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EHobbyCraft.com Upgrades from BigCommerce Blueprint to Stencil [Case Study]

August 27, 2020 | |

Their Story

Wholesale Craft Outlet

Since 1973, Wholesale Craft Outlet has been in the art, craft and hobby industry providing customers with carefully selected products from the top manufacturers. They are your direct source for discount art supplies, sewing notions, craft supplies, display stands, lamp making, light bulbs, and thousands of other hard to find supplies. 

Having years of experience and expertise in the craft industry, they value providing their customers with large inventory levels, great customer service and fast shipping. With such a large inventory, it was necessary to upgrade to a website with a new, modern and high functioning framework that could handle their inventory level and help them grow.

The Problem: Out with the Old & In with the New

Wholesale Craft Outlet was missing out on growth opportunities because of the limitation set by their website and platform. They wanted improvement in three important aspects of their BigCommerce site to ensure success. Those three aspects are platform, visibility and conversions. 

Wholesale Craft Outlet was running on an outdated Blueprint theme, which is a slower and now, unsupported version of BigCommerce. Mobile shoppers are rapidly growing and some Blueprint themes are not developed to handle mobile use or are extremely limiting. Their website was also losing customers and conversions because of the user experience. IntuitSolutions knew it was time for them to make the switch to the BigCommerce Stencil theme engine.

The Solution: Move to Stencil with a Similar Design

There are hundreds of ways to improve your ecommerce business, but for Wholesale Craft Outlet a switch to Stencil with a similar Design Package from IntuitSolutions would deliver the results they needed. This would implement a new website on Bigcommerce’s Stencil framework and a similar design to their old website with enhancements for user experience.

New Framework

Website Framework

The most significant upgrade you can make in terms of your BigCommerce store is to implement a new Stencil theme. We offer a theme called Base Theme, it is the basis of every custom website we build. In combination with Stencil’s foundations, the features offered are outstanding. 

On Stencil, your site will be faster and more responsive on phones and tablets. Stencil is also more developer-friendly, so future updates and changes to your site will be faster, which will then cost less. Most importantly, you want BigCommerce to support your site at all times. You no longer receive that support if you are still on Blueprint, like Wholesale Craft Outlet. BigCommerce has announced it’s discontinuation of Blueprint support shortly after the launch of Stencil.

Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking

For BigCommerce Blueprint sites, only standard ecommerce data is available in the Google Analytics dashboard. Stencil allows for enabled Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking, giving you access to metrics such as product sales, sales by category, checkout drop-off, add-to-cart clicks, and more. Having access to this granular data will allow you to make data-driven development decisions, and continually improve your website and visibility. For Wholesale Craft Outlet, this will help drive future growth plans and improve their purchase pipeline. 

Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Google AMP

Stencil offers the implementation of Google AMP for better mobile experience. This will be the most significant improvement for the visibility of Wholesale Craft Outlet’s website. AMP is Google’s initiative to improve the mobile experience by delivering light-weight, fast-loading pages directly to the user. Websites that don’t use AMP simply will not rank at the top of Google’s search results. As the upward trend of mobile shopping continues, maximizing your visibility in search results will always be an essential part of your strategy, one that you can’t afford to live without.

IntuitSolutions’ Base Theme

Base Theme Features

IntuitSolutions’ Base Theme is developed off of BigCommerce’s Cornerstone theme that, frankly, acts as our cornerstone. As previously mentioned, Base Theme is the foundation for every website we build whether it is completely custom or not. This theme was designed with developers in mind, along with the user. Our Base Theme offers additional features such as: 

  • Easy theme updates
  • Significant upgrades to accessibility
  • Better 404 crawler instructions
  • Improved ‘Quick Search’ results
  • Improved Blog templates
  • Native mega menus and improved navigation
  • Much more

Theme Design

The most obvious improvement to the site would be a new design consistent with existing branding assets. Wholesale Craft Outlet wanted to keep a similar design, but was open to suggestions for enhancements. Working with an in-house designer to leverage both current branding elements with new layouts and features, we created an optimized, intuitive shopping experience for customers. Some features of the site that were updated include:

  • Header modernization to help users know exactly where to look when looking for their account, search field, and more.
  • Home Page sections were added to present calls to actions instead of just displaying products right away. These sections also house additional product and company content that will help with SEO.
  • A newsletter signup highlight that really stands out to draw customers attention.
  • Category Page design shifts to help customers see the next pages of results and sorting features more clearly. Along with custom product cards to help define each individual product, making it easier for customers to view long lists.
  • Product Page makeover to help organize content in an appealing way, easing the search for information on customers.

Page Speed

A faster page means more conversions. In a world looking for instant gratification, it is statistically proven that faster pages mean more sales, and happier customers. Wholesale Craft Outlet’s new theme has better, faster code, updated libraries, lower load times, and creates a consistently fast experience across all browsers and devices. Stencil has significantly faster load times than Blueprint, and with even slimmer code from Base Theme, the website’s speed will undoubtedly increase. Having faster pages decreases abandonment, which in turn will help SEO and conversion rates for Wholesale Craft Outlet.

Search Engine Optimization

Having customers find you is essential to growing your online business. Although Wholesale Craft Outlet did not sign-on for additional SEO services, a move to Stencil includes many upgrades to your code base to help your search engine rankings. Along with our Base Theme, their website receives basic best practices for SEO which are an improvement from their original site. Some of those benefits include:

  • Faster general page speed
  • Better Google Insights score 
  • Improved accessibility for the hearing and sight-impaired
  • Upgraded title and alt tags for images site-wide
  • Advanced rich snippets and added markup
  • Leaner code providing a better text to code ratio
  • And even more!

ThemeBridge™

Base Theme Features

ThemeBridge™ is an app developed by IntuitSolutions to help expedite the site review and launch processes. It allows us to develop a new Stencil Theme and populate it with live store data. ThemeBridge is included with every new website package we take on. Wholesale Craft Outlet was able to see their new theme with their actual product data and content, browse the new site prior to launch, and see development progress in real-time – a process that no other development agency can offer. This App will ensure a smooth transition from Blueprint to Stencil for Wholesale Craft Outlet.

The Results 

Wholesale Craft Outlet received a new website on the Stencil framework with a similar website design. They received a fast website, enhanced user experience, updated technical SEO basics, and strengthened mobile responsiveness.  Wholesale Craft Outlet was excited to see their new growth opportunities present themselves. With a properly working website, the growth potential is endless for them. Switching from Bigcommerce Blueprint to Stencil has not only improved their website, but their company as a whole. 

Still on Blueprint? Now is the time to switch before you experience serious issues. Contact us by chat or call 1-866-901-4650 to talk with our team about the best upgrade package for your website today!

Kate joined IntuitSolutions in August 2019 as an SEO/PPC Specialist. She focuses on overall marketing and has a hand in many different projects. She started her career as a WordPress designer which directly brought her into the world of digital marketing. In her free time you can find her playing with her dog, exploring new restaurants in the area, and enjoying nature.

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