to run on PHP7. We continue to expand our team and certify more developers to service ahead of this growing demand.

To help identify client requirements, we have provided a comprehensive audit service to help potential customers understand their requirements. You can find out more about that here.

Special Apps

We have continued to work on ‘Specialist Apps’, building custom Laravel based APIs including integrations with a number of third parties such as Google, Microsoft and Zendesk. Working with emerging technologies including Angular2 and TypeScript has allowed us to develop and deploy robust and fast apps to a range of platforms including iOS and Android. This gives our clients a single codebase for development reducing the overheads that traditionally come with developing in a different language for each platform.

2017 saw a refactoring of the Brompton Bike Hire website and App. This included enhanced security, bike maintenance and reporting features.

We continued to work with Questmark building future features for their Meeting platform and launched an App for Nottingham University.

Nottingham University’s Dermatology research department approached us with the idea of developing an app to provide an interactive representation of their current paper based Patient Oriented Eczema Measure (POEM) questionnaire.

The user-friendly application helps patients track their Eczema symptoms using an interactive app that can be shared across the UK's healthcare network.

Concrete 5 

We’ve launched eight Concrete5 sites in 2017 and continue to offer this CMS as a low cost but secure alternative to WordPress. Concrete5 features in-line editing on page and gives clients the ability to add and delete their own pages as well as manage their entire content through the user-friendly and secure interface.

We also became a Concrete5 official partner in 2017, which means the creators of the Concrete5 system have approved our standards of practice and actively promote our services to prospective site owners looking for support.

Branding & Print

It’s been a wide and varied year for our design studio, supporting both old clients and new. Press advertising, point of sale collateral and a sales App have been developed for Arena, the commercial arm of Hillarys Blinds. We’ve been continuing to help ROMO fabrics to ensure accurate colour reproduction through the print process, with further investment in state-of-the-art FOGRA 51 colour proofing facilities to support this specialist service.

It's always great to welcome new clients ‘on board’; earlier in the year Again Faster, a sports equipment manufacturer and retailer, with a reach across Europe, the Middle East and North America, asked us to help rebrand their proposition which is being rolled out across all of their product branding, promotional literature and a Magento 2 website of course!

More recently, we’ve been helping MeetPoint, a midlands based conferencing venue, to name and brand their proposition, as well as continuing to service our long-standing core clients such as Total Computers, who have doubled their turnover in the last three years to £65m.

That’s it for 2017, roll on 2018!

If you’re interested in working with us, please get in touch.

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