KMI’s New Online Store is Open For Business

KMI launched their first online store back in 1999. At the time I was working at Ambleglow and I bodged the design and pages together using a rudimentary knowledge of HTML and my trusty copy of GoLive’s Cyber Studio 3 (one of the first WYSIWYG website authoring programs). It took me about three months of working every evening and I relied upon Olly Stephens (who is married to Anneke, the sister of one of KMI’s major shareholders which is why he was approached to help us), who was also working in the evenings, to take my mess of code, ideas and graphics and turn it into a fully functioning online secure store and website.


Although 1999 is not that long ago, they were relatively pioneering days in terms of the internet. Online shopping then was a bit ‘random’ to say the least. My favourite example that Olly pointed out to me was Vauxhall’s website where it seemed perfectly possible to order half a car – if you entered 0.5 in the quantity box the total came up with half the price – though I was too chicken to ever enter my credit card details it would have been interesting to see what would have been delivered… And Vauxhall weren’t the only offenders (though arguably they were the funniest), the 0.5 trick worked on clothing sites, other grooming sites etc.

Time for a major change…
Although the has been updated ‘under the hood’ several times by Anneke and Olly, and I constantly tweaked the graphics (often at Will King’s request), and Nicky Springle (who manages the store and customer care) added more products and brands, the site has been looking and feeling it’s age. In 2007, after some recommendations made by Steve Bowbrick (an internet consultant who spent some time here at KMI after blogging about King of Shaves) we started working with some e-commerce experts based in Edgware, London called Paraspar.

For the last five months they have been building us a brand new online shopping platform which Nicky has been populating with products (along with descriptions, ingredients, usage and so forth) whilst I have been preparing images of products plus store graphics, header images and promotional boxes in a distinctive, colourful style and inviting style.

What’s in a name…
We have discussed (and argued about) the name for the new store and finally decided upon as the store not only sells our best known brands such as King of Shaves, Ted Baker Fine Fragrances and Fish Hair Styling, it also sells new and fast-growing ranges such as Patently Obvious, Angelfish and KOS Professional. Though if you can think of a snappier name, feel free to leave us a comment and if we use it we’ll give you a year’s supply of products!

So after several weeks on internal and then external testing, was formally launched last week with a mini email campaign to our database (more on the campaign in a future blog) and so far orders are up by around 300%.


Without you it would not have been possible…
I must end this post with thanking Anneke and Olly for many years of fantastic service, unparalleled technical knowledge, advice and know-how. Without them most of KMI’s websites simply would have never existed and our online store certainly would not have survived for as long as it did.