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Santa Monica Seafood has a tradition of high quality seafood and their previous website didn’t fully convey their growing home delivery channel. Guidance enhanced their online presence and brand experience with a new design while providing a quick go to market on BigCommerce. New integrations with shipping and a one-page checkout have helped create a seamless experience for their customers. With a new loyalty program, customers are incentivized to return for repeat purchases for increased LTV (Lifetime Value).
Since 1939 and for over four family generations, Santa Monica Seafood has grown to one of the top seafood distributors in California and beyond. Despite their growth, they have remained committed to their roots of quality, service and longterm ocean sustainability. Santa Monica Seafood prioritizes conservation efforts and investigates responsible fishing practises from all their suppliers to ensure their tradition of quality seafood can be maintained for generations to come.
Santa Monica Seafood’s founder first started fishing the waters of Santa Monica’s pier in the late 1800s and since then, the business has been providing fresh fish and seafood to Southern California and the US. The business has two retail locations and a wholesale distribution channel but with the changes in restaurant dining and stores closures brought on by 2020’s pandemic, Santa Monica Seafood embarked on a mission to grow their home delivery channel. As the times have changed over the last 100 years, the company has learned to adapt and evolve their offering and product selection. They worked with Guidance to quickly pivot their operations to feature home delivery services and at home meal-prep ideas to accommodate the changes in society.
Santa Monica Seafood’s previous website design featured neutral colors and a muted design. Seafood is bright and colorful and they wanted their website to reflect the beauty of the ocean’s bounty. They were searching for a new design that was sophisticated while also energetic and fun like the healthy and conscientious brand name they’ve established over the years. Guidance performed an analysis of Santa Monica Seafood’s target audience and based the design on those results. The new design had to portray Santa Monica Seafood as a brand that is elegant and trendy with roots in ocean sustainability. Large, hi-res imagery of the delicious foods, bold colors and an updated aesthetic with modern fonts brings the web presence in line with other top-shelf brands.
Based on Santa Monica Seafood’s bold logo aesthetic, Guidance created a new branding design that extends throughout the entire website. Bold, bright colors sampled from the iconography of the brand logo lend themselves to a visual language of orange interactive elements and blue navigational and informative ones. The deep charcoal header and footer color blocks bring the beautiful imagery to life and allow the brighter pops of color to punctuate the pages.
The new elevated visual design provides a more intuitive experience for Santa Monica Seafood’s customers. The design was built with the Cornerstone theme to provide a site that is easy to navigate and discover new products. The refreshed blog, powered by BigCommerce, is full of recipes to encourage the customer to return for new recipes and other useful content.
Unlike most creative redesigns, this project included one desktop homepage design and all further iterations would be interpreted and styled from that single design. Each design pattern established on the homepage had to work as a template for the rest of the site. Headers, body copy, buttons, etc all required a treatment that would work seamlessly across different locations and combinations throughout the site.
Given the complexities of shipping fresh food, the biggest challenge from a UX perspective was providing a hierarchy of products according to their shipment or in-store pick-up criteria. The original product list featured a combination of products with a mixed shipment or pick-up status which could lead to customer frustration at checkout. Guidance worked with Santa Monica Seafood to provide their customers with a clear shopping flow that ultimately helped streamline the operations and product offerings of the site.
In order to provide a solid ecosystem for their newly redesigned website, Santa Monica Seafood needed a cloud-based ecommerce platform with robust functionality and long-term scalability. Having outgrown their WooCommerce website, BigCommerce was the best choice for their regularly updated SaaS platform with unlimited integration potential. Guidance delivered a Sitemap, Information Architecture, Visual Design and Development with customizations within 90 days on BigCommerce.
The BigCommerce ecommerce platform improves responsiveness and overall customer satisfaction by automating systems and streamlining and reducing operational costs. As the platform is updated, the Santa Monica Seafood storefront gets the most recent version of the software automatically without costly cycles. By removing the need for IT maintenance of the server and network hardware, BigCommerce allows the merchant full flexibility to focus on the business logic and user experience to maximize resource investment.
Guidance developed custom widgets within the BigCommerce Page Builder in order to simplify content authoring and to ensure the integrity of the visual design. Page Builder enables merchandising across the homepage, category, blog and other content pages. With drag and drop functionality, the content team at Santa Monica Seafood can easily edit and merchandise their website without additional coding.
“Working with Guidance was a pleasure! Their development process went extremely smoothly and the store launched according to their timeline. We believe Guidance is a good choice for any merchant looking for professional custom development work.”
Shipping fresh/live seafood is very time-sensitive. This is especially true during summer months when delivery estimates need to be calculated with little to no room for error. Furthermore, given delivery cutoff times and select blackout dates, shipping rules for fresh food is a complicated process. Guidance integrated the ShipperHQ solution to help Santa Monica Seafood give their customers granular shipping estimates on all orders. BigCommerce provides a native integration to ShipperHQ which gives merchants a customizable, accurate and powerful shipping solution without the need for custom development. ShipperHQ optimizes the built-in BigCommerce checkout experience with flexible delivery options and completely tailors the experience to Santa Monica Seafood’s customer profile. This has meant reduced cart abandonment and dramatically increases the customer’s trust in ordering fresh seafood without compromising taste or quality.
As a result of the 2020 pandemic, Santa Monica Seafood saw a huge decrease in in-person restaurant traffic and a counterbalanced increase in food pick-up and delivery. Given the enormous shift from in-person restaurant operations to an entirely online experience, Guidance helped Santa Monica Seafood focus their efforts on product offerings, procedures and logistics. By selecting BigCommerce as their ecommerce platform, Santa Monica Seafood can establish a clearer separation between their restaurant and home delivery channels.
This has led to a much more understandable product offering and channel differentiation for a seamless customer experience. Guidance integrated additional payment options (PayPal) to give customers more choice and ensured a smooth transition to Authorize.net as the payment provider. Santa Monica Seafood can now support their local delivery and curbside pick-up as well as their home seafood delivery channels.
One of the most important parts of the conversion funnel is a smooth and quick checkout process. Santa Monica Seafood selected BigCommerce for its out of the box optimized one-page checkout page; it has been proven to increase checkouts as it contains minimal fields, a single page layout and an easily completed payment section. Furthermore, the BigCommerce one-page checkout is easily customized to Santa Monica Seafood’s specifications and unique business requirements. Guidance customized the one-page checkout to Santa Monica Seafood’s specifications with fields for extra delivery information and delivery instructions. In addition, customers can include gift messages during the checkout process.
Just as their loyalty to the ocean’s bounty is at Santa Monica Seafood’s core, so too is the importance they place on customer service. Guidance helped Santa Monica Seafood implement Smile.io as the loyalty and rewards program for their emphasis on niche audiences and brand building. This unique rewards program provides a seamless platform for customers to earn points towards discounts and other specials. Smile.io has helped incentivize repeat purchases, build brand loyalty and drive customer advocates for Santa Monica Seafood.
Santa Monica Seafood’s message of high quality seafood that is sustainability sourced and responsibly delivered to your doorstep has been fully realized through Guidance’s redesign and replatform on BigCommerce.
Guidance has helped Santa Monica Seafood pivot their operations into new channels to accommodate the new realities of the 2020 pandemic. The redesign showcases the product selection through colorful photography and the new platform provides a new opportunity for additional revenue channels through home delivery and BOPIS.
“The depth of expertise provided by the team at Guidance is impressive. They didn’t just develop a website for us, they worked with us to focus our ecommerce strategy applying their knowledge of best practices and standards.”
Santa Monica Seafood had an existing website but the company didn’t feel the neutral color palette and existing site structure was communicating the high quality brand their customers should experience across all touchpoints. Guidance enhanced the look and feel of the new website with a fresh design while providing a quick go to market on BigCommerce.
Guidance provided a customized checkout experience for Santa Monica Seafood’s customers with a one-page layout that includes fields for delivery notes and gift messaging. By integrating with ShipperHQ, customers who order seafood for home delivery will receive delivery dates and times to ensure optimal quality and freshness.
With the 2020 shift from in-restaurant dining to online ordering, Guidance helped Santa Monica Seafood focus their efforts on product offerings, procedures and logistics for the order online, pick-up in-store experience. This has led to a much more understandable online product offering and increased revenue through new channels.
Silver Winner - Best Visual Appeal – Experience