Santa Fe Jewelry supply has landed a new website and an incredible online shopping experience developed and maintained by us. This website has all the bells and whistles without sacrificing speed, functionality or user experience.
We were hired by Santa Fe Jewelry Supply to create an eCommerce website that could stand up to their much, much larger industry competitors at a fraction of the cost. After a considerable amount of research we decided to take advantage of the very powerful and full featured combination of WordPress and WooCommerce. The eventual live site has become a flagship of the type of work we produce and the design and development we bring to the table.
The Project Background
Santa Fe Jewelry Supply has been running on an outdated and old website, one that was likely developed before modern web standards and integrated CMS solutions. They did have an eCommerce component, but it was severely lacking in user functionality and backend management. In fact, just before we started this project a large portion of their website broke, signaling the time to update their online presence.
Santa Fe, NM is known for its craft culture, and there is no better place for raw and fabricated materials than Santa Fe Jewelry Supply. Known by the locals and recognized by everyone, they have become known as the place to purchase findings, metals, tools, stones, beads, and displays related to the making of jewelry. So, it should go without saying that this company required an online presence that reflected their commitment to their industry and the breadth of their product list.
Santa Fe Jewelry Supply has over 7,000 products available for purchase, a unique and dynamic pricing structure, and required the ability to update prices and other information daily, not to mention the litany of more typical website requirements (SEO optimization, responsive design, easy navigation and filtering, blogging and an integrated notification system.) In other words, we were to create one of the most functionality significant and powerful websites in Mindshare’s history.
Project Goals and Objectives
Our goal was simple: Get Santa Fe Jewelry Supply up and running with a new website that allowed current and customers the ability to purchase any of their products online.
Of course, this goal does have a long list of sub objectives. They had been running on an outdated website, their search presence had suffered and their customers had become accustomed to calling in orders. What little online customers they did have were met with a poorly functioning website that, unfortunately, had existed for too long in a broken state.
This simple goal, of making an eCommerce website, quickly grew into a project set to solve and improve almost every aspect of Santa Fe Jewelry Supply’s online presence.
The design of this site is fairly straightforward and we moved along quickly in the process. We started with the homepage and worked our way through subpages and product pages. The home page really only needed to serve one purpose; to be a jumping off point for each of the major product categories.
Each product category served the simple purpose of further refining and describing the various products available. With over 7k products we knew that the quicker we narrowed down a user search the happier the user was going to be.
Basically, we needed to find a way for a user to get to a specific product in a sea of 7000+ products. To do this we knew we needed to present significant product filtering and sorting options that could be unique to each product category. So, we added to the design a search and filter suite that could be based on just about any attribute; price, size, material, weight, color, grit, texture, brand, etc.
Data and Content Organization
The major product categories hold thousands of products each, so we knew right off the bat that the organization and filtering of these products was going to be the crux of this project. Once we determined a loose site organization and design, we started the process of data organization.
Organizing each product into a hierarchical category structure not only created a way to filter and search products, it also allowed us to selectively import batches of products. This helped us later in development during our debugging process.
Now that we had all products in an organized spreadsheet it was time to import them into a WordPress/WooCommerce database structure. Knowing that we needed to maintain the pluggability of WordPress and take into account any future WooCommerce addons, it was important to us to use as much of the existing functionality as possible. However, Santa Fe Jewelry Supply has a unique pricing model for their precious metals and significant quantity discounts based on pre existing price codes.
Fortunately, the team over at WooCommerce has built an incredible platform. Their plugin, and the many addons and support plugins, are infinitely customizable. We took advantage of this and got to work building in custom pricing structures, custom price code functionality, quantity discounts. We even built in a way to update any number of product prices with a single change in the backend. This not only allows Santa Fe Jewelry Supply to do business as usual, but to also keep their existing pricing model for online sales, something that is getting more and more rare in the online world.
New website development is becoming a mainstream game. With DIY site builders like Squarespace, Shopify, and others, small businesses are turning to prebuilt solutions and adapting (or redefining) their business practices to suit those platforms. In our mind, this not only stifles a creative economy, it also normalizes businesses. This practice removes the very things that set our businesses apart.
This project is a shining example of how Mindshare Labs, Inc. can take your existing business practices (no matter how old, how undefined, how out of the mainstream they are) and build an online presence with them. Of course there are challenges when doing this, of course there are considerations to take into account. But, all things considered, we’re able to put you online, in exactly the way you’ve defined yourself.