Giants in the business of cycling, Race Face and Easton Cycle are sister companies that have earned reputations as detail-oriented innovators with quality products. To most visitors, their existing sites were well designed, but the companies wanted their ethos of superior product design and innovation to be better represented in their web experience.
There were two clear goals: launch into the market with stunning aesthetics that would capture their target audience; and build a strong customizable e-commerce foundation to enable online purchasing and facilitate future integration with warehousing while managing the complexities of their products. At no stage was there any room for compromise on design or functionality.
Race Face and Easton Cycling have stand-alone websites with unique product lines that cater to distinct market segments, but their sites share similar user groups: dealers, distributors, athletes, cycling enthusiasts and internal stakeholders. These tech-savvy clients wanted a variety of ways to present their content—and they had absolutely no appetite for cookie-cutter e-commerce templates that dictate how their products are displayed.
Our ultimate focus for this project was to create an awesome user experience for all five user groups. Using the right e-commerce platform for this project was crucial to delivering this experience. While many retailers are using Shopify and similar platforms for their e-commerce needs, these systems can't tackle complex product data presentation and workflow requirements. Expression, our web experience management (WEM) software, was the ideal solution to build these two sites on and ensured a future friendly long-term digital asset.
With Expression as the technology foundation, our team shifted into first gear and analyzed the two clients’ complex business needs—many of which differed between Easton and Race Face. This resulted in our team analyzing how to manage these differences with distinct product management styles and levels of controls specific to each company’s needs.
We defined a long list of needs and wants for the front-end users (consumers and registered dealers/distributors) and back-end administrators, and presented our solution in various stages of wireframing. This phase of analysis and planning got all the stakeholders aligned on business goals and processes, as well as desired user journeys through the sites, and freed the design team to focus on a clean and beautiful UX design. The results speak for themselves.
What was important to the users and administrators?
Dealers, Distributors and Athletes (front-end)
The flexible and robust nature of Expression positioned us to build granular control for administrators over content. By selecting building blocks (i.e. carousels, videos, two column text layout, text callout, imagery, etc.) administrators essentially design their own templates for how the content is displayed on the front-end. This authority extends to e-commerce product management, custom fields/attributes and order management for dealers and distributors, to name only a few.
The greatest challenge of the project was presenting a wide range of product information in a single page that is rich in content and interesting for users to peruse and digest. For example, a single bike component product listing is comprised of multiple product images, video, specs, customer reviews, a dealer locator map and related products.
“Today, we have enhanced our ability to share our in-house expertise with our customers- enabling us to strengthen our reputation as a leading authority on cycling.”
- Mike Starkey -
Vice President of Information Systems at Performance Bicycle
Back-end workflows needed to be simple and efficient for Easton Cycling and Race Face staff to maintain and manage over time. To make the task more challenging, we needed to ensure the sites would scale as the company's’ needs increase over the long term. This customization was a feat of development and is part of what makes these sites so impressive.
It turns out our team at Backbone has a lot in common with Easton Cycling and Race Face. There’s an incredible similarity between our approach to developing sites and how they design their products: we marry rigorous analysis and engineering with elegant, intelligent design to create an intuitive and optimized user experience.
Equipped with exceptionally powerful and aesthetically appealing sites, Easton Cycling and Race Face are now positioned to breakaway from their competitors in the mid-market. Teamed with the intelligent and customized e-commerce solution, made possible by our Expression technology, they now have long-term digital assets that will grow with them, and serve as their strongest competitive advantage.