Sawyer Sewing is a retail store, based on Douglas Street in Victoria,BC, which specializes in the sale of sewing machines and related accessories, as well as servicing and repairs. Founded in 1953 by Marion and David Sawyer and currently run by their grandson Jarret, it remains a family business up until this day. They boast one of the largest selections of sewing machines, parts, and accessories on Vancouver Island, enjoying a growing reputation, helped in part by their excellent customer service and repair services.
The Situation - then
Sawyer Sewing had very little control over their old site and were growing increasingly frustrated with its ineffectiveness. Working with a sole designer, they had to run every change through him first, making it difficult to implement any changes, and leading to an outdated site that wasn’t providing value or bringing in sales.
Now, they have the ability to make changes at will using our custom CMS, as well as a wide range of e-commerce capabilities. These new features have made it possible for customers to purchase sewing equipment through their site smoothly and easily —something that has helped maintain their business throughout 2020. In previous years, when their physical store wasfully operational, customers have come in and purchased products based on what they’ve seen on the website.
Initially the site we built was purely an inventory site, and as such, we put a focus on displaying the products in a way that both showcased their value and made them easy to browse for their customers. The homepage had to be the focal point of this, so we designed a header slideshow that would allow Jarret to add his own pictures or choose to highlight certain clearance products based on availability. A key part of building this was the construction of custom fields to showcase the products. Not only did this make it possible to differentiate between their main sewing machine products and their accessories and other options, but it alsomade it possible to highlight clearance items and sale prices. These would often be conveyed by crossing out the old price - a dramatic and effective graphic choice that we were able to make eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing.
To take advantage of the full potential of the site, we were able to build in e-commerce capabilities. This meant integrating a shopping cart into the website, and developing an e-commerce package that worked to highlight what makes Sawyer Sewing successful. A particular point of emphasis was making sure the in-store experience was still front and center - this led us to decide to only offer select products for purchase through the website, with others needing to be bought in-store.
A large part of that in-store value is built on the fact Sawyer Sewing is more than just a sewing store - they also offer a wide range of classes and clubs. Because these were all structured and scheduled differently, we needed to create a custom calendar that could be displayed on the website. This was probably the most challenging aspect of the design process, but when it was completed we had an intuitive and user-friendly way for people to see all the various events, with information for dates, start time, instructors, and more, taking place.
In addition to these features, we also designed the following:
- A mobile-first responsive design, optimized to display well on all devices from smartphones through to desktops
- An easy to manage CMS (Content Management System)
- Credit card security protocols
- Custom shopping cart
- Custom events calendar
- Easy to remove old products from displaying on the website
- Flat rate shipping
- Header slideshow
- Improved and user-friendlyshipping and billing address forms
- In-store pickup option at checkout -promoting the local location, and saving both the client and user on shipping
- New fields and summaries for products
- Personal support
- Product schema, doing the heavy lifting behind the scenes for search engines
- SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) for enhanced security
- The ability to post new products, complete with images and descriptions
- The option to have multiple featured products on the home page, with a flexible display
Developing the custom fields and calendar definitely posed a challenge, but the end results have been tremendously successful. Jarrett was a joy to work with, open to our suggestions when it came to functionality and design. Since the site launched, we’ve kept in close contact with him, and developed a tremendous working relationship. This has really helped when it comes to making changes to further improve the site, Jarrett is open to improvements to build on the success and we're happy to make his website even more successful.
- Responsive website design
- Custom website design
- Customized product inventory
- Full content management system
- Image hosting and management
- Document hosting and management
- Custom jQuery
- Customizable meta tags
- SEO site content tailoring
- Social network integration
- Google+ Local Listing
- New page creation
- News item management
“Because of this website I’m getting sales that I never would have gotten otherwise, especially from far-flung communities. As a result, the business was also more than prepared for Covid-19, and the website Radar Hill built is directly responsible for keeping the business afloat. We’ve had staggering record sales, which would not have happened without the website. Having a website with Radar Hill has been awesome. It is a bit of an expense to get it all up and running, but well worth the money as the results have been great. Getting a new site is one of those things that I should have done years ago. There was no stress whatsoever. People say they come into the store because they saw an ad or product on the website, and I never had that before. I also have people calling weekly saying that they are on my website, and asking about classes or clearance items. Working with Radar Hill has been so easy and very casual. I probably bug Dan too much, but one thing I like is always dealing with a person. I never feel like an inconvenience, and I like that my ideas are listened to. I brag about Radar Hill all the time, and we've been getting compliments about the website, that's been wonderful. I'm very happy."Jarret Sawyer, Sawyer Sewing