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|Project Details |
The Situation – Create a More Polished and Effective Site
Church Hill Classics is a leading designer and manufacturer of high-quality diploma, certificate and award frames. When the company first approached Synthenet in 2004, it had a basic Web site that did not coincide with its professional image nor establish it as an industry leader.
“We had a site that had been built and maintained in-house and possessed limited capabilities,” states Lucie Voves, President of Church Hill Classics. “We wanted to update the site with a more polished interface and effective e-commerce capabilities that would provide an improved customer experience.”
Church Hill Classics is a wholesale business that manufactures to order for college bookstores and other retailers, therefore it wanted to increase sales to consumers by expanding the product offerings featured on the site and incorporating search engine optimization tactics that would drive more traffic to the site. The company also wanted to streamline content management for its Web site to alleviate administrative tasks.
Church Hill Classics sought input from Synthenet on how to boost its Web site, ultimately choosing the company for its site renovation for several reasons.
The Solution – Functionality That Offers a Richer User Experience
“Synthenet took the time to understand our business model and how we could translate that to a Web site,” explains Voves. “We’re not your typical Web site and we weren’t looking for the typical Web site company. Synthenet gives 110% and constantly looks at the best way to achieve objectives. They listened and advised us on what features would make our Web site really cool and easy to work with. Because they have a lot of experience, Synthenet has structured a good workflow for developing new sites and doing major upgrades.”
“There was also an emphasis on redesigning the site for search engines,” adds Voves. “Because our business is wholesale, we wouldn’t advertise, but we learned we could better link customers to the stores carrying our products by making the site more search-engine friendly.”
Synthenet designed a new look for the Church Hill Classics site that is more sophisticated and corresponds with its industry leadership, and they implemented an online content management system to simplify updating and maintaining the site. Synthenet also developed several customized modules for the site that enable Church Hill Classics to offer greater ease of use and a richer user experience for its customers and retail buyers, such as modules providing powerful e-commerce and enabling buyers to manage their inventory and place orders. There is also a module that allows Church Hill Classics to form affiliate business partnerships online.
The most unique module is called “Create-a-Frame” and allows customers ordering directly from the Web site to select from different mat colors, frame styles, sizes, and other options to build the exact frame they desire. “Create-A-Frame” then provides a preview of how the new frame will look.
“This is a very innovative part of the site,” says Voves. “Synthenet built a site that is full-featured, offers greater flexibility and is optimized to our needs. They gave us a lot of control over our site content, and enabled us to manage inventory and run the business on the site. The web site is now the centerpiece of our business and allows us to manage our business better.”
The Outcome – Dramatic Increase in Sales and Customer Retention
Since launching the new, completely upgraded site in 2004, Church Hill Classics has dramatically improved its placement in the search engines and seen tremendous results in terms of business growth and increased efficiency. Online sales rose considerably; in the first three months, sales were up 100% from the same time period the previous year.
In addition, Church Hill Classics has been able to add more products to its inventory, branching out to ancillary products. With its Web site’s enhanced flexibility, the company can now work more easily with its retailer partners by connecting customers to them online or conducting the e-commerce themselves. They have also strengthened relationships with bookstore customers by allowing them to place an order and see the status of that order on the Web site.
“That’s been cool for us,” points out Voves. “It has helped with order accuracy and helped with retaining customers. We have also reduced time spent on tedious administrative duties, which has freed up more time for new business development.”
The relationship that Synthenet and Church Hill Classics have cultivated for more than a decade has evolved into a valuable partnership.
“We have a very consultative relationship with Synthenet that has provided value beyond building the Web site,” explains Voves. “Their team strikes a balance between being business and tech savvy, therefore I get good business counsel in addition to tech advice. The focus is more about using the Internet to create a competitive advantage.”