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Integrating New E-Commerce UX / UI into an Existing ERP

UX, UI, development and integration of an e-commerce front-end for the corporate and sister site.

Founded in 1911 by Dick Blick, Blick Art Materials is the oldest and largest provider of premium art supplies in the United States. Based in Illinois and in its third generation of family ownership, Blick is known for their superior customer service, extensive selection, and competi-tive pricing. With their dedication to delivering quality products and promoting excellence and innovation among their employees, Blick has become the industry leader for professional and amateur artists, art educators, architects, designers, students, and hobbyists.

THE OPPORTUNITY

For many sustained, well-established brands, finding a trusted partner to complement their internal teams and resources can be a challenging, potentially scary endeavor. For Blick Art Materials, they needed a partner that demonstrated expertise in design, UX strategy, and was hyper-focused on customer conversions to help them build out an e-commerce experience across allof their platforms. While this wasn’t an initiative theyhad been focused on in the past, their goal was to finesse and refine their visual aesthetic while paying close attention to the experience they offered across different devices.

The first thing LLT needed to uncover was how to work with the existing development team at Blick to align with their agile approach. This included understanding the capabilities of everyone on their team, what ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) they were using, their ideal process, flow, what their specialties were, and where LLT could step in and provide customizations.

“From experience, it doesn’t matter how good at development we are, it’s about how capable we are of understanding their team, how up to date they are, what they specialize in, so we can understand the most effective way for this relationship to work,” Tony Zipparro, COO at LLT Group, said.

Client Type

Industry Leader

Headquarters

Highland Park, IL

Solutions

Strategy, Experience, Development

Services

Workshop, User Experience, User Interface, Web Design, CMS

 

Specializing to a client’s technology needs

LLT wanted to avoid simply sending over a bunch of code blocks, so instead they invested the time to ask questions around the specific ways Blick needed to have these outputs created. Before LLT felt comfortable even touching any of the design aspects, they went through the process of building and cultivating a relationship with the internal Blick team by learning more about their development workflows. Since working with an external partner in this capacity was a new experience for Blick, this process was crucial for this relationship to be viewed from a long-term perspective.

This required some pushback from LLT to ensure they resisted the temptation to be absorbed into internal processes at Blick, which allowed them to leverage their strengths by making recommendations for what needed to be developed and how it was going to be delivered. LLT earned the trust they needed by offering substantial reasoning and support for why these recommendations were being made, and what the long-term impact was going to be for Blick.

THE APPROACH

This project was always intended to be a long-term, continuing relationship, but how it needed to evolve was ultimately going to dictate how successful it could be. The project began as page-based to not disrupt such a large site with many pages of products and content. LLT began by crafting a strategy around how to seamlessly launch a newly designed homepage that would allow them to design, develop, and roll up additional pages as they were completed. The entire experience approach was based on a Content-driven strategy, helping to update and re-arrange elements of pages that Blick had data and qualitative user feedback to help support.

LLT put their initial focus on the desktop versions of the website, allowing Blick to measure conversions and visitor engagement metrics as development continued. Blick would then bring their recommendations to LLT for how to improve conversions and click-thru rates by making slight alterations to the design. In order to remain flexible and agile, LLT was required to meet with multiple department heads at Blick to make sure they could adjust these pages as quickly and effectively as possible.

From there the goal was to continually stay connected in terms of alignment on project visions and impact. With so many pages being not only designed in multiple mediums but also developed and going through a front-end and back-end loop, buy-in across multiple departments was essential.

Needing help with not only the design and development of your application front-end, but also a someone that can work collaboratively with your internal development team?

THE RESULTS

The results manifested primarily in the sheer volume of outputs produced from the start to the end of the relationship. The relationship lasted over 25 months and involved more than a dozen internal stakeholders from Blick. During this period of time, nearly 250 different views were created for two completely separate websites, split amongst the three primary devices that the UX/UI was being designed for (Desktop, Tablet, and Mobile).

All of these pages were first developed from a front-end perspective in HTML/CSS and then transitioned to React before finally being implemented into the existing DNN system.

LLT successfully delivered on a beautiful new look and feel for the Blick website, as well as drastically improved page speed load time and produced marked improvements in both desktop and mobile order conversion rates and increased usability for users in finding products they were intending to research and buy.

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