As part of the Bonnier Media Deutschland group, Carlsen Verlag is one of the leading publishers of children's and young adults' books in Germany. Bestsellers such as Pixi, Harry Potter and the Twilight series are all gathered together under the roof of the Hamburg-based publishing house.
SIRUP has been its digital lead agency since 2011, having implemented its extensive website, including the online shop. Since then, SIRUP has supported the publishing house in the constant development and marketing of the website, the mobile version and all associated (community) microsites. Recently, SIRUP developed a complete redesign of the Carlsen website.
In addition to the ongoing further development of the publisher's digital data strategy, SIRUP also provides strategic planning, conception and creation, as well as the complete technical implementation of all projects in cooperation with Carlsen.
Ready for the future with user-centered design and sustainable UX strategy
Carlsen.de is displayed in a performant flat design, meaning book buyers are guided directly to the right product by a clear and minimalized user interface. Particular attention is paid to the product's presentation: large-scale staging of the books immediately and emotionally conveys the most important purchasing criteria (book cover, price, purchase button). The user interface provides additional information and options, such as the title, author and format in a context-sensitive manner, i.e. only on mouseover of the "right" areas, thus shortening the route to final purchase. The flat design is broken up playfully with haptic elements such as a paper texture and brushstrokes.
The use of sliders for books and product categories on the homepage impressively conveys the publisher's product diversity and lays the foundation for effective cross-selling. Customers use the search function to quickly narrow down their interests, thereby offering them access to an efficient shopping guidance system.
With the redesign, SIRUP has implemented an innovative customer journey concept that remains expandable for the future – based on market trends, customer behavior and the associated changes in the dynamic e-commerce market. These user-oriented design processes already focus on the customer during the development process, thereby creating a positive user experience for the purchasing process, boosting the brand image and approximating a real shopping experience. Accompanying A/B testing places further focus on the customer's needs, while also increasing the conversion rate.
Buying books on the go
A separate version of the publisher's website was designed for mobile devices. Short navigation paths optimized for touchscreens and a coherent design concept are key factors for a positive user experience in mobile commerce.
Individual topic areas, such as the comic book section, are accessed by mobile buyers via large, convenient buttons and help cluster the broad product range. The strict color coding of the themes facilitates navigation.
The right concept for the system landscapes of publishers
The publisher's online shop caters to the sale of physical and digital products, such as apps and e-books. The technical foundation is the open source shop system Magento which, in Carlsen's case, is connected to the KNO (Koch, Neff & Oetinger) accounting and goods delivery system via an interface.
The system architecture underpinning it is implemented throughout the publishing house and ensures the distribution of products across all connected websites. The entire system – comprising the website, microsites (e.g. Conni.de), CMS, Pondus publishing software, Elvis asset management, the connected user database, a comprehensive marketing database and a newsletter system – is interconnected, with optimum usability as the benchmark.
The implementation of a message broker based on RabbitMQ ensures efficient communication within a partially heterogeneous system. Product information is merged with the associated assets (image, video, etc.) via a comprehensive document management system, and intelligent product teasers are generated dynamically using complex search queries.
With this simultaneously complex and dynamic infrastructure, Carlsen and SIRUP are setting new standards in German publishing IT. The shop solution with the linked user database is now also successfully in operation with other publishers of the Bonnier group – Piper Verlag, Berlin Verlag, Ullstein, Hörbuch Hamburg, ArsEdition and Thienemann-Esslinger.
Interpreting and activating data correctly
To facilitate comprehensive evaluation, SIRUP is developing a tracking system specifically for Carlsen's heterogeneous website structure using Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics. This allows for complex data views with multiple dimensions to be mapped easily and interpreted correctly. We have created an informative tracking solution and appropriate segmentation systems for individual aims and marketing campaigns. The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be defined immediately. A connection to Google Adwords allows Carlsen employees to identify and establish the success of advertising campaigns. The implemented Google Shopping Feed generates additional revenue for the publisher.
Consumer-driven digital strategy
Thanks to the insights we have gained from this, we are able to constantly enhance the publisher's online strategy together with Carlsen. In the future, Carlsen and SIRUP plan to advance the mobilization of hidden stores of data, so as to sustainably and flexibly expand the publisher's digital strategy based on this knowledge.