Stuart McMillan

Case Studies

An Eye For Detail In Digital

Some of my most valuable skills are as an innovator and disruptive thinker and helping others become the same; there’s nothing I enjoy more than working with a team to produce a better solution to a difficult problem, challenging them to set the bar even higher. I'm also a great individual contributor, I understand what makes great websites tick. I get the detail.

Technical Skills. I have strong HTML skills, understanding the benefits and implementation of semantic markup for accessibility, SEO, performance and ease of maintenance. I crafted this website by hand using validated HTML, with 100% Lighthouse scores. I'm proficient in CSS although the CSS for this site is fairly minimal, it is designed to be lightweight and efficient. I'm comfortable with Javascript, however so far I haven't added any to this site, as it wasn't needed and would just have slowed the site down.

While it may be a number of years since I have self-identified as a lead developer, I'm experienced in PHP, MySQL and I'm comfortable in Linux command line. I can even remember how to exit Vi.

While these might not seem essential skills for an ecommerce leader, I have found them to be invaluable. The ability to talk to development teams and quickly get on the same page can save a lot of time and effort. I understand the steps involved in them solving whatever challenges they have.

  1. In my time at Tiso, I changed the team structure to better facilitate ecommerce growth, introducing new roles and KPIs. This has taken what was previously a mediocre user experience to one that the business is proud of, and that customers find easy and enjoyable to shop.
  2. It has been a pleasure to help the team develop at Tiso. A number of people I have brought in to the business have been able to progress upwards in other roles internally since joining, and part of my team fully implemented a new sustainability strategy for the entire business.
  3. The improved customer journey at Tiso has resulted in 2x improvement in site conversion rate and a 3x improvement in profitability.
  4. The pandemic brought considerable disruption to the business, I ensured we were “match fit” to capitalise on the opportunities brought by the substantial growth in outdoor pursuits combined with closure of physical stores combined with supply chain disruption.
  5. While at Schuh, I was the owner of a rebuild of the website platform, my vision was to take a number of disparate websites and centralise them in a way that supported even greater growth. A platform capable of taking £100+ million revenue per annum. The platform was ready for a record, multi-million pound, Black Friday and performed as planned.
  6. Leveraging my technical background, at Schuh I was able to assist the web development team in diagnosing a number of third party issues. For example, we integrated with a tech startup, but their product was slowing down our website. I was able to determine that they had a hosting issue, which I passed on to the development team. The startup didn't acknowledge the cause of the issue, but they did change their entire hosting setup within a week.
  7. At Schuh I lead a team to redevelop the customer-facing aspects of the Click & Collect offer, which has seen >10x increase in the online purchase of store stock. This reduced logistics costs as well as differentiating the customer proposition from anything the competion offered.
  8. I was the driving force behind Schuh’s responsive website; it was my idea and I oversaw the project from the initial concept right down to some of the smaller detail of implementation. The site, by any reasonable definition, has been an outstanding success; for example, it was one of the fastest ecommerce sites in the UK. My analysis of the data showed that every 0.1s reduction of page load time improved the conversion rate by 4%.
  9. More broadly speaking, at Schuh I drove a mobile-first strategy that has delivered massive conversion growth, far ahead of the industry average.
  10. While at Schuh I pursued a data-driven and test-driven agenda, our analytics implementation is at a very high standard and we punched significantly above our weight with split testing.
  11. In the past I have presented at a number of national and international ecommerce events on subjects such as responsive design, testing, big data, site speed and ecommerce best practice. I was also a part of the steering group of two conferences, one is the UK’s leading conversion rate optimisation conference, the other the UK’s leading mobile ecommerce conference. Due to Covid-19 I’ve has a hiatus at presenting. Here is an example of my presenting, in this case for Google in Dublin: Conversions@Google 2018 - presentation on site redesign.
  12. In my time at Allsaints, I established a new in-house web development team, interviewing most of the new team. I was also responsible for training the new team, consisting of 10 developers plus testers and analysts; we implemented chosen areas of Agile. I integrated JIRA in to our project management workflow, using it to control the development lifecycle, from specification, through development and testing to the release process.
  13. Assisting in the migration of the site from the existing vendor to the new web team at AllSaints, establishing a defect/improvement schedule of work to be carried out by the new team.
  14. I was responsible for vast improvements in site stability and performance at AllSaints, page load times were among the fastest in the industry. I was also responsible for bringing the release lifecycle down from five weeks to one week, reducing time-to-live for new features, reducing risk of releases and increasing release stability; including the introduction of automated testing and areas of test driven development.
  15. At AllSaints I worked closely with the order fulfilment operation, speeding up part of the process by 300%, greatly reducing the cost associated with dispatching orders, as well as improving customer satisfaction.