When someone says eCommerce a certain type of store jumps to the forefront of most people’s minds. A catalog of products, organized into categories, with a cart and a checkout. This straightforward type of online store is what eCommerce platforms are built to accommodate. However, in reality, eCommerce stores can take all shapes and sizes. So what happens when what you need to sell online doesn’t fit into these commonplace parameters? This is exactly why 1Digital Agency exists. We specialize in custom eCommerce development so that you can mold and shape your chosen eCommerce platform to your needs, not have the way you do business shaped by their limitations.
Resonate Gifts is a perfect example of selling online, without being common eCommerce. Logan McAlister came to 1Digital Agency with the goal of being able to take orders online. His business is a unique one. He helps realtors keep their clients happy by allowing them to sign up for scheduled gift delivery. He had a WordPress site called Welcome Home Joe with no eCommerce functionality. Clients would simply reach out through the site and he’d find out where, when, and how often he should send their clients a gift. The entire process was handled manually. He wanted to give his customers the chance to set their deliveries up through a website and then complete their payment online, but of course, there simply wasn’t an eCommerce platform out there built to his very specific needs. That’s where 1Digital comes in.
We recommended a full rebrand to Logan. A new site, with a new name and a new look built on BigCommerce to act as his eCommerce cart. However, we’d use custom eCommerce development to strip his BigCommerce site of most of its normal eCommerce functionality and replace it with a bespoke ordering system which he could manage entirely from BigCommerce’s backend. We had our best BigCommerce developers ready to take the lead with this project.
Custom eCommerce Design and Branding
Logan had been considering a name change. His WordPress site was under Welcome Home Joe, but when we built the BigCommerce site he opted for a fresh start under the moniker Resonate Gifts. We went through our normal custom design process. A designer was attached to Logan’s project, he shared his ideas about how the site should look, and we brought our own knowledge of eCommerce best practices to the table.
Where this site differs from most is that the ordering process for the Resonate Gifts service is somewhat involved. Unlike most eCommerce designs, where the main goal is simply to engender trust in the visitor and lead them to the checkout as quickly as possible, this site had a lot of information it needed to convey. We knew that anyone who didn’t understand the process would get frustrated and abandon it. That’s why this design makes use of every opportunity to explain to a potential customer what they’ll need to do to complete their order. This not only makes the visitor more likely to finish the process that they’re about to begin, but it also makes Logan less likely to need to field support calls or chase down customers who have failed to input their orders correctly. Any eCommerce site should deliver information about the company clearly, but it’s a more unique requirement that a design needs to ensure that visitors know how to order.
Custom eCommerce Development and Functionality
The functionality we settled on for Resonate Gifts is an intuitive step by step process for telling the Resonate Gifts team which gifts you want to send to your recipient, how many they should receive, and over what period of time they should receive them. As anyone who has ever sold an eCommerce product with a ton of options can attest, getting customers to fill out every option the way you need it can be a real challenge. And the headache of tracking down and correcting incomplete orders can sometimes be more trouble than they’re worth. We knew we needed to create this process in such a way that it would reduce the amount of time Logan and his team spent clearing things up.
In the first step, you select your package. This communicates how many gifts you want Resonate Gifts to mail to your client. In the second step, you select your tier. This allows you to choose which of those gifts will be from the standard, deluxe, or premium tier. All of which are categories managed by Logan’s team in the backend of BigCommerce. Thirdly, you select your gifts. Based on what you chose in the step before, a selection of gifts will be shown stratified by tier. If you attempt to select more gifts than you have in any certain tier, the system will cut you off. The fourth step is customization which allows you to specify in what order your gifts will arrive and include an inscription if you so choose. Further steps of the process take place in the cart area of BigCommerce where you will specify your client’s address and also choose when the items should go out. This is all to make sure that, as the customer goes methodically through each step in the process, each piece of information that the Resonate Gifts team needs in order to fulfill the request is specified, or the process will not move forward.
What is truly exciting about the Resonate Gifts system is not the ordering process it employs. Many companies, such as subscription boxes and ‘of the month’ clubs, put customers through similar processes. The more surprising thing is that this site is built on BigCommerce. BigCommerce is a top-tier eCommerce platform certainly, but one made to accommodate the widest spectrum of eCommerce stores possible, and therefore very much in the category, product, checkout mode we discussed earlier in this piece. Everything that Logan and his team needs to do to run this custom ordering process has been hijacked, Gerry-rigged and duct-taped using the BigCommerce backend. Proving that it is possible to get the results of highly personalized custom eCommerce development, while still enjoying the benefits of a low cost, high-reliability SASS eCommerce platform.
This is one of the main reasons to hire an eCommerce digital agency. eCommerce platforms are fantastic tools. They provide the basics with aplomb. Any merchant on Shopify or BigCommerce or another platform like them can expect to enjoy near perfect uptime and security. They will be kept in compliance with legal requirements, and never be able to harm their own site too much before being stopped. For merchants who want to take advantage of all that these platforms have to offer and still do their own thing, a digital agency is a perfect solution. eCommerce custom development can tweak your chosen platform to make it work with the unique facets of your business not against them.
If you’re interested, I would encourage you to read more about what’s possible with custom eCommerce development and reach out to us if you have questions about a specific set of requirements. The world of eCommerce is not so strict as it can sometimes seem. Just as long as you know enough to twist and pull and tweak in all the right places.
- Joe Chilson
- December 14, 2018