While ecommerce has become such an important aspect of our lives in 2020, it can still be a challenge for many businesses. Van Sickle Paint is an industry leader in the manufacture and sale of superior quality coatings to rural America. Their paint products include equipment and industrial enamels, farm building paints, interior and exterior home finishes and specialty coatings.
In the past, the sale of coatings involved getting a customer in the store to see the wall of options Van Sickle Paint offers. However, due to the climate of 2020, that experience needed to be replicated online. Not only does the ecommerce solution have to be seamless, Van Sickle needed to provide all of the visual cues that customers are used to experiencing when picking out paint in person. No wall of color. No clear and easy tax rate because it is no longer being purchased and sold from the same location. No boxing up the paint cans and carrying them to a vehicle. It is one thing to sell a couple gallons of paint to the farm down the street. It is an entirely different thing to manage an order from start to finish, all from a website.
On website projects like this, we are facilitators above all else. We conduct conversations that guide our clients in figuring out what they need and want to do with their website. From there we transform their ideas into reality. While we do not know as much about paint as Van Sickle, it is through this process that we are able to understand the customer’s in-store experience and work with the client to recreate it online.
The first part of our solution was to utilize content from an older site. The site was not an ecommerce site, but it had the beginnings of building the online wall of color. Migrating all the colors, types, and different variations into a website was not straightforward. However, our previous conversations gave us insight into their day-to-day and inventory practices. With this information we were able to fully migrate everything into the site.
Once we were able to get all of the products and variations into the system, we started working on the design of the site. Rather than simply listing all the products available, we aimed to recreate an experience. Our team focused on the purchase process and worked with Van Sickle to develop a page structure that created a comparable experience for the shopper. In store a customer would have an employee walking and talking them through the products. While the content on the site provides the same information, navigating the options without a product expert can be difficult. To remedy this our team developed an intuitive user flow that made searching and navigating through all the options clear and easy.
One of the key pieces of this project that made it successful was the meetings. When you are creating a digital experience from a high volume of products that can be altered in various ways, project meetings become extremely important. We constantly met with the Van Sickle team to talk through what we were doing and how it would work. We talked to them about their day-to-day responsibilities and how the website could make that easier. We talked to them about their customers, how those customers typically purchased products and the ways we could help. On some projects this level of thoroughness is not required, but for Van Sickle it was vital to the solution.
The site launched successfully and on time. Customers are able to navigate the site and are buying coatings with ease. Product variations are listed for each product and the user can click through the specific colors for each product to see what is available. Size, sheen, and quantity are built directly into the checkout process and the user is guided through the steps with ease. The site was also built to tie directly in with an existing Van Sickle site in order to share data between the two.
While one is never able to exactly recreate the brick and mortar shopping experience, we were able to deliver a solution that provides a great user experience and meets the needs of Van Sickle.