The Kuusamo-based Ruka is one of Finland’s most popular ski resorts, which has garnered also international recognition for its high-quality training and competition facilities as well as for its available activities. The diversity of the services on offer naturally benefit travelers visiting the area, but it also creates significant challenges to the updatability of the center’s website as well as the functionality of its online shop.
Drupal was previously familiar to Ruka, as the company’s website was built with Drupal 7 and they had experimented with Drupal 8. The online store was an outdated custom application. The main problems of the online store were bad user experience, the lack of proper mobile support, missing integrations that caused loads of manual labor, and that even the smallest changes to the store required software development.
Druid was chosen as a partner for building a new online store, as well as for updating the visual look of the website and continuous service development.
Main goals of the collaboration were:
- Building a modern, scalable online store with support for different types of merchandise such as season and day passes, bus tickets, gift cards and so on
- Setting up an agile workflow for easier, stress-free development
- Improving user experience, especially for mobile devices
- Integrating the online store to other systems, mainly Point of Sales and the Skidata ski lift ticketing and access control
- Improving the overall maintainability of the site allowing the customer to take more responsibility for content management
- Migrating content from the outdated Drupal 7 website to the new service
What we did
The revamp for Ruka’s webshop began in March 2017, and the first revisions were published the following fall. In addition to technical revisions and interface integrations, the visual look of the website was also updated during the project.
The customer and the team chose to use a modern, headless approach for the webshop to achieve the best possible user experience. Drupal 8 and Commerce 2 were used for the backend; for content management, integrating the online store to Point of Sale systems and Skidata Access Management software. The user interface was designed to be a custom application built with React using a GraphQL API for exchanging data with the backend. A fresh, new design was created for the store. With the new design and user interface, the store now supported mobile devices of various sizes and capabilities.
One of the biggest challenges in building the webshop was integrating Drupal to the ski pass store due to its complexity. When finished the integration saved a lot of manual work as the data was no longer needed to be typed into two separate system as both, the checkout counters and ski lift gates could now read it from a single place.
The whole project was carried out using the principles of the Scrum framework, and the composition of the team changed fluidly according to the project’s needs. To ensure a smooth transformation to agile development we also trained the client’s product owner into a certified Scrum expert. The Druid team and Ruka’s product owner met regularly during the development project and the customer has been an active member of the team.
After the initial project, the work continues. So far, the Drupal 8 application contains the online stores for two ski centers, Ruka and Pyhä, a blog and skiing gear rental services. More services and content will be added to the application as the work progresses.
The renewed Ruka online store is a lot user-friendlier than before and is significantly easier to maintain. The improved usability increased the volume of mobile transactions by approximately 30%. The total amount of web sales increased by 12% compared to the previous season.