Historic Royal Palaces
& Paul Cummins Ceramics

‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’
eCommerce Website

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

“Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper was a stunning artistic installation of 888,246 beautiful ceramic poppies in the moat of the Tower of London to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Each poppy represented a British and Colonial life lost in the war and these poppies were made available for sale, with all net proceeds going to six service charities.

From the moat to the web: our role in the project

We were commissioned to build the ecommerce platform needed to sell the poppies.

With a short deadline, our task was a challenging and yet incredibly interesting one.

Functional design with emotional impact

Our design team was tasked with designing an online experience that functioned primarily to sell poppies whilst conveying the emotion and sentiment evoked by the First World War centenary.

A lean and focussed user experience

From the outset, our UX strategy was to make the buying of a poppy as simple as possible for the user. We had identified a key section of our audience who were not regular online customers – indeed; some were not regular web users. Equipped with this information, we decided to think “lean”; keeping the user journey easy and focusing on the primary goal of the website – selling the poppies.

Scaling a tower of technical challenges!

The poppies website and commerce platform presented a number of challenges. As a high profile transactional site, it was clear that we would need to provide a scalable solution that could handle millions of potential visitors; the unique nature of the project meant that the solution needed to be highly bespoke to ensure the integrity, security and availability of the site -­ even under extreme loads.

Our approach of utilising tried and tested cloud technology, combined with our own secure distributed platform, allowed us to meet the needs of the project in an extremely short project timeline without compromising on functionality. Each part of the system was developed as a standalone module, enabling us to develop all the required components in parallel; the website, payment integration and order processing environment were each designed to sit across multiple virtual servers which were then load balanced.

Should any part of the system become heavily loaded; our monitoring system would bring additional servers online to cope with the additional traffic.

This enabled the site to remain available to all visitors even whilst handling thousands of end-­to-­end transactions (at its peak) per second.

Working nine to five*

*in the morning

The design, build and testing of the ecommerce platform needed to be completed within a short time to be able to dovetail with the launch of the installation at the Tower of London.

We were more than up to the challenge, working through the day and night to get everything built and tested properly prior to launch.

We are very pleased with the work that WeClick Media did to bring this project to life. The phenomenal success of the website speaks for itself, as does the money raised for charity through the website. From the very start of the project, WeClick quickly understood the technology and the content challenges. Their professionalism, dedication and commitment was a key aspect to the overall success.

Nigel Randall,
Head of Information Systems at Historic Royal Palaces

We create bespoke digital experiences.

WeClick Media is a digital agency that specialises in design and development to produce functional and memorable experiences that connect with your audience.

To find out more, get in touch.