- Information Architecture
- User Experience & User Interface Design
Women-owned Charleston Shoe Company is distinctive, with shoe designs that are both stylish and comfortable and produced in partnership with artisan cobblers in Mexico. The brand has nearly 25 retail stores, as well as a wholesale line that brings a wide range of styles to 200 boutiques across the U.S.
When eCommerce sales weren’t growing as quickly as competitors’, the team at Charleston Shoe Company suspected it might be due to the site’s user experience. In particular, the company’s standard Shopify theme didn't offer many basic UX features to assist with product finding to provide a more modern and intuitive shopping experience. In addition, the team wanted the site design to better reflect the visual brand, showcase the company’s unique brand values and product benefits, and allow the team to more easily maintain the site.
eHouse Studio worked with Charleston Shoe Company’s small but mighty team to find cost-effective solutions to develop a branded, easily navigable eCommerce site with the primary goal of increasing conversions. We designed a flexible custom theme to make it as easy as possible for the team to create and maintain content and merchandise products without needing a developer.
To achieve goals for increased product findability, the navigation menu had to perform a heavy lift. It needed to be designed to communicate the company’s wide breadth of products, provide several different ways to shop, and highlight various product benefits. The solution was to reorganize main category links into subgroups to allow customers to shop by category, occasion or other curated collections that highlight product benefits, such as "machine washable" and "bunion-friendly." We also broke out categories such as "Kid’s" and "Men’s" in the top-level navigation.
Charleston Shoe Company has many loyal customers who buy their favorite styles again and again. To support this purchase behavior and help customers who know what they want find it faster, we also ensured that “Best Sellers” were easy to get to in the navigation as well as prominently displayed on the home page.
Adding visual cues
One of Charleston Shoe Company’s brand differentiators is that styles are available in a variety of colors so that customers can coordinate their favorite shoe with different outfits. To make browsing easier, we implemented swatches on the product listing pages (PLP) to showcase the different variations without the customer having to click through to the product page.
Product pages on the old site were text-heavy, with written descriptions of product features and colors. We designed the new product pages to provide a visually rich experience, showcasing color swatches, product photos, as well as lifestyle images and at least one image per color swatch. We also created a product highlights module featuring both icons and text to communicate product benefits in a way that is intuitive for customers and easy for the client to edit.
Addressing the Shopify variant limit
Many of Charleston Shoe Company’s shoe styles come in a wide range of colors and patterns – which can add up and quickly exceed Shopify’s 100 variant limit. To offer customers all color options for the same style on the same product page, we created a custom Shopify solution to get around Shopify’s limitation, ensure full inventory tracking, and make it easy for the team to maintain.
Bringing the brand to life
eHouse Studio created multiple opportunities for the Charleston Shoe Company team to showcase the brand story and lifestyle, such as through links to the blog and social content. We modernized the brand’s Lookbooks to better showcase inspirational lifestyle images to bring collections to life. We also updated pages, including “Host a Home Show” and “Our Process” to ensure they aligned with the overall brand updates and would be more engaging for customers (aka potential brand ambassadors).
Making the home page work harder
eHouse Studio redesigned the home page to be flexible and easy to maintain, enabling the team to switch out modules, layouts and content on the fly. We recommended leveraging the home page to do double-duty: highlighting popular product categories as well as key brand value points.
To help customers search the company’s large product catalog, robust on-site search functionality was critical. We integrated a cost-effective search app that enables users to search and be guided by suggested terms and featured products – as well as filter search results by key product features.
Optimizing the mobile experience
A great mobile shopping experience is critical for retail brands. eHouse Studio’s understanding of user behavior on mobile devices, as well as expertise in UI/UX best practices ensured that Charleston Shoe Company’s mobile experience would help convert more users to purchase.
The new eCommerce site was the catalyst Charleston Shoe Company needed to move forward with growing its online business and successfully competing in a saturated market. The user-friendly site design also empowered the small team to easily manage merchandising and content in real-time as needed. In just six weeks after launch, it was clear the site was having a significant impact:
sitewide conversion rate
increase in sitewide conversion rate
organic search traffic acquisition
increase in organic search traffic acquisition
mobile traffic conversion rate
increase in mobile traffic conversion rate
increase in completed orders