Hornby Hobbies Product Launch.

User Experience & Performance Optimisation to drive further revenue.

We have been working in partnership with Hornby Hobbies since 2019, which has seen some incredible business growth. Our journey with Hornby started with creating and developing a new web application to improve the customer experience across 12 brands and 28 domains (which you can learn more about here). After the website launched, we continued to work with Hornby & subsidiaries such as Airfix, Scalextric and Corgi to optimise conversion, performance and also increase ROAS through our organic and paid marketing strategy. 


Hornby product launch days are extremely popular as it allows customers and hobbyists to purchase new and limited edition products as well as reserve products for the current year. To put this into perspective, the estimated site traffic is three times higher than a typical day as the collectable items can sometimes sell out in minutes. This traffic volume is an area that traditionally was a challenge for the website. Ensuring that the customer journey is seamless from start to finish is key to a successful launch. We focused on three areas to make sure this was possible to alleviate the strain on the internal Hornby team; conversion optimisation, user experience design and the scalability and security of the infrastructure.

Conversion Optimisation

Our optimisation team found ways to increase the site’s conversion rates to allow data-informed up-selling and cross-selling through various tests. A/B testing was used to identify which style and layout of product card and product page CTA’s were most effective to make it easier for users to compare products as they browse, particularly on mobile. 

With the use of one of our partner tools (Dynamic Yield), we quickly delivered and tested personalised product recommendations to increase revenue generation. This was rolled out across a selection of the websites, which has helped to increase conversion.

Strategic Design

Our UX team then put the data from conversion optimisation into practice. The user experience is constantly being improved, but the journey to conversion has been signposted through product cards, social proof and targeted product recommendations. The design and development teams added navigation improvements to allow the customer to access the products they were looking for easily. Improved creative and interactive blocks were added to engage the user further this included new product categories, carousel product recommendations and promotional banners to highlight the best selling products. 

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Infrastructure Scalability & Security

When dealing with such a large volume of traffic, sites can sometimes crack under pressure, especially on the scale of the Hornby Hobbies sites and domains. It was critical to ensure that the 2022 launch was smoothly executed to generate as much revenue as possible. Many considerations included stability, speed, scalability, protecting the site against bots, and catering for significant traffic influxes.

To prepare for the launch, the DevOps team looked at available data to project and pre-empt the behaviour on the site and utilised tools such as Fargate, Elasticsearch & Redis. We knew the traffic average for the day would be three times higher than usual, and were able to check behaviour data and map a projection for the launch days. With this information, we understood what our base scale values should have been and what the potential the maximum would be, so the infrastructure would grow and shrink as required. 


Through implementing a holistic digital strategy, including optimisation, user experience design, a solid bespoke infrastructure and digital marketing strategies, Hornby saw a huge increase in overall revenue especially at times surrounding product launches like the January 2022 launch.

In the first year of working with Hornby (January 2021) we saw a 157% increase in revenue and in the second year (January 2022) we saw a 459% increase in comparison to 2020.


Increase in Revenue (2021)


Increase in Revenue (2022)

Compared to 2020