They approached us about building an e-commerce website that was easy to administer for their warehouse team and would allow them to push their branding and marketing efforts with a quality front end development.
Coal has a unique brand infrastructure. They have a staff of about 5-8 people depending on the season and a handful of contractors. They are also a part of distribution company that manages a couple other brands in the same vertical. They share resources like office space and warehousing, but for the most part, each brand is run autonomously.
During our project planning meetings, we started off with the client project owner, the graphic designer, the social media marketing strategist and the warehouse manager. Our team consisted only of me as the lead programmer and my brother who is director of business development (basically 2 people with funny made up job titles). After the kickoff meeting, we left their office in Seattle and we returned to ours in Portland Oregon, eager to get started. We drafted our project service agreement like any other "waterfall" style project, we projected milestones to keep on track and establish pay structure and estimated a project budget based on the scope of work to be rendered.
Here are a few of the key components/goals that we felt needed to be included into the project:
- Mobile adaptive website
- Easy to use shopping cart experience for the end user
- Easy to admin e-commerce
- Group product by collections and season
- Multiple color views per product
- Easy to update seasonal marketing and campaign initiaitives
- Seasonal Lookbook Videos and Photos
- Social media integration
- Behavioral event and Campaign tracking in Google Analytics
- Ability find retail stores that carry Coal products
- Adhere to brand aesthetics
- The WOW factor!
Although we gave ourselves a fair amount of time to complete the website, Coal is a seasonal company with marketing deadlines that cannot be delayed. We also build websites for the other brands in the distribution company, and they too are seasonal so we really had to dedicate ourselves to project management and getting things done. As the project progressed, we would work individually with each respective liaison from Coal. We worked closely with the branding designer to establish a guideline that would be suitable for the web in both desktop and mobile devices with a particular focus on how Drupal Commerce would fit into our designs. We worked with the social media strategist to get the perfect custom Tweet, the best product photo for Pinterest, Likes and Shares on Facebook, Google campaign and event tracking and other data. We then met with content developers and mapped out our workflow and product import process. Many facets of the project would overlap and some worked in tandem. At times there were learning curves, especially when hooking our custom modules into Drupal Commerce, but all in all we worked through the problems or were able to find a solution that was acceptable by both us and the Coal team.
We were able to soft launch internally and prepare marketing assets for the public project launch on schedule.