White Stuff

A sustainable fashion brand saves months of development time and doubles the website speed with Alokai


Digital transformation made simple


site speed


mobile site speed

2x faster


About White Stuff

White Stuff is a fashion retail brand that sells clothes, footwear, and accessories. The company started its journey in 1985 in the UK. Nowadays, the retailer boasts 120 shops across the UK and Germany. White Stuff's style has evolved over the years, but the brand's values have remained consistent. White Stuff is an ethical brand, proudly holding the position of the #1 seller of fair-trade cotton in the UK.

The challenge

White Stuff is a multichannel retailer, so it's no surprise selecting the right channel is paramount for the buyers’ brand experience. A significant proportion of shoppers buy directly from White Stuff's website or their physical stores, but items are also available across the concessions like Marks & Spencer or John Lewis, or through marketplaces. 

Ensuring White Stuff was capable of navigating the multichannel distribution was paramount for the brand's success.

Catching up with the tech

Ensuring an effective presence across multiple digital platforms and a physical store has quickly proven to be problematic with a monolith architecture. White Stuff recognized that digital transformation was crucial to meet their customers’ expectations and break apart from the competition.

Handling data and traffic spikes

Adapting the website to commerce events was another challenge.

Whenever White Stuff was preparing for a trade-related event, such as a product release, they had to invest a significant effort to ensure that all parties were aligned in terms of managing the growing amounts of data and handling traffic spikes. Issues were generally expected to occur.

Introducing modern digital solutions for customers 

Like many traditional multi-channel retailers with physical stores, White Stuff was somewhat behind the curve in terms of its digital capabilities.

3 years ago, the company embarked on a renewed digital transformation journey, with the main goal of providing a top-notch shopping experience, as this is a game-changer for a fashion brand. 

The priorities were clear: White Stuff set out to achieve flexibility and elevate customer experience in quite a short time frame of just six or seven months.

The main challenge occurred when White Stuff faced the complexity of enabling a flexible frontend solution in such a short period of time: 

“We realized that building a custom frontend would be a time-consuming and high-risk endeavor. It became evident that Alokai, with its pre-built integrations, could alleviate us of approximately 80% of the work that custom frontend development typically involves. We viewed this as a significant competitive advantage, enabling us to deliver value more swiftly. Speed to market was a strategic objective, and we realized that headless frontend technology perfectly hit that goal”.

James Brazeley
Enterprise Architect, White Stuff

That’s where Alokai came in. 

Why Alokai?

A reliable industry portfolio

White Stuff needed to be confident that the composable technology had already proven to be efficient in other projects:

“Alokai came pre-integrated into a number of vendors that we were reviewing, which massively accelerated the implementation. But it also gave us assurance because we knew such projects had been done before, it's a road well traveled. It wasn't something we were trying to do as the first pioneer or building bespoke. So it de-risked the program because we knew it's a working viable model”.

James Brazeley
Enterprise Architect, White Stuff

First-class stakeholder alignment

From the start, White Stuff recognized Alokai's advantages and admired how effectively the solution collaborated with partners. However, given the numerous parties involved in the project, White Stuff initially had concerns about alignment and communication challenges that fortunately didn’t materialize. 

“When we embarked on a headless architecture with that many suppliers, there was a slight worry as to how well all those suppliers would pull together. But Alokai has a really good working relationship with BigCommerce and other partners. At some point, there were architectural issues where it was difficult to identify the source of the problem, but there was always a can-do approach to resolve them. It was a great experience working with Alokai on the project”.

Andrew Rodgers
IT Programme Manager, White Stuff

The solution

White Stuff has built a strong network of partners to enable their digital transformation. In less than a year, they:

  • Compiled customer data for a single customer view;

  • Transitioned away from a monolith platform for a better customer experience;

  • Chose BigCommerce as the backend solution;

  • Embraced a headless approach for agility;

  • Selected Constructor and Amplience for search and CMS.


Faster engine for a familiar UI

White Stuff didn't want its loyal customer base to see drastic changes to their shopping experience overnight. To meet their customers' expectations, White Stuff chose not to redesign the website. Instead, they introduced an almost identical frontend virtually indistinguishable from the previous one, with the only noticeable change being choosing a single-page checkout system over a multi-page one. 

Since the design remained largely unchanged, it became evident that the upgraded tech stack was responsible for the improvements in site speed and conversions.

With Alokai, White Stuff was able to A/B test the old and new websites. They simultaneously launched both website variants and were able to compare their performance.

“Never before have I been able to do an efficient A/B test between an old website platform and  new web platform.  In parallel running we could see that the fast performing site was driving a much better experience and significantly improved conversion”.

Steve Borg
IT and Transformation Director, White Stuff

Seamless composable transformation

In the end, White Stuff successfully executed the composable transformation project without causing stress for their internal team.

The team had ample time to acclimate to the new tools, receive appropriate training, and observe the positive impact that the new tech stack had on the business. 

Right from the outset, the team was proficient in using the tools, so when the launch day arrived, the entire company was fully prepared and operational. Consequently, the launch of the new website had no adverse effects on the trading calendar and did not disrupt the planned business processes.

“Having a frontend and a fully working site that the entire company could use meant that we could hit the ground running as well. Being able to get to the end of sprints and see the visible output of Apply Digital’s work gave us great confidence in the architecture and the readiness of the team from day one. It gave us confidence because we knew such projects had been done before. So it de-risked the program because we knew it's a working viable model. We saw that things were going right from the start.”

James Brazeley
Enterprise Architect, White Stuff

The results

  • +85% site speed

  • +100% mobile site speed

  • time-to-market slashed by several months

  • UX and marketing experiments realized within minutes, not days

“Before, we were spending all of our time on big backend projects that consumed nearly all of our time and effort. For example, just to upgrade our payments functionality   took half the year. Alokai played a big role in allowing us to deliver the project so quickly. We saved several months  of development time versus the alternatives .”

Steve Borg
IT and Transformation Director, White Stuff

New-found agility

With the adoption of composable technology, White Stuff has successfully redirected their attention towards long-term goals, moving away from ad hoc, tactical tasks.

In the past, updating the homepage could demand the efforts of a couple of White Stuff team members for the entire week. Today, such an update can be accomplished in as little as 20 minutes. With this newfound efficiency, the retailer can rapidly conduct tests and experiments that enhance their understanding of their customers.

“In the past, we had to be very selective about priorities because it was very labor-consuming to modify the site, and it took up to four weeks to undo an experiment. Now we can run sample A/B tests with little or no development and quickly see customers’ responses. If an experiment doesn't work out well, we can instantly move forward with another option”.

James Brazeley
Enterprise Architect, White Stuff

Simplified prioritization

Furthermore, following the go-live, White Stuff has been able to expedite enhancements and prioritize the development of features they aimed to improve.

“With the old tech stack, it would take two years of development to roll out certain features. Now, we can deliver them in less than three months. That's exactly the agility that we hoped for”.

Ross Loughlin
Head of eCommerce, White Stuff

Improved SEO

Another crucial metric for White Stuff was SEO performance, which often presents a challenge in digital transformation projects, as alterations to the website can negatively affect its ranking in search engines. By utilizing Alokai as the Frontend-as-a-Service solution, White Stuff has observed a positive impact on its SEO performance. 

Additionally, White Stuff achieved a noteworthy improvement in both desktop and mobile site speed.

“From a performance perspective, our new site is 85% quicker than the previous site and more than 100% faster on mobile. Alokai has enabled us to provide a better customer experience. In turn, higher speed and better performance have driven a significant conversion improvement. We now have a very impressive, state-of-the-art ecommerce platform”.

Steve Borg
IT and Transformation Director, White Stuff

Future outlook

White Stuff recognizes the importance of conveying their brand story and establishing connections with customers at every touchpoint. Their digital transformation aims to effectively present the brand and set it apart in a market flooded with numerous similar fashion websites.

White Stuff firmly believes that it can all be possible with the delivery of exceptional, personalized customer experiences that align with a customer's journey, demographics, and shopping preferences.

The brand is also exploring the possibility of incorporating size and fit capabilities into the customer journey to further enhance their offer.


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