eCommerce Website Design Case Study: Cathedral Prep Spirit Store
Cathedral Preparatory School is a well-respected, private Catholic school in Erie, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1921 by the Catholic Diocese of Erie. The school offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum emphasizing academic excellence, character formation, and spiritual development. In addition, students are encouraged to pursue their passions and interests through various extracurricular activities, including sports teams and clubs.
Cathedral Prep has a solid academic reputation, with a rigorous curriculum that prepares students for success in college and beyond. Cathedral Prep is also known for its close-knit community and a strong sense of brotherhood, with students and alumni often referring to themselves as the “Cathedral Prep family.” The school also has a strong tradition of athletic excellence, with numerous state championships in football, basketball, and other sports.
In order for students, faculty, friends, family, and alumni to show support for Cathedral Prep, the school needed a solution to sell apparel and accessories online. In this case study, we will look closer at the solutions we provided for Cathedral Prep with the new custom eCommerce website we built for the institution.
II. Cathedral Prep’s Spirit Store eCommerce Website Goals
When Cathedral Prep reached out to weCreate, the institution needed a successful eCommerce solution created. Prep has a physical Spirit Store location, but its web presence was lacking. The project’s primary goal was to design and develop a website that fits the Cathedral Prep brand but is also modern and user-friendly. Another goal of the website was to increase sales in remote areas. Finally, cathedral Prep wanted to tap into the market of alumni that have moved away from Erie but still want to show support for the school.
The goals of the new site:
- Create an eCommerce Website that Encapsulates the Cathedral Prep Brand
- Incorporate Modern Design Principles
- Focus on User Experience
- Increase Sales
III. The eCommerce Website Design Process
Since weCreate has a decade of experience designing websites for businesses across numerous industries, we have developed a process that has proven successful over the years. At the beginning of the project, we had an introduction call with our new client. Then, we gathered all the information needed to start planning for the new website project.
The Kick-off Meeting
Upon completion of the intro call, our sales and marketing team had an internal meeting to discuss the scope of the eCommerce website project with the design and development teams at weCreate. Once everyone understands the project’s scope, our team can connect with the client for a kick-off meeting. The kick-off meeting is the first significant step in the project. During weCreate’s kick-off meetings, members from each department meet with the client to understand what the client precisely wants to accomplish with their website. We discuss the details that weren’t touched on during sales calls, and representatives from each department can ask tailored questions relevant to their tasks. For example, since Cathedral Prep was creating a new eCommerce website, we needed to gather information about payments, product inventory, shipping, and more.
Additionally, our design team talked about various common trends in modern eCommerce website design. We also discussed the new website’s content, navigational structure, and sitemap. The design can feel directionless without a thorough understanding of what content should be included on a website. Our team was able to nail down the specifics before jumping into the finer details of the design. Once the kick-off meeting wrapped up, our team was able to start the next step.
Sitemap Creation & Wireframing
The project’s sitemap creation and the wireframing portion is the most critical step of any website project. Planning appropriately and ensuring all departments are on the same page is necessary for the project to get derailed relatively easily. Creating a thorough sitemap and wireframe allows the content and design departments to work independently and concurrently while saving the client from unneeded stress. Our approach to creating a sitemap and wireframe derives from years of experience and fine-tuning a process. When working with Cathedral Prep, our team gathered the information needed to present a successful design quickly and painlessly.
Designing the Website
Once Cathedral Prep gave us the green light, we entered the most exciting portion of the eCommerce website creation process—design. One of the project’s main goals was to create a modern, functional, and mobile-friendly shopping experience for the user. So, our design team got to work and created an eCommerce solution that precisely fits what Cathedral Prep needed. Once our design team wrapped up creating the look and layout of the website, we sat down with the client to review the website. Our design team hit every goal during this phase while successfully incorporating the Cathedral Prep brand into the eCommerce website. After the design was approved, our design team worked closely with our development team to initiate the next major phase of the project.
Developing the Website
During the website development phase, our talented development team brought the mockups presented to Cathedral Prep to life. Our development team works closely with the design and content departments to ensure that our web design agency is hitting on every note. Once the developer reached a review point, our team took time to click through the finished website, check links, proofread content, and precisely see that the design was carried over to the live development environment. Then, we met with the client to review the new eCommerce website. Finally, when the client was ready to make the website live, our development team had a training session to teach the team how to make content edits, upload new products, change pictures, and more.
IV. eCommerce Website Design Elements
Comprehensive branding is the most significant design element that your business cannot afford to neglect. With the Cathedral Prep Spirit Store website, our #1 goal was the ensure that this website felt professional and was easy to use, but also like it was a part of the Cathedral Prep brand. Cathedral Prep had not wholly merged with Villa Maria when we initially built the website. Our design team created a solution that switched the colors of the eCommerce website depending on what section of the website you were navigating. Prep used black and orange, while Villa used blues, whites, and grays. This approach helped the user understand what content they were viewing at a glance. Eventually, Villa Maria ultimately merged with Cathedral Preparatory School, and we eliminated the color categorization feature. While in use, it proved to be a subtle but effective solution to categorizing the products and contents of the website.
Before weCreate had the opportunity to build an eCommerce solution for the Cathedral Prep Spirit Store, the Cathedral Prep brand had already been around and increasing in relevance for 100 years. We were given access to the institution’s brand standards manual, which outlined the proper usage of various brand elements. Additionally, the school’s website was a great reference. Our experienced design team matched the look and feel of the main website while designing the new eCommerce branch. Referencing the brand standards and existing website made our typeface selection a piece of cake. Clear brand guidelines show the importance of building a good brand for your business or institution. Hours of back and forth can be eliminated by properly developing your brand for future marketing and website projects. Learn how weCreate can help you create the brand of your dreams here.
While selecting photography, Cathedral Prep wanted to highlight the school’s elite athletic programs. Prep’s marketing team provided us with numerous options to choose from. After receiving the images, our design team selected the most aesthetically pleasing options to feature throughout the eCommerce website. High-quality photography is vital to the design of an appealing website. At weCreate, we always recommend utilizing custom photography to take your website to the next level.
Website Layout & User Experience
When creating an eCommerce website, there are numerous things to remember. First and foremost, you need your website to be user-friendly and mobile-responsive. Having a website that is hard to navigate, confusing, and not responsive is downright unacceptable in the modern age of marketing. Accessibility is more important than ever. Our experienced team has extensive knowledge in all areas of proper website design. weCreate emphasizes user experience and usability with our design and development of websites. While working with Cathedral Prep, we designed the website with every one of these principles in mind.
V. The Functionality of Cathedral Prep’s eCommerce Website
While designing the Cathedral Prep Spirit Store website, we kept several valuable features and tools in mind. Incorporating these features into the website enhanced the customer’s shopping experience and the eCommerce website management for our client. Read below some of the features we include on the Cathedral Prep Spirit Store website.
A website is a tremendous asset to any business or institution, but what if you could use a website to sell products? That’s where eCommerce comes in. Suddenly, you have an additional revenue stream. Your reach is more widespread than you could’ve ever imagined. You can sell products to anyone, anywhere. Since launching its new website, Cathedral Prep has sold and shipped products nationwide.
Looking for a Prep Football shirt? Do you need a school uniform for your son or daughter starting school in the fall? You can easily access these items through the website’s well-thought-out navigation structure, but there’s an even quicker way to find the product you are searching for. Enter the site search functionality built into the Cathedral Prep website. Our development team included the ability to search the website for keywords. You will have no problem finding that Villa Maria Academy Alumni shirt you sought.
Like any good eCommerce website, the Cathedral Prep Spirit Store has advanced filtering capabilities. Usability is always top-of-mind while designing websites. Our agency finds that giving the customer various filters increases the likelihood they find what they are precisely searching for. You can sort by color, size, collection, school, and more on the Spirit Store website. Finding the right product should be no issue for the customer.
Google Analytics & Google Search Console Tracking Codes
Understanding your website traffic is a critical component of marketing. Google Analytics tracks and reports website traffic. It gives businesses insights into how users interact with their website, the number of unique users your website has, the source of the website traffic, the pages they are visiting, the amount of time spent on the website, and much more. Google Analytics is a powerful tool companies use to gather insight about website visitors. The best part about Google Analytics is that it’s free. You can access a dashboard with various metrics and data about your website traffic. weCreate sets up Google Analytics for every website we build if it has not already been set up on your old or existing website. In addition, Google Search Console provides valuable insights into the site’s performance in organic search. We can see the keywords visitors search for before getting to the website and gather information about the volume of those searches.
VI. Ongoing Results
After launching the new Spirit Store eCommerce website, Cathedral Prep started getting hits and making sales. Due to the eCommerce website’s success, weCreate has continued our relationship with Cathedral Prep. Once Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria merged into one school, our team made significant changes to the website to match the institution’s direction. As a result of the merger, Cathedral Prep went through a minor rebrand. In addition, our design team worked closely with the Cathedral Prep marketing team to update various elements on the eCommerce website. From day one, weCreate has been honored to work with a school as reputable as Cathedral Prep, and our team is looking forward to continuing working with their team moving forward. To learn more about how we can apply this process for your eCommerce business, contact weCreate today.
weCreate’s eCommerce website design services helped Cathedral Prep launch a successful eCommerce website that sells nationwide. The project’s success lies within the expertise weCreate brought to the table by incorporating modern design with a focus on user experience and the development team’s ability to create an eCommerce solution that is easy to maintain. If you want more information about this project or are looking for an eCommerce solution for your business or institution, contact weCreate Website Design and Marketing today!