Oct 05 2017
Insect Lore

Building Custom Experiences: How We Improved 4 Iconic Brands’ Stores

Over the years Blue Acorn has had the privilege to work with some of the most iconic brands in their respective industries. From Insect Lore’s butterfly kits to Vermont Teddy Bear’s amazing gifts, their names stand apart from the rest. When it comes to working with the likes of Everlast and Candelabra, that also means you’re up against an extremely dedicated customer and fan base and simplicity just won’t cut it. For one brand we may be looking for a knockout experience, whereas others may be designed to put a smile on your face, and regardless of the goal each required custom experiences.

Fortunately now the ecommerce world has a vast, if not endless, amount of data and research at its disposal. This in turn results in sites that people actually want to use, and of course means higher conversions and revenue. However, in the past it was really about feeling things out and experience. Some sites had flashy designs, blocky navigation, or were followed the Field of Dreams approach of if you build it they will come. Obviously now the industry know things are not quite that simple.

With this in mind we wanted to take a look back at some of the more iconic brands we’ve worked with in the past and detail how we were able to work with them to bring forth an experience catered to their customers.

Insect Lore

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Older Insect Lore

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Insect Lore

If you didn’t grow up with one of Insect Lore’s butterfly kits you truly missed out. This iconic brand has produced more smiles and educational learning regarding the transformation of caterpillars to butterflies than likely any other organization on this planet. In fact Insect Lore was founded on one man’s belief that every child should have the opportunity to witness the miraculous transformation of caterpillars to butterflies. Since its inception in 1969, the company has shipped more than 50 million caterpillars across the United States.

So how did we build upon this concept? It all started by collaborating around a human cause. From there we built several custom functionalities to fulfill their unique needs. Take for example seasonal changes. Because Insect Lore is shipping living things, sending them through the post during the coldest of winter nights or hottest of summer days just wouldn’t cut it. In response to that we built in travel conditions that provided alerts about when it was safe to ship critters, and gently steered customers toward overnight shipping.

Building upon the endless smiles, content was at the forefront of the new design. On Insect Lore’s homepage, a butterfly stories feature automatically pulled in user-generated content from Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, which would then await admin approval. Videos embedded in the headers then showcased the interactive nature of Insect Lore’s products.

Candelabra

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Candelabra older

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Previously on Magento Open Source, Candelabra engaged Blue Acorn to upgrade to Magento Commerce to take advantage of its native responsive framework, but more importantly to build an infrastructure that will support their continued growth.

If you’re curious about why they made the switch, this article will give you a look inside the features that allow brands like Candelabra to further increase their revenue.

Already familiar with the design process, the leadership team at Candelabra participated in Blue Acorn’s immersive, two-day UX workshop, which was fueled by our team’s extensive UX audit conducted prior to the meeting. The goal? To gather and evaluate qualitative and quantitative data to determine the most effective ways to increase conversion rates and then implement them in a new experience.

At the completion of the workshop was a clean, modern experience that engages Candelabra’s visitors by showcasing beautiful product images. A white background enhances the detailed photography of various furniture pieces and home décor items. Data from the UX audit influenced Blue Acorn and Candelabra to streamline the navigation, and add a product scroll under the lifestyle imagery on the homepage. It was all about simplicity and focus.

Vermont Teddy Bear

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Vermont Teddy Bear

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Vermont Teddy Bear

Since 1981, The Vermont Teddy Bear Company has been selling handmade teddy bears from its home in Burlington, Vermont and mailing Bear-Grams across the country.

From Pajamas to Teddy Bears, The Vermont Teddy Bear company has a great deal of name recognition. The ever popular brand is often the focal point of gifts, which means that an experience for their customers needed to embrace at least two people. On top of this, they have three brands, with three product portfolios, and that’s a lot of different personas to manage. At the time when Blue Acorn partnered with the company, each brand had its own site and code base, which made it quite the challenge to manage. Thanks to Magento’s multi-store feature they were able to bring everything into the same system, which in turn resulted in a more cost-effective solution. To make this work Blue Acorn first built a foundation for all three brands, and then built three distinct custom experiences on top of it.

Beyond the need for a multi-store solution, gifting was at the focal point for each site. In addition to this, many of the products offered have numerous customization options such as fur color, monograms, add-on items, and even gift tags. To deliver the best gifting solution our team built a custom module that allows shoppers to customize a product, and then select add-on items all on one page. Even the icons were custom-built, all with the goal of creating an intuitive system to create a unique gift. If that doesn’t warm your heart, their pajamas certainly will.

Everlast

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Everlast

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Everlast

If you’ve ever seen a boxing match or been to a gym, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with Everlast. And if you’re looking for a knockout, just take a look at how Everlast’s site has evolved.

What you may not know is that the strength of the Everlast brand has always been it’s ability to adapt to customer demands. Were it not for this adaptability, Everlast might not even be making boxing gear. With the growing interest in sports such as MMA, Everlast not only adapts to athletic entertainment popularity, but how and what their consumers are interested in as a result. But that wasn’t enough.

When customers demanded products with features like extra cushion and temperature control that were made with moisture-wicking and antimicrobial materials, Everlast responded by introducing EverGel, EverCool, EverDri, and EverFresh. Much like the simplicity and elegance of Candelabra, Blue Acorn custom built a unique experience with the same sensibilities for Everlast.

Blue Acorn developed several custom functionalities for Everlast customers. When the right fit means the difference between winning the round and getting knocked down, Everlast customers like to know everything about their products before they make a purchase. As a result we created a custom secondary navigation bar on product pages that allows users to fly through the abundance of product descriptions, features, Q&As, videos, and reviews. The navigation bar also contained an add-to-cart button, giving users the opportunity to add the product to their cart whenever the urge to buy strikes.

Elliot Volkman

Digital Marketing Manager

Elliot is Blue Acorn's Digital Marketing Manager. He hold a master's degree in communication from Gonzaga, and has several awards for journalism and digital marketing. In his spare time he is a long-distance runner and triathlete.

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