RSL Awards

Headless eCommerce & booking website for an international awarding body

RSL Awards is an international awarding body based in the UK that provides music grading, lessons, exams and learning materials.

They had an established offline network of schools, colleges, universities, music teachers and students who purchased their lessons, materials and gradings but their digital infrastructure was segmented. RSL needed to digitally transform their online ecosystem with the delivery of a new headless eCommerce website and technology stack to deliver a seamless omni-channel user experience.

Lead time:
12 Months
Musical Education & Awards
Target Type:
B2B & B2C
Music Teachers & Schools, Parents, International Distributors
Website Goal:
Increase sales, Increase teacher sign ups, modernise the interface
Web Design, Web Development, Headless Shopify, WordPress, Digital Marketing, eCommerce, Digital Transformation

The challenge

Having grown organically over time, RSL’s website had become disjointed and difficult to use. It utilised a number of different systems, websites and technologies to deliver a broad range of functions. For example, one website was used to sell learning materials and another was used for lesson and exam bookings. This segmented approach overcomplicated the user experience and made it impossible to purchase complimentary products such as lessons, music books and exams together.

RSL challenged us to overhaul their digital infrastructure and deliver a unified website with an omni-channel user experience that would deliver a high quality and consistent user experience.

View site

Our approach

Our team unified RSL’s user journeys into a single intuitive website, reducing the complexity of the user flows and improving the accessibility of content.

By combining the user journeys, we enabled RSL to tap into the gift giving market which funds a significant proportion of musical education, with the majority of learning being financed by parents or grandparents.

We delivered a technology review, proof of concept, new website, headless eCommerce system and SEO strategy to create a high performance website that was intuitive, flexible and provided a seamless user experience.





  • 1 x SEO Strategist
  • 1 x Website Designer
  • 1 x Technical Solutions Architect
  • 2 x WordPress Developer
  • 1 x Shopify Developer
  • 1 x Backend Developer
  • 1 x Quality Assurance Tester
  • 1 x Project Manager

Technical review

We assessed RSL’s business requirements and proposed a technical solution that leveraged multiple systems as part of a composable architecture approach. By combining a number of market-leading solutions, we could deliver a high performance website while avoiding the high costs and risks associated with delivering custom functionality.

Our solution utilises Headless Shopify as the eCommerce engine behind the site. WordPress was selected as the CMS ‘head’ to provide RSL with the most content dexterity and the best SEO outcomes. Microsoft Dynamics was retained as RSL’s ERP system and we utilised RSL’s API to integrate with WordPress and Shopify.

Combining technology adds a level of complexity to a project and it’s critical to ensure that the systems work in harmony together. We created a proof of concept of our recommended technology stack (WordPress, Shopify, Dynamics and RSL’s internal API) before the website project started to test how the systems worked together and check the integration points.

eCommerce website

We delivered a headless Shopify eCommerce system with a WordPress ‘head’ to provide RSL with a high level of content management flexibility while also meeting performance requirements for the site.

WordPress enables us to overcome the native SEO limitations of Shopify, utilising the best parts of each system and laying the groundwork to secure new keyword rankings for RSL Awards.

The eCommerce website pulls data from RSL’s backend system (Microsoft Dynamics) so users can find music teachers, book exams and undertake key searches on the site. The website pulls product information from Shopify and utilises the Shopify checkout to handle the shop experience.

In collaboration with RSL’s internal IT team, we integrated Microsoft Dynamics with Shopify. It was important that Dynamics remained the data source for all data behind the site so this integration enables products to be added to Dynamics, pulled into Shopify, then pushed to the eCommerce website for users to browse. Dynamics listens for when orders are placed via Shopify and pulls orders back into Dynamics to be actioned by the RSL team.

For RSL’s customers, the website experience is seamless and is all handled within a single interface, giving the impression that everything is handled by a single system.

Multi-currency purchases

RSL Awards enables customers to purchase products in their local currency based on their location.

The website has the ability to incorporate multi-lingual and specific multi-territory targeting as the business continues to grow their international digital offering.

Omni-channel user experience

Our team delivered a consistent omni-channel experience for RSL customers, aligning the online and offline experience.

Taking a headless approach enables data to be served from a single source (Microsoft Dynamics) to multiple user interfaces and customer touch points. In practice, this means that users receive a connected and consistent experience whether they call RSL’s phoneline, check availability and products via the website, or if they call a tutor to book a music lesson.

This change has been truly transformational for RSL and delivers a flexible and robust platform for future business growth.

Find a teacher tool

Students can find music teachers and schools in their area via the find a teacher tool. Availability is pulled dynamically from Microsoft Dynamics into the WordPress website interface, delivering rapid search results that are specific to the user’s search criteria.

Map view

Location is an important factor for RSL customers when finding music lessons. To improve the conversion rate and provide a seamless user journey, we introduced a map view to the ‘find a teacher’ search.

SEO strategy

RSL’s existing website was performing very well in search engines, with over 100 keywords in the top 3 positions of Google.

For businesses performing well for SEO, significantly changing the website can be a large risk so RSL’s marketing team challenged us to preserve and build upon rankings with the new website launch.

We delivered an SEO strategy that benchmarked RSL’s existing performance and identified opportunities to improve their digital footprint. After analysing hundreds of keywords, our SEO team selected the ones that had high search volumes, high intent and RSL had a statistical opportunity of ranking for in search engines.

The website was built around the strategy – everything from the user journeys, website structure and code base impacts the ranking opportunity of a website so delivering the website around the strategy ensured that RSL was positioned to climb the rankings.

RSL search engine optimisation results chart

SEO results

The chart above represents the keyword positions held by the RSL Awards website since launch. Blue bars represent positions 1-3 in Google, green represents the remainder of page 1 in Google, and purple shows page 2 listings.

In the 2 months following launch, RSL’s keyword rankings remained extremely stable and their search engine visibility grew by over 6%.

+ 1 6 %
Increase in search engine visibility since launch

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