Ecommerce Case Study Anna Shea Chocolates

Background
Anna Shea Chocolates is a brick and mortar store located in the Arboretum of South Barrington. Their goal is "to work side by side with a highly trained team that is dedicated to making the finest chocolate in the world." They set out to make incredible artisan chocolate and wanted to be able to reach out to the enlarged customer base an internet website would provide so they could grow their business. Their vast visual array of chocolates, caramels and candies with accompanying descriptions and content list is truly impressive and definitely gourmet. This website represents Anna Shea Chocolates' ability to reach customers anywhere with online ordering and shipping capabilities.

In collaboration with ten26design we set out to make the website with them doing the visual design work and SYDCON taking care of programming what was visually designed into a functional website.

Objectives
Anna Shea Chocolates needed a visual representation of their chocolates displayed along with the capabilities of online ordering, custom-chosen chocolate boxes, as well as a fully functional Content Management System (CMS) for site administration. The following objectives were outlined to SYDCON before the project was started:

  • Program the website
  • Store a visual representation of the client's chocolate inside a database
  • Custom program a shopping cart
  • Program a Content Management System (CMS) capable of monitoring, editing and adding to the site by an administrator

Methodology
We used PHP scripting language processing to code the website and make it user-accessible. PHP is able to work on multiple platforms, making it the most productive of the scripting languages. We are able to effectively program with PHP due to our staffing developers with talents in multiple scripting languages and other areas of web development and programming.

Anna Shea Chocolates received a quote from us complete with a description of the development method we would employ towards their project. Mutual agreement was established and we began developing the website.

One lead designer and two expert programmers composed our development team for this project and took the following steps in its development:

  • Site goals communicated
  • Content Management System programmed
  • Populated the database with each individual chocolate made by the client
  • Displayed the chocolates contained in the database on the developed front end of the website which separates all aspects of the business into unique and descriptive tabs
  • Used authorize.net to program the E-Commerce interface
  • Showed the client their completed website
  • Launched the website on the contracted day

Technical Approach
This project utilized PHP, CSS, HTML, and jQuery scripting languages to program the website into a working entity. A MySQL backend contains all desired information and allows administrative access and ability such as listing different types of boxes and chocolates, adding new product, and managing orders from onsite. An authorize.net E-Commerce API allows customers to make online purchases and ship them anywhere. It also possesses the ability to approve or decline customer transactions as well as recognize user-entered promotional codes for discounts.

Results
This collaborative project has been completed to the client's satisfaction.

  • Anna Shea Chocolates now has an online hub through which website users can order their product
  • Users can easily scroll through each individual sweet offered on the website as well as choose from pre-packaged or custom boxes of individually-chosen chocolates and add them to their cart
  • Staff is able to maintain the website and update their blog with ease through the custom-developed Content Management System
  • The website has been effective for marketing and for shipping online orders throughout the country

We work with and maintain the company's website as needed.

The factors that allowed for the success of our work with Anna Shea Chocolates are as follows:

  • The careful articulation of Anna Shea Chocolates in reference to their objectives for this specific project
  • Anna Shea Chocolates' time taken to work with SYDCON through site development and ten26design's collaborative efforts to help with site design
  • Understanding, talent, and dedication of SYDCON staff

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