Garden centre chain Dobbies will relaunch its website this summer in a major push to increase online sales and drive shoppers to its stores.

Behind the relaunch will be a complete replacement of the retailer’s ecommerce platform, as well as investment in technology for its call centre operation.

It is working with ecommerce solutions provider Snow Valley to replace its existing web platform and introduce Omniture’s online merchandising system. The site will have a new design and will also amalgamate the two different sites the retailer currently runs - and

Dobbies head of ecommerce Joel Rendle said that the business had begun thinking about the site relaunch nine months ago, though the company has only been trading online for around two years.

He admitted: “We are frustrated by our limitations, as are our customers,” and added that the company has particular challenges around converting visitors to the site into sales. The site receives around a quarter of a million unique visitors a month, and the bulk of customers come from places where Dobbies has no physical stores.

The bringing together of the two sites is being designed to allow visitors to look for general gardening information and to shop for products in one place. Rendle said that although there would be a small cost saving from doing this, the step is being taken to help drive sales.

Dobbies also hopes to get customers engaging more with each other through the new site, and Rendle hinted that Dobbies is working with several social media platforms to develop technology to allow this.

The relaunched site will allow the members of Dobbies loyalty programme to also collect rewards when shopping online.

Dobbies plans to sell a number of lines online that are too large to stock in stores, but will be able to use a version of the web platform to allow customers to order these products in stores. Initially this ordering is likely to be done with the assistance of a member of staff at the point of sale, but Rendle said that the retailer will also consider self-service kiosks.

Other cross-channel services the retailer is thinking about include being able to collect online orders from stores, though Rendle says that this is not something it will do at the site’s relaunch.