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Your site aesthetic is an important part of your overall brand experience. It is how customers first perceive your business and it serves as a visual communication tool, helping customers to identify with or form strong loyalty to your brand, all without an actual in-person touchpoint.

And in an omnichannel shopping environment, this is an important task. Shoppers are utilizing both physical and digital storefronts in new ways. Some two-thirds of Pinterest users look up Pins while shopping in store. Mobile-local search is drawing in crowds full of tourists or city explorers, making both your brick-and-mortar and SEO efforts equally important. And the popularity of order online, pickup in store options akin to that of Home Depot’s is yet another proof point of a quickly changing commerce environment.

In all, your brand needs to utilize every single customer touchpoint as a function to generate loyalty, which is why omnichannel store Fortress of Inca launched a website redesign to better balance both their branded purpose and product –– all within six weeks time.

“We felt that our site didn’t represent the shoes we were making and the story behind them,” says Evan Streusand, founder and CEO of Fortress of Inca. “We wanted people to immediately understand who we were and what we were about the minute they landed on our home page.”

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Fortress of Inca’s new website

To give a bit of backstory, Fortress of Inca sells sustainably-sourced South American footwear made in Peru –– where the company offers fair wages to all shoemakers.

“We believe that the people who make our shoes are just as important as the people who buy them,” says Streusand. “We work with several workshops and factories in Peru. We audit and investigate every factory that makes shoes with us and we ask them questions. Lots of questions.”

Properly explaining this mission to potential new customers is important, but so is the Fortress of Inca product. The brand’s former website pushed all sustainability messages to the top, making the brand’s philanthropic purpose paramount.

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Fortress of Inca’s old website

With the redesign, Streusand knew his company “needed to do a better job of connecting the way our shoes are made with the shoes themselves.” So he and old friend Shauna Murland, a designer, went to work on the new concept which would end up affecting nearly every page on the site.

“We added a banner for email signups on certain pages, and that has had a big effect,” says Streusand. “Our homepage now has a graphic that displays our brand tenets, and below that some boxes that allow us to highlight new things that we have going on. We also added a feed of the last five images from our Instagram feed at the bottom that keeps the homepage fresh. Product pages now have little tabs next to the product to view more info, as opposed to having to scroll down to the bottom like on our last site.”

In all, Streusand’s vision was to create a holistic brand image not solely focused on product or purpose, but one instead that utilizes both aspects of his business, as well as the community, to bolster support, increase sales and build brand loyalty for the long run.

“Conversions have gone up and users are staying an average of 30 seconds longer,” says Streusand. “Now, you come to our site and you totally understand what we’re all about: making shoes by hand in Peru, paying people excellent living wages and creating something that lasts. We even use a woven strip of Inca fabric to separate sections of our homepage. It’s a nice way to tie it all together.”

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  • karly evans

    Woah, that’s an interesting stuff, Tracey!

    The case study of Fortress of Inca is quite inspiring. Website design and its outlook has a great impact on its customers and clients. So one must work to build an enchanting design for the site. Specifically for big brands that require consumer attraction.

    If your company has a logo, and that logo is utilized frequently in print materials, then the logo, logo brand colors, brand messaging and imagery used for print must be carried over into the website design.It is important for your customers to be able to recognize your brand in all forms of commuication so they associate your brand position and promise with your business.

    I just shared my thoughts. Hope you like this.

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