What was the problem?
A main component of the brief was how to have a store that looked better than your typical museum store, and how to use our product photography to showcase the amazing 84-acres that Museum of Life and Science has to offer. We needed photography that spoke to our multifaceted experience, and a shop that would look good toe-to-toe with any eCommerce site.
Tasking the Retail team with a little homework, I sent them out to find what their “ideal” eCommerce site looked and functioned like. What did the product photography convey? What sites stuck out to them?
What was the solution?
Knowing that our current CMS didn’t have the needed functionality to support an eCommerce solution, we looked outside of our set-up and found that Shopify embodied the right mix of design + simplicity to allow our Retail team to add products, edit descriptions, and fulfill orders without getting bogged down in code.
After they came back with their homework completed, I completed an assessment of their design needs. Favoring organic, lush, and decidedly modern product photography a la Etsy and Pinterest, it was clear the Retail department was angling to appeal to upper-middle-class mothers who tend to frequent our “Heavy User” member base.
What role did I play?
Meeting with primary stakeholders (the Retail team) I created a project brief after learning their needs and goals for the creation of an eCommerce portion of their Elements Museum Store. Facilitated design exercises to help identify key users and aesthetics.
Using a Canon DSLR and Adobe Creative Suite, I took photos of over 150 products while utilizing the Museum’s gorgeous scenery. After editing and optimizing for the web, the photos and product descriptions were loaded into Shopify’s framework and the webpage launched. Using HTML5 and CSS, I created a skin for our Shopify page that would mesh well with our current proprietary CMS (which does not feature an eCommerce option that suited our needs.)
I engaged in training sessions to help support Retail staff so they could maintain the uploading of new products once photos were taken. I continue to support our Retail staff with updated product photography as needed, creating social media posts and shout-outs for holidays and promotional events, and offering digital strategy advice for the future of our Shopify store.
What was the outcome?
The store launched at the end of 2017, and we currently have an average order value of $35. With minimal marketing dollars, we see steady referrals from our main website as well as our Facebook page. We were featured on WRAL’s Go Ask Mom’s holiday guide (link here.)