King Arthur Baking rises to the challenges of DTC.
Their approach had always been: “Sell the world of baking, and the flour will sell itself.” It worked for them for over 200 years, now we just had to make it work in the digital marketplace.
Where do you start with a company that’s been at the top of its class for centuries?
Sure, King Arthur makes and sells the best flour in the market, but it’s also true that they provide a huge support network to the country’s aspiring bakers, whether they’re customers or not. And, to top it off, they’ve got a boundless selection of baking-friendly products that give hobbyists and professionals the tools they need to fill their lives with the joy of bread.
We took a look at what made them great in the first place, and aimed to extend that greatness into a refreshed digital experience for the historic, employee-owned brand.
When we engaged with King Arthur on this project, we had already been working with them for a few years…mostly by creating a series of videos that were designed to show the company for what it was: a values-driven, employee-owned B-corp that was about more than just flour.
Those prior projects were crucial in forming and deepening our understanding of what the company really was. It gave us a leg up when it was time to create a beautiful and robust website interface that could support that truth, while giving customers and aspiring bakers the information they needed, when and where they needed it.
We collaborated with King Arthur to develop a list of must-haves and critical areas that the new website should address.
In examining the customer experience, we knew that the legacy site was not built with the company’s large amount of mobile-based users in mind. Quite often, these users were accessing recipe and support pages from their tablets in the kitchen, so considering their experience was an important endeavor.
We also identified a critical need for better adherence to ADA compliance. Large swaths of King Arthur’s customers were on the higher end of the age spectrum, which meant taking extra care to deliver an experience that was legible, usable, and ultimately delightful.
A website’s “experience” isn’t always limited to the consumer journey. With a site that’s so heavily reliant on regular content updates, we also wanted to create a more friendly experience for the admins who were responsible for maintaining the site. Ensuring that pages were beautiful and complex was important, but pages also needed to be broken down into individual components that could be easily recombined to create different, unique page layouts.
This component-based thinking, commonly referred to in our industry as “Atomic Design”, provides an exceedingly flexible method for a company’s digital staff to create new pages on the fly, update specific sections of existing pages, and tailor new content to a specific need. Doesn’t that sound better than working with whatever rigid page templates you’re stuck with?
If people eat with their eyes, they’re going to shop for their food the same way.
Have you ever stopped to notice how rare it is that you think of flour as being actual food? As veterans of the baking business, King Arthur is acutely aware of the fact that flour is just a building block with which people make beautiful, delicious foods for all occasions. They wanted their website to reflect that knowledge.
Our research revealed that an overwhelming majority of traffic to the legacy site went directly to recipe pages. When we visited those pages, we noticed that there was a huge opportunity to seed relevant product prompts directly next to the recipe content, making the user experience feel thoughtful, helpful, and intuitive.
From there, users would land on a product detail page that needed to do more than just deliver the basic product information needed to make a considered purchase. We collaborated with King Arthur’s team to implement good, repeatable systems that would outfit key product pages with content that tells a complete product story.
Prioritize ADA users and administrators, and you’ll create a flexible experience that’s accessible to all.
We have a firm belief that a website is only as strong as the users’ ability access, and the admins’ ability to update. This project exemplifies that belief, as we prioritized ADA compliance over all but the most foundational brand guidelines. We also created an interactive style guide that maps website page components in a clear and organized way that supports admins when creating pages and other site content.
As King Arthur’s digital partners, our role (on paper) for this project was to help an established brand with an existing direct-to-consumer business level their systems up and increase the overall experience for their customers. That we were also able to make life easier for internal staffers, and nurture some of the less obvious use-cases of the site is just icing on the cake.