Crucial Trading


Website Design
Website Development
UX/UI Design
Design System
Native app development
Augmented Reality
3D Design


Home & Luxury




Headlam Plc & Crucial Trading

AR App & 3D Product Builder for Worldwide Floor Covering Brand

1. The challenge

Ecommerce has completely transformed the way people buy things but the majority of online purchases are simple transactions. The bespoke market, on the other hand, specialises in unique creations that require input and investment from the buyer before the sale is made. This form of retail is not suited to picking and buying things from a screen. Buyers want to see a tangible product, or at least an accurate sample, before they will take the risk. The main challenge with Crucial Trading was the level of customisation they offered for every product. Their products were almost too bespoke to be sold via digital channels. We needed to bridge the gap between the experience they offered in-store and the experience visitors would have on their website. 

To begin we researched Crucial Trading and what made them special as a brand. Before we could make any decisions we needed to understand and appreciate the issues they were facing. By placing ourselves in their position we could observe the market and their competitors and get a good idea of what was working with their target audience.  After a systematised process, including competitor research and data analysis, we found three main issues that were causing them to lose out on online sales.

Low conversion rate of visitors ordering samples

Samples are the bread and butter of bespoke offerings online. They give the potential customer something to touch and feel before making a buying decision. Crucial Trading had a lot of visitors but a very low amount of samples being ordered. This suggested an issue with their sales funnel.

Poor interaction with website features

The original website, though not without its issues, had several innovative ways to engage and inform buyers. The most powerful feature was a 3D rug builder, which gave potential customers the chance to build their own floor coverings. Despite the innovative nature of such a feature, the analytics did not lie: the rug builder was not pulling its weight with regard to sales.

Flawed user experience

These two issues, while serious, were not the core problem that plagued the site.The main issue was more intangible: website visitors were just not interested enough to either order a sample or buy a product. The UX of the site didn’t do a good enough job of bringing the products to life, which consequently caused a drop off of engagement before any sales could be made.

Visualising online purchases in your home is difficult – especially when the item is made to order. Inspire by Crucial Trading combines web technology, 3D design with Augmented Reality – allowing you to create a beautiful bespoke rug in 3D and then place it onto any floor.
Jordan Thompson
Creative Director

2. Why these challenges were limiting sales

Low conversion rate of visitors ordering samples

Bespoke and luxury companies offer samples as a way to make their products feel real. It can be difficult to really imagine something through a screen. When a potential buyer can receive a small part of a finished product for very little time or money investment it gets them comfortable with both the brand and the product in question. For Crucial Trading, offering their audience a tactile, tangible experience with their high quality products was crucial to their success. We knew that if we could increase the rate of samples going out the volume of sales would increase as well.

Poor interaction with website features

Initially we were puzzled at the low level of conversions that the 3D rug builder managed to create. It was an innovative feature so why didn’t it work in increasing sales? Digging into the analytics of the site we found that the rugs were one of Crucial Trading’s biggest markets. Rugs were also, more often than not, the first exposure that customers had to their range of products. If we could find a way to position the 3D rug builder that would increase sample conversions we knew we could create a fast uptick in sales.

Flawed user experience

Selling bespoke luxury items via digital channels has always been a challenge, due in part to the impersonal nature of the internet and computers in general. Having a poor user experience and an uninspiring customer journey only highlighted further the work we would have to do to transform this website into a conversion machine. Seeing clearly the challenges we had to face gave us enough information to begin strategizing and forming a solution.

3. How did we identify the key issues?

Client Workshops

We held numerous meetings and interviews with key members of Crucial Trading before starting any work. Because we had the best interests of the client at heart we were able to open up clear and transparent lines of communication, unearthing pain points and historical challenges that had caused problems for years. Consequently, we gained a well-rounded, accurate view of their business and market in general and felt we had a good foundation from which we could begin to solve their problems.
We used a simple, powerful process to identify the key drivers and issues that were felt internally at Crucial Trading. During the meetings we asked decision makers to write down the ten most important things they felt would have a positive effect on their business going forward. With this data collected we could find common issues and construct a clear list of actions that we could begin to act on right away. We then narrowed the list of ten to three, giving us a laser-focused starting point and measurable KPIs with which we could measure our performance.

User Metrics & Testing

Once we had a good grasp of client requirements we turned our attention to the hard data. There were clearly big issues underneath the surface and by looking at the numbers we could gain a wide understanding of how and why customers were interacting with the website as they were. To begin with we focused exclusively on key web pages and the user engagement with posted content. We needed to know what was working and what wasn’t before making any big decisions.
Opinion might be valuable but data is gold dust. By leveraging numerous analytics tools and data technologies we observed hundreds of authentic user sessions. This gave us a firsthand view of why the website wasn’t working and why customers were dropping off before making a purchase.

4. Research & Discovery

After collecting firsthand data from hundreds of website visitors we studied other critical aspects of digital performance, including:

How was the website performing?

We analysed and scraped data from every page on the website, giving us a deep knowledge of its user base and identifying key areas where performance could be improved. We found that the site architecture and navigation was a huge problem: finding important information was often difficult, which was in effect killing the sale before it even began. In addition, the slider of “collections’ on the homepage was receiving little to no engagement, suggesting that the imagery or the feature itself was not important to the audience.

The User Journey

Once we had an overall view on web performance we looked closely at the user journey. We found that there were 4 clicks on average between the homepage and the product page and that the product page carried no CTA for visitors to purchase. Not only was this too many clicks it provided a confusing user experience that was harming potential sales. It did, however, suggest why the features on the homepage were not converting. Customers simply didn’t know how to buy.

Drop offs and exits

There were clear drop off points on the website where customers fell away and failed to purchase. We focused on the main areas that were responsible for 80% of lost sales. This included the homepage, which carried a bounce rate of 75%. There was also a ‘start’ page before the rug builder loaded that was causing a large amount of visitors to leave the site. Finally, we found that the contact page actually performed well, suggesting that visitors were getting frustrated with the website and were looking for other ways to contact the business. We now had the big picture – great product, bad website. We knew what we had to do.

5. Strategy

Now that we had a clearly defined set of issues to solve, as well as agreed KPIs, we felt we were in a good position to start generating ideas. The strategy we created mapped to our KPIs exactly and gave us a clear goal to achieve.

Hierarchy and navigation

We mentioned previously that there were 4 clicks between homepage and product page. This was causing a huge drop off and indicated a problem that, if solved, would cause a huge difference to the performance of the website. We knew 4 clicks was too many – nowadays customers demand a short, ‘Amazon-like’ customer journey. As a result we planned a complete rehaul of the site navigation, prioritising direct access to key pages that showcased products and materials. In order to achieve our goal we decided to create an entirely new menu that would allow complete access to categories straight from the main nav.
Previous Flow
New Flow

Homepage Layout & Design

After careful analysis we decided that the homepage design was the source of many of the site issues. Many of its features looked like afterthoughts and didn’t really represent the brand as it was positioned in the market. The slider, in particular, was showcasing unpopular product lines and turning customers off. To begin solving this issue we created several wireframe variations of the homepage header. After careful consideration we decided on a header design that focused on the materials of the products. This, we knew, would be attractive to users and would, when launched in tandem with fresh content, cause a quick improvement.
Once we agreed on brand tone of voice and content we turned our attention to the homepage hierarchy. The current order of the categories did not reflect what the data and analytics were saying and was causing users to bouncers before they could find what they wanted. By leveraging a tighter design and hierarchy we could funnel users to key places without stripping them of choice – a key factor in online sales.

Rug Builder Technology Stack & User Interface

From our very first time analysing the site we knew that the 3D rug builder could be a great sales tool. During the research phase of the project we discovered that site visitors often engaged with the feature on more than one occasion. The problem was that many users struggled to find the ‘next step’ after their bespoke rug was created. Without a clear call to action, people gave up. This told us that the rug builder was actually a fantastic feature. We just needed to make the journey to basket for easier to navigate. After researching the current flow of user actions that were required we mapped out some improvements to implement and test. 

Our testing was internal to begin with. We then sought out real users to find out which flow gave us the best conversion rates. Once we had our answer we analysed how the 3D builder worked with the site as a whole. The honest answer is that it didn’t. There was no real ‘reason’ for it to be there, no navigation that funnelled users to it, and no clearly marked headers or footers to alert users to its presence. There was also a splash page that added unnecessarily to the number of clicks. When we removed this page and added the new navigation the overall look and feel of the site was completely transformed.
Previous Rug Build Flow
New Rug Build Flow

Inspiring Customer Experience

We knew that our main job was to make potential customers happy and to engage them enough to take action. In general, this meant educating them and leading them towards the best purchasing decisions. This was a fairly top level challenge and we needed to understand the customers perspective before we could really begin to solve it. 

As Crucial Trading operated in high quality bespoke markets we needed to make the website more of an experience than a transactional process. It was important that the online store was an independent asset to the brand and not just a tick-box exercise because “everyone has one”. With our experience and expertise in new, immersive technologies we felt like we had a good idea of how to achieve this.

When considering how to create more of an ‘experience’ we first thought about virtual reality. With VR headsets and equipment becoming more mainstream it seemed like a good place to start, and would only grow in the future. After running some initial tests, however, we found that VR shopping had not yet reached a high enough level of adoption for it to make sense. 

We then turned our focus towards augmented reality, or AR. AR is officially supported by both Apple iOS ARKit and Google’s Android ARCore, making it far easier for ordinary people to get access to the technology. By leveraging AR platforms we could virtually “place” Crucial Trading’s products into the homes of their prospective customers, giving them a powerful and immersive experience that would set them apart from competitors.

6. Solutions

With a full strategy in place, our KPIs agreed, and the team bursting with ideas, we set off to create something big. Here’s how we did it.


We completely rebuilt the main navigation, retaining the unique slide out menu but now only emphasising the very top level goals of the website. Key pages, such as the materials pages and rug builder page, were given highest priority in this new hierarchy, and to improve engagement we made them accessible from every page on the website.
The ‘materials’ category was completely revamped with a new drop down mega menu. This gave visitors clear access to all of the main materials for easy research and hovering over each category revealed a high-resolution image of the actual material, offering a visual experience without requiring an additional click. In line with the overarching business strategy, the materials catalogue could now be accessed from anywhere on the site with a single click, further improving interaction with key content.
This allows you to access the new megamenu, created to access the products with less clicks.
This quick link will take you to the 3D rug builder. Previously this was hidden in a burger menu.
This icon allows the user to access the full screen auto complete search function.
Play Video


Crucial had a lot of striking visual assets that were under-optimised in the previous site hierarchy. Now we wanted to make sure all of this imagery was given centre stage. Due to the poor performance of the homepage header on the original site we opted for a completely new one, highlighting different materials on each new page load and giving users the opportunity to view different images by hovering over different icons. 

Below the header we created a subtle sense of flow by maintaining the key combination of material-related content and stunning imagery. To improve engagement with the important material pages we designed visual cards that linked out to the top level material types in the navigation. 

To maximise customer immersion we also wanted to draw attention to the 3D rug builder. We achieved this by creating autoplay video sections, capturing the attention of the users with visually stunning combinations of products.

3D Rug Builder

We knew that the UI of the 3D rug builder would be key to its success so we recreated it, using design best practices, to maximise usability. With a materials selector, preview window and selections sidebar users could create a 3D model of their dream rug, complete with realistic lighting and layered with actual samples of raw materials. 

From a technical viewpoint we rebuilt the rug builder from scratch. We knew that for users to engage and invest in its functionality we would have to focus on speed and usability. Once the redesign was complete it loaded 5x faster than before, due largely to an optimised codebase using ReactJS, newly optimised assets and a new caching process that stores all material data for quicker retrieval.

This panel allows you to see a zoomed in detail shot of the rug designed this is pinned to the corner of the rug regardless of the angle you’ve chosen.
This new material selector gives you a preview of the material on hover, including a randomise button for those who just can’t decide
The new selections side bar allows you to see what you’ve selected and remove individual materials or edit the size and border quickly.

Augmented Reality App

To really drive home the goal of complete customer immersion we decided to use augmented reality within a native platform. This made it easy to place a newly-created rug on any floor, giving the customer a unique opportunity to view the product in their home. Using ARKit on iOS, once you have located the ideal surface you can access all of the rugs you have built in your Crucial Trading account, resize it, and then “lock” it in place. Even if you move away the rug will stay in the chosen position. There was also a sharing feature, which allowed users to send their new rug to friends and family, adding an extra layer of engagement and adding social proof to any purchases. 

Inspire is a unique app, allowing you to build a bespoke rug and ‘place’ it in your home within minutes. This is better than other apps on the market for a number of reasons, but primarily because you can fully customise the product without having to choose it from a catalogue. This level of customisation is still a ‘first’ in the online bespoke market and has proven to be extremely popular.

Play Video

7. Results

It’s all good and well making things that look good but ultimately our role in a project is to deliver effective solutions to problems and results for our clients. We are very happy with what we achieved on this project and the numbers below speak for themselves.

Rug Orders


Increase in rug orders
Total Orders
Increase in total sample orders
Total Samples
Increase In samples per order
Total Sample Value
Increase in value of sample orders
Total Sample Value
Increase in value of sample orders
We have really enjoyed working with KIJO over recent years, working together we have managed to push the boundaries of what home furnishing companies can achieve.
Emma Hopkins
Marketing Manager
Comparison of 5 months performance running from October 17 to February 18 and October 18 to February 19

8. Build The Future

The entire KIJO team was ecstatic with these results and the team at Crucial Trading was even happier. One of the best things about being an agency is that you get to see clients succeed, over and over again, with work that you have envisioned and created. 

However, even after a success like this we are always working out new ways to improve upon what has already been built. Our motto is Build the Future and we are always thinking long-term for our clients. How else can we help them? Is there any way we can make this better?

Here are some of the features we are planning to deliver for Crucial Trading in the near future:

Android Support

To facilitate a speedy launch the Inspire AR app was initially iOS only. Now that the project is complete we are in the process of developing an Android version. To help increase exposure to the app we will also use app install advertisements on targeted search and social channels.

Rug Builder Widget

The 3D rug builder is a fantastic feature that deserves more exposure. To achieve this we plan to place it on selected third-party websites. This will significantly increase its reach and improve Crucial’s reputation as an innovative and quality player in the bespoke market.

Organic Search

After a content and SEO audit of the Crucial Trading website we have discovered a significant opportunity to increase organic traffic via Google and other search engines. This promises to be a massive growth area for Crucial and, leveraging our expertise in search engine optimisation, we believe they can gain up to 50% more organic traffic in the short to mid-term.

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