Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
I'm satisfied with QArea's level of responsiveness and their ability to deliver work on time and within budget. They always offer an optimistic and a negative timeframe for each delivery. They have one cost if they deliver quickly, and when they are delayed they give another adjusted cost. I was kept informed throughout the whole process. Their English is quite good, especially that of our account representative there. She's been handling our account fantastically during these three or four years.
Our most important metric is our conversion rate. We have a conversion rate of around 2.5 percent to 3 percent, which is quite high in the e-commerce spectrum. I believe the site is one very important part of why the rate is so good. We have such an easy way to checkout and such a customer-friendly view of the site.
The site is also fast. It loads in about 0.6 seconds, even when you do big, complex searches. Also, the uptime of the site has been more than 99.9 percent. QArea doesn't host it, but we haven't had any software problems originating from its source code. They continue to perform updates, so we never had any problems with site going down. We had problems with our hardware provider, but that was outside of QArea's control.
What distinguishes QArea from other providers?
Because they've been so consistent in their delivery, the trust factor is their most important asset. QArea has deep expertise with the .NET platform and with e-commerce applications, and that's important when you have relationships with offshore companies – that you can trust their delivery and know they won't let you down. We've worked with the same developers from the start, and that was critical to our success.
In hindsight, are there areas in which they could improve, or things you would do differently?
If they had a better understanding of the business side of our processes that would allow them to give me better advice and feedback regarding what improvements are needed. That would be a big improvement for QArea and for 90 percent of offshore companies – a better understanding of the business process side of site development. If a vendor can get a grasp of the business logic behind decisions, then it isn't necessary for the hiring client to figure out how they want the solutions to work, the vendor can just solve the problem for them and take the client feedback into consideration.
What advice, if any, would you give a future client of theirs?
If you have your business processes clear, I would say QArea is an excellent company to work with. It's important that you specify the business process first, and then you can take that to QArea, and they'll do a good job. As I said, I would like them to be able to provide ideas proactively on how we should improve the site. Otherwise, I think they're doing a great job.