10 years ago when we opened the Acorn Gallery we knew we needed a website. We found a suitable hosting platform and we built it. It was easy!
For 10 years our website has served us well. We have had fantastic feedback week in and week out. Our customers have always said that they love how simple our website is. It is quick to load, it has nice clear images and 'it does what it says on the tin'.
With regular feedback like this it was a very difficult decision for us to make when we finally came to the conclusion that we needed a new website.
'But why?' I hear you ask!
Why do you need to change something your customers like so much?
We have been aware for several years that technology is advancing at quite a pace and our website isn't quite as versatile as more modern platforms.
Google is such a major factor in today's online market place and we knew that Google was struggling to process the information we were uploading. This forced our hand and made us look closer at other website options.
We learned very quickly that there are a lot of web designers out there who profess to be able to get us a presence on the hallowed 'first page of Google'! Unfortunately they also want carte blanche over your wallet as the prices we were quoted were often around £4K.
We decided to explore other avenues...
It was a conversation with Simon of The Soapy Group right here in Pocklington which opened up the inkling of a good possibility and a chink of light appeared at the end of the Google Tunnel! Simon explained how they can build a website for us using the popular Shopify platform which is very versatile and adaptable and significantly less expensive than a custom built site.He offered to put together something for us to look at to give us more of an insight as to what was possible. We agreed.
A week later we were looking at a prima facie mock-up of a potential new Shopify website for The Acorn Gallery. This is where it got exciting... but also scary!
We had made it very clear that we wanted to keep all the benefits of the old site but just add in the benefits of the new platform. Given the consistent positive feedback our old site had received, it was very important to us that we made the transition to a new site as clean and simple as possible.
For us this meant keeping the overall look and feel of the website as familiar as possible.
After many conflabs and much discussion we agreed for the Soapy Group to go ahead and create a full website for us using the Shopify platform as a base.
Bradley was our main man and he was responsible for building the main structure of the website and setting it up how we wanted it. There are lots of themes to choose from and he helped us find one which perfectly suited what we were looking for. Bradley also set up the first few collections and product pages and showed us how to navigate our way around the system. He even created a 'How To' Manual for us to keep for reference although we knew that he and Simon would be available at the end of the phone is we needed them :)
The next task was to populate the new website with information. Lovely Google friendly information, and images! (And heaven knows we had A LOT of images!).
We choose to upload the artwork ourselves in order to familiarise ourselves with the layout and Shopify's back office administration. This also kept the bill to a minimum as it would be a very time consuming exercise.
It took approximately six weeks of day-in, day-out, and evening work to get all 3500 products created and completed but we were very pleased with the way the site was looking!
One of the exciting new features is that it can show multiple images for each piece. This means that we can now show you not only the image but also the frame and even close-up and detail shots where possible!
At last we were ready to go live... and we pressed the button!
One of our first tasks was to send an email to our customers letting them know about the new site and asking them to visit and give us their feedback... We put out a Facebook post and twitter too!
Then we waited for the first few comments to start rolling in...
So far the feedback has been very positive and 'fresh yet familiar' seems to be the overriding conclusion! (Phew! That is SUCH a relief!).
Work on the website is far from complete as we are still working in the background on the SEO and of course there are always new pieces to add on and new collections to tell you about. So far the Shopify system is working very well and we are very pleased with the results!
If you have any comments on the new Acorn Gallery website then feel free to email us - we'd love to hear from you :)