5 Tips for Launching an Ecommerce Platform for your Brand

Building the foundation to surpass your competitors

Omnichannel. Multichannel. FBA. BOPUS. Not that long ago, simply “setting up an online store” with one of a handful of available technology solutions was the beginning and end of how brands approached ecommerce. Today, the digital commerce landscape is broader than ever with multiple solutions for everything from platform selection to fulfillment operations to help businesses meet growing demand from their consumers.  I recently talked with Multichannel Merchant to share some insight on our approach to developing ecommerce sites for our clients.Read more about it here.

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Written by on August 8th, 2019 in Insight, Uncategorized

Shopify Unite: Raising the Bar in the Content Management Space

From revolutionizing small business commerce to reinventing content.

Shopify’s rise through the ranks of e-commerce notoriety has been fast-paced and historic, with market share and stock prices increasing tenfold in the last 4 years. But one thing has always held Shopify back from achieving its true potential: content management. At Unite 2019, Shopify was determined to fix its content management problem. They rolled out a plan that would not only allow them to catch up to their competitors, but in many ways surpass them and improve the experience for both merchants and development teams alike. Coming later this year, these changes will revolutionize the way in which Shopify manages content, and push the platform into a new realm as a competitive force in the Content Management System space. 

The New Normal for Content Management.

Shopify is currently in the process of revamping its content management platform with the ability to add custom sections to every page of a merchant’s online store, create master pages, and content starting points for merchants and content editors. Although the homepage has traditionally had robust content editing capabilities, this functionality has been expanded throughout all pages on the Shopify platform. Users of enterprise-level content management systems such as Sitecore and AEM are familiar with some of these concepts, but for smaller merchants, this high level of flexibility and speed could give their business the tools to rapidly grow. 

Building Blocks

When sections were initially introduced in Shopify, it revolutionized its content management capabilities and moved away from the days of hard coded content and over-reliance on meta fields in the admin. The only recurring problem with the highly flexible content entry system was that it was only usable on the homepage. Although alternative means have been proposed by many development and app workarounds, there was no way of properly recreating the experience offered on the index page of a Shopify site. With the introduction of global sections, every page will have the same powerful content management system that powers the homepage, giving merchant’s total control over what content goes where across their site. Shopify has not released the full details, but the company also plans to add even more functionality to sections, allowing users the ability to build and add apps directly to any page as simply as a block of content. We’ll have to wait until its release to know the full extent of these innovations. 

Building Templates

Master pages allow merchants and their partners to define content that will appear on multiple pages. This is beneficial on pages previously unreachable by sections or global content, such as product detail pages and collection pages. Additional sections can now be added to these areas with content seamlessly applying to the entire product catalog, each collection page, or similar areas where site-wide, consistent content is needed. Once one of these master pages has been applied, each page and product will offer a subset of Master Page Overrides, which will allow merchants to tailor their content to suit any urgent or evolving business need. Starting points offer a pre-existing page template comprised of pre-configured content sections that help make store setup faster. In contrast to master pages, starting points do not share content across pages but instead help fulfill business needs such as the expedited spin-up of marketing or content pages. 

Building Drafts

Drafts are a new area in the Shopify admin where merchants can draft changes to their store pages. Previously, merchants were forced to duplicate their themes in order to make content changes they did not yet want to have published. Merchants can make edits to the content and aesthetics of new and existing online store pages without affecting their live site, and mass publish them when they’re ready. This simple change will completely change the way merchants can update their sites, allowing for promotional or seasonal changes in a way not previously possible on the platform. 

Bring Product Presentation into the Future.

Shopify has also given merchants the ability to create richer, more powerful product detail pages with the addition of site-wide sections and master pages. Because the previous implementation of product data focused primarily on simple content, limited to descriptions and product images, these pages often felt dull or lacking. 

Additional enhancements helping merchants deliver a full, informative package to users will also come through the new video and 3D model support coming natively to Shopify products. Usable across the site but leveraged fully on the product detail pages, the CDN for Shopify’s storage of product assets has been expanded to allow for new assets, bringing with it the ability to offer more to users without causing additional work for merchants. This will make Shopify the first e-commerce platform provider to make this an integral and native part of its platform, paving the way for its competitors as they break new ground on what is considered a product asset. As these features are implemented, with them comes the power of WebGL, leveraging the same speed and flexibility that the Shopify CDN and Liquid programming language already offer for other site-wide assets. 

The new online store design experience should debut before the end of the year and will make it easier for merchants to create and customize their storefronts to quickly accommodate their evolving business needs. 

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Written by on August 2nd, 2019 in Insight, Uncategorized

Coca-Cola Launches Cokestore.com/1985

FortyFour leverages e-commerce expertise to create totally rad digital experience for Stranger Things x New Coke collection.

We’re proud to announce that our longstanding client Coca-Cola has launched Cokestore.com/1985 to celebrate an iconic year (like, 1985, duh!) and the release of Stranger Things Season 3.

Coca-Cola has partnered with Netflix’s Stranger Things to kick off its new season, which takes place in 1985, by creating a limited edition collection of bottles and merchandise. And what could be more recognizably 1985 than a can of New Coke? That’s right—while supplies last, New Coke is back.

Cokestore.com/1985 will be the official destination for fans who want to taste New Coke, purchase limited edition Stranger Things bottles and merchandise, and shop for authentic Coke throwbacks from the ‘80s. In addition to the e-commerce site, Coca-Cola will be hosting 1985 events at its stores in Atlanta and Las Vegas throughout the summer.

Launching the site was a truly collaborative effort among the Coke, Wieden+Kennedy, and FortyFour teams. To capture a sense of nostalgia for the bygone decade, we looked to 80’s computing and adopted an ASCII-inspired design direction. Then our designers, writers, and developers worked together to reimagine 1985 using bold neons, ‘80s slang, and a few Stranger Things Easter Eggs.

Since 2014, FortyFour has worked with Coca-Cola on the strategy, design, implementation, and evolution of their direct-to-consumer e-commerce ecosystem. The site began as shareacoke.com, an online destination for consumers to purchase personalized name bottles. Over time, Coke has expanded their platform. Now Coke fans can celebrate everything from sporting events to weddings to corporate events and more with the personalized bottles and officially-licensed merchandise available at Cokestore.com.

As Coca-Cola continues to grow Cokestore.com, we look forward to being a supportive and strategic partner every step of the way.

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Written by on June 6th, 2019 in Uncategorized

Sketch, Principle, and Several Dozen Sleepless Nights: A New Father Reflects on Design Tools and the World of Parenting

Just a little less than two months after the birth of his son, our senior art director, Hadi Seyfi, has some thoughts on the world of baby product design and the tools we've been using here at FortyFour to make processes run smoother, and more creatively.

At the time of writing this, my son is less than two months old. As first time parents, my wife and I have fully embraced the ever increasing world of everything baby. Tips for first time parents from your great-great-grandma? Let’s hear them! Do you have a great first-time dad’s blog I should subscribe to? Consider it done. Did we see the 2018 Red Dot Award finalists for all things infant care related? We already bought them all!

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Written by on July 30th, 2018 in Design, Uncategorized