Officine 904 is a fashion and design studio specialized in bags and accessories. Based in two of the most touristic Italian cities, Pienza and Venezia, the young brand has built a solid business in just four years. In the spring of 2014, the two founders, Silvia and Paolo, approached me to shoot their latest lookbook in Pienza.
During my stay, Silvia and Paolo, shared their difficulties in growing online sales and their dissatisfaction with their current website. Their online presence was in need of a fresh spin so I decided to take the challenge and dived into a redesign exercise.
To start off I spent a few days within a brick and mortar store to identify buying behaviours. I collected details such as the questions customers were asking, the amount of time they spent in the store and the reasons they choose a specific product over another one.
I also conducted several interviews with the two founders, a franchisee and a sales representative to get more insights into the buying process from their perspective.
The interactions between costumers and the sales team were fundamental for successful purchases. The large majority of clients made an average of two visits to the store before buying anything and asked many questions before any final decision. I observed a pattern in the questions clients made: many of them were concerned by the leather origin, the cleaning methods, the quality of the product and the story behind the designers and designs
Once I got a better understanding of the pain points and main issues I should tackle, I started by drawing some sketches to quickly determine the new site map and the dwelved into wireframing.
I restructured the navigation, stripped down the homepage to the most essential content such as the latest collection lookbook, and added a short founders bio to the homepage.
In doing so I wanted to focus on the products as well as on the makers, thus creating a real connection between the buyer and the people behind the product.
In the shop section I streamlined the navigation to make it easier to browse between items and filter them.
To translate the in-store experience and replace the sales rep knowledge I introduced new content to single product pages. Each single product page contains detailed information of the product material and origin, care instructions and finally an editorial section on the inspiration behind the design.
I had shot all the lookbook images with a new website in mind. I wanted them to be as minimalist as possible to allow the product to shine.
To create contrast with the bold patterns and colors of the bracelets and scarves I shot all images against a white background with only natural lighting and purposely left a lot of white space in each frame.
The actual website product page is simple and easy to use but lacks a lot of information. To replace the advice of the in-store sales team I included in the single product page a section dedicated to the product design inspiration, the material origins and care instructions. To entice further sales three other recommended products are now available at the end of the page.
The in-store experience, sales team knowledge and personal touch are hard to replicate online, but they can certainly be translated through clever storytelling, well thought user experience and good aesthetic.
The project is not without its faults, as my first redesign it made me realize the amount of work and time that this type of assignment demands. I hope that this short exercise will inspire Officine 904 to further embrace the digital space.