Case Study: MadeWhimsy’s Budget-Friendly Stencil Move and Site Redesign

January 30, 2018 | |

A BigCommerce Site Redesign and Upgrade For $5,000

When it comes to moving BigCommerce sites from Blueprint to Stencil, there isn’t one solution that works for every business. Moving a site with a pre-existing design is a large-scale project and could cost between $10,000 – $20,000. While that’s money well spent for a larger, well-established business that needs to preserve its branding, it’s out of reach for many BigCommerce merchants with small or growing businesses.

IntuitSolutions works with many clients in this exact situation. They know they need the enhanced performance of Stencil to compete in their industry but just don’t have the budget for a $20,000 site redesign. So we work with them to develop a strategy that upgrades them to Stencil on a budget, giving them the opportunity to do a swift redesign and build a relationship with an IntuitSolutions developer who can continue to work with them as their business grows.

It works like this: in 30 hours of development time, we build you a custom theme based off of our exclusive optimized version of the BigCommerce Cornerstone theme. During that time period, we move your site and work with you to tailor and customize it. The process is flexible and collaborative. You give your developer a list of the changes you want to the base theme, like design and layout changes, navigation and category updates, or special tweaks and features. Your developer makes those changes while checking in with you throughout the process to get approval and collect feedback. After 30 hours, we deliver a high-performing site with a customized, modern look that preserves the crucial aspects of your branding.

“When I look at the new website, I feel proud. I think my customers are really enjoying it too!”

One example of a client who is Mandy Pickles from MadeWhimsy.com, a BigCommerce site that sells apparel fabrics in colorful patterns and prints. Mandy worked with us to upgrade her old website, which had an outdated design and wasn’t mobile-friendly.

“I noticed my competitors were getting responsive websites,” she explained. “I also noticed how much I hate shopping on an old website so I thought it was time to bite the bullet and get a new one.”

“When I look at the new website, I feel proud. I think my customers are really enjoying it too!”

Iterative Design Techniques To Rebrand On A Budget

Click each thumbnail to see the full-size homepage!

In addition to wanting the increased speed and performance of Stencil, Mandy wasn’t happy with the appearance of her site. It wasn’t didn’t showcase the brightly colored, highly visual products she sells and it wasn’t mobile responsive.

“My old site was really dated,” said Mandy. “The old site was the first one I ever had so I knew better this time that simple and modern is better.”

“Simple and modern is better.”

Simple and modern is exactly what Mandy got. By using the Cornerstone theme as a base and designing iteratively as we moved the site, our developer, Ariel, was able to rebrand her site with in much less time than if she was recreating a design pixel by pixel. Mandy and Ariel were in touch throughout the process, as Ariel made design changes to the Cornerstone theme that worked with Mandy’s overall branding and and user experience goals.

The result is a modern website that showcases the brightly colored fabric Mandy sells without overwhelming the user. A grid of large CTA boxes displays MadeWhimsy’s most popular Categories so customers can easily navigate to them, and a slider beneath shows off the most popular Products. Hover over one of them and you can add the Product to Cart right from the homepage. An Instagram feed at the bottom pulls in even more images and adds interactivity.

“[The new site] is so pretty,” Mandy said. “Ariel did an excellent job.”

Custom Development Work Improves Performance and Usability Even More

Better Performance and SEO, Thanks To Our Exclusive Cornerstone Optimizations

Part of the reason we’re able to successfully move BigCommerce sites like MadeWhimsy with such a quick turnaround is the fact that we start from an exclusive-to-us, optimized version of the Cornerstone theme designed to improve speed and SEO.

Our developers continuously work to improve BigCommerce’s out-of-the-box Cornerstone theme. They’ve stripped out and replaced “heavy code,” so that your page’s content appears higher in the source code, improving both page speed and SEO. Other SEO improvements, like a “defer video” script and optimized 404 pages, also come standard. Additionally, IntuitSolution’s version of the BigCommerce quick search function has been proven to increase conversions.

Technical details aside, it’s no exaggeration to say that these optimizations reflect hundreds of hours of our development team’s work, which Mandy and our other Stencil clients get at no additional cost.

Improve User Experience With Social Media Feeds On Homepage

Part of MadeWhimsy’s redesign was an Instagram feed on the homepage which automatically pulls in the company’s most recent posts and displays them in a row. Users can hover over an image to see the captions and click to be taken straight to Instagram.

This feature was particularly important to Mandy. Instagram is a big part of her marketing strategy and is popular in the fabric industry as a whole.

“Instagram is becoming really big in the fabric world,” Mandy explained. “People like to share what they have sewn with fabric, and it’s something I really wanted to showcase to make my customers feel special. It’s also a quick way to get a new product out there.”

“Instagram is becoming really big in the fabric world…it’s something I really wanted to showcase to make my customers feel special. It’s also a quick way to get a new product out there.”

In this case, the Instagram feed allows for even more images, plus a level of social interactivity that creates positive customer perception and makes the site fun to visit.

A feed pulls in MadeWhimsy’s latest Instagram post

Industry-Specific Customizations Ease Pain Points

MadeWhimsy had a challenge common to both fabric sites and non-fabric sites that sell in bulk: quantity pricing. Mandy sells her Products in units of quarter yard which can make the out-of-the-box BigCommerce Product quantity dropdown confusing, since fabric is traditionally purchased by-the-yard.

“Without that customization a customer might think a quantity of ‘1’ is for 1 yard, when it would really take a quantity of 4 [to make up a full yard],” Many explained. “That would be a total nightmare: customers thinking they are ordering a whole yard for $3 and then a quarter yard shows up in the mail.”

IntuitSolutions solved this problem by customizing the Product Quantity dropdown so customers can, in fact, order by the yard. For example, if a MadeWhimsy customer orders one yard of a fabric from the dropdown, four quarter-yard Products will be added to the Cart. In addition to calculating the appropriate quantity, the price also updates in real time. This decreases confusion and allows the customer to understand exactly what they’re buying.

The price per unit remains the same but the total cost changes.

Ready For Stencil? Call Us Today For A Solution That Works For You!

Still on Blueprint? Want a faster, better performing site that you can build on and customize with as your business grows? Call us today at (866) 590-4650!

Emma works on IntuitSolutions' internal resources and marketing initiatives. Previously, she taught ESL and worked as a freelance writer on a variety of subjects ranging from healthcare to education.