20 Years Old 1995-2005

Responsive Web Design for eCommerce Rentals

Incline Ski & Board Shop provides and delivers ski and snowboard rentals whether reserving them online or with its two locations in Aspen or Snowmass, CO. The store also provides other winter activity products such as hats, gloves, backpacks, etc. Incline Ski originally approached our partner Blue Tent for a new website design that enhanced its online presence and made it easy for customers to reserve their equipment rentals online before their trip. Incline Ski also wanted a responsive web design so that its new website could be conveniently accessed from any device.

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Project Challenge

Blue Tent, one of our partners in Internet marketing, brought a client to us that needed robust eCommerce functionality that would allow their customers to make pre-order equipment rentals. This is an unusual eCommerce website as they are not selling a product, but renting it. So, naturally we were eager to learn more and build a custom solution that would fit Incline Ski & Board's specific needs.

There were primary objectives going into this custom eCommerce website were:

  • Brand Incline Ski and Board as a reputable equipment rental company
  • Implement a responsive web design to optimize the site for mobile usage
  • Implement a custom eCommerce platform that allowed pre-orders of equipment rentals
  • Increase traffic to the site through SEO and ultimately increase revenue via online equipment rentals

Discovery

In order to discover what was needed to make this eCommerce website successful, we worked with Blue Tent to go a little deeper into Incline Ski and Board Shop's specific needs for this project.

  • Determine what types of content were going to be published (blogs, galleries, etc.)
  • Layout how the website's content would be organized (site map)
  • Streamline the online checkout process for customers reserving equipment rentals
  • Enhance the user experience with custom page templates and dashboards (trip previews/details, shopping cart, checkout, etc.)
  • Make searching for specific trips simple and easy

Going into the website design process, we had a pretty good idea of what needed to be incorporated into powerful eCommerce website.

Design

Blue Tent handled the design phase of this project, as Incline Ski & Board Shop was their client -- our job was to take the design and build it into our content management system (CMS), develop the custom eCommerce platform that would generate revenue for the site, and host the website once it was completed. However, we did need to have a minor consulting role in the design phase to assure that the designs were matching the website's development needs.

Blue Tent created a custom website design that was optimized for the mobile web using responive web design techniques. People are researching things to enhance their vacations online, and today more than ever they are doing so from a smartphone or tablet. It was important to enhance the website for these mobile users, as well as the traditional desktop users, and a responsive web design gave Incline Ski the most flexibility to do this.

To streamline the development phase, it was important to design all of the necessary page templates that were going to be built into the site. These included page types for the homepage and basic internal content pages, product previews, and product detail pages. We could handle a lot of the dashboard and checkout designs on the go.

Implementation

The first step in the implementation process was to slice the designs that Blue Tent handed over to us. The design team provided photoshop files that are basically a static image of what the website will look like, then we transfer that image into HTML and CSS code.

This website was being built on our content management system (CMS), so once we had the page template code we could start building out templates in the CMS.  With page templates, we are able build one and re-use it many times for all pages that will use the same layout. The website developers went to work on all the page templates and got them as far as their skillset could get them.  The web developer will then document the functionality needed that requires an engineer's code, and they pass this list on for more advanced implementation.

Engineers are programmers that write code for complex website capablities.  On the Incline Ski and Board Shop project there was a lot of complexiity in building the eCommerce functionality. We built a powerful eCommerce platform that would give even the non-technical website admins the ability to add new products, manage orders, and more. We also integrated a credit card processor so customers could purchase equipment rentals in advance of their vacation via the website directly.

After a month or two of the project being in the developers hands they had created a working website that was ready for quality assurance and testing. The QA team got to work and started beating on the website to put it through rigourous usability testing. They navigated the site on different devices (computer, tablet, mini tablet, phone), with different operating systems (Mac OS, Windows, iOS, Droid), using different browsers and browser versions (Chrome, IE, Mozilla, Safari), all to track down hiccups in the display or functionality bugs. We needed to make sure that any type of user could access and navigate the site, as well as purchase equipment rentals via any device.

As the quality assurance team was working to fine tune the website, the marketing team was in there optimizing the site for the search engine use. There are several search engine opttimization (SEO) items that need to occur on the backend of the website during the build out of a site, so the marketing team needs to get all these completed so that the search engines can accurately index content on the website when it goes live.

When all teams are finished, it's time to go through a GO LIVE process. We have a 25+ item checklist that we run through before sending any website live. Upon completion of the GO LIVE list, Incline Ski and Board Shop had a brand new, custom eCommerce, responsive web design.

Results

Now that Incline Ski and Board Shop had a great new look and a fully functional eCommerce solution, let's take a look at the objectives to see how we did.

Branding.  Blue Tent did a great job of designing the custom website, so we knew from the minute the designs were presented that we had achieved our goal on effectively branding the website. The new website had the brand in the logo and within the content and imagery, but it was also simple enough to navigate and very aesthetically pleasing.

Optimize for the Mobile Web.  A responsive web design was a key component in order to reach a growing mobile audience. Mobile users will surpass all desktop users in the near future, and Incline Ski and Board is now prepared for that transformation. Mobile users have access to the same content and functionality as the desktop user, but in a responsive design the layout is optimized for the mobile screen.

Custom eCommerce for Equipment Rentals.  Now that we had a great website design, the next goal was to streamline the conversion process to make it simple and easy for customers to reserve equipment rentals. A robust form builder and the custom eCommerce solution achieved this goal by making it easy for users to fill out a form based on their personal information and equipment rental needs and reserve/purchase rental equipment directly through the website.

Online Sales = Success.  Incline Ski and Board has achieved great results from their custom eCommerce website. An eCommerce site makes seeing a return-on-investment easy, as it is very clear on how much revenue the website generates. Incline Ski and Board Shop has received several equipment rentals a week since the site has been launched, and the revenue continues to add up.

What Our Customers Are Saying...

Wow, the transition to the new system was seamless. Kudos to everyone that worked this out. Thank you very much!

Vicki Adney, Reck Agri

We have had many comments from our community on the ease of use of navigation and they really have enjoyed the new look and layout. Our staff certainly has benefited as we have used the website more and more as a communication device to our school patrons. I look forward to taking full advantage of the student section for our classes, hopefully next year.

Paul Ludwig, Delano Public Schools

The staff at Five Technology has been wonderful to work with. They are receptive to the needs of the school district and willing to work within our budget. They have gone above and beyond to make sure we are satisfied with the product they are delivering.

Traci Lawman, Delano Public Schools

My goal is to double revenue from the site in the next 2 years. Now that Five Technology has built me this powerful portal management web application, I am able to streamline the process of publishing content.

Paul Taylor III, SurvivingMold.com

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