Faber & Faber’s innovative approach to online publishing means they are engaging directly with readers by offering an experiential alternative to the discounters.

Faber & Faber remains one of the last of the great independent publishing houses in London. Founded in 1929, Faber holds  a unique place in the nation’s literary history. With the great depth of its backlist, featuring books by no fewer than twelve Nobel Laureates and six Booker Prize-winners, a thriving frontlist and ever-growing e-book list and new experiential and digital ventures the company continues to go from strength to strength.

Lewis is a leading Magento agency that specialises in the fashion, lifestyle and luxury markets of online retail.

THE CHALLENGE

Faber & Faber approached Lewis directly with an ambition to reinvent how publishing was represented online. The brief was for a more attractive and engaging digital hub which capitalised on Faber’s rich literary heritage and ensure high retention and conversion (in the face of competing online giants). With access to its historic literary archives, one-off print runs, exclusive author events and offers Faber were looking for more than just a new ecommerce site: they wanted to reward readers who formed a direct relationship with their publishing house.

THE APPROACH

Being fellow bibliophiles, Lewis were passionate about the online proposition Faber were looking to bring to life. As with all projects they spent time trying to understand the commercial and psychological impulses that drive customers to engage with certain brands. They also introduced Wirehive at this early stage as their hosting partner of choice. It was clear from Faber’s ambition that site performance and expert support would be crucial underpinnings to the long term success of the project.

Lewis designed and built the site in-house to feature the artistry of Faber’s renowned and beautiful book-covers. Capitalising on their industry leading knowledge of Magento and UX best practice they also streamlined the shopping journey to make purchase as easy as possible and integrated loyalty and membership schemes to drive brand advocacy.

Agency

Lewis

Client

Faber & Faber

Sector

Publishing

CMS

Magento

Platform

Public Cloud

Optimised for E-commerce

Project Language

PHP

THE SOLUTION

Once Lewis had locked down the creative they turned their attention to providing a slick technical delivery.  On the one hand there were the challenges brought about by the use of interactive content areas on top of the feature-rich Magento stack. However, just as important was the extremely complex integration with Biblio and Onix, the global book database and information exchange. This massive piece of work seamlessly joins Magento to these powerful systems.

Wirehive worked closely with Lewis’s development team to scope out a robust yet resource efficient hosting platform to support this richly varied technical deployment. Having been involved in the project from the early stages they understood the relationship between all the moving parts as well as the overarching vision so could tailor make a solution. Wirehive built Faber a dedicated cloud server optimised for Magento, with a higher than average level of uncontended resource.

Due to the business critical nature of the site, and a lack of hosting expertise internally, Faber took Wirehive’s 24 x 7 managed support SLA. Unlike most other managed hosting companies, Wirehive operates a tierless support model. This means Faber can pick up the phone at any time and get straight through to someone who is not only familiar with but helped set up their solution. It really is like having an in house team without the overheads.

“As a lifelong book lover I was personally delighted to have the opportunity to work with Faber & Faber on their ambitious digital commerce plans. Having a partner like Wirehive to help us deliver some of the technical aspects of this challenging project was crucial to the overall success.”

Paul Lewis Founder, Lewis

Technical

VMWare vCloud Platform

Dell PowerEdge host servers

Storage powered by Nexenta

Juniper router and switch infrastructure

Support Provided

Consultation & Planning

24/7 Support

OS and Application level Monitoring and Alerting

THE OUTCOME

Thanks to Faber’s clear vision for the project, Lewis’ digital retail expertise and Wirehive’s Magento optimised hosting platform the new site was delivered both on time and within budget. Most significantly, turnover has massively exceeded the initial target, proving that online publishing doesn’t just have to be about economies of scale.

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