Seattle Chocolate

Custom Squarespace and Magento Website

Seattle Chocolate's extensive line of gourmet, all natural chocolates can be found at more than 8,000 grocery stores nationwide. They also maintain a large online store for not only their main product line, but also for JCoCo, their premium brand. The company’s marketing team has always had a strong vision for their web presence and needed to find a development partner who could deliver on it.

In addition to their substantial e-commerce needs, the Seattle Chocolate site has a number of other requirements. Their shipping forms, for example, require some advanced functionality to mitigate the risks of shipping perishable chocolates. The company also relies on integrations with their fulfillment and accounting systems to keep things moving smoothly. Plus, the site serves as an outlet for a steady stream of content about the company’s products, promotions, and philanthropic activities.

Seattle Chocolate had previously contracted with a digital marketing agency for their development but found that it wasn’t quite the right fit. The internal marketing team had their vision and strategy well in hand, they just needed a technical partner to execute their plans. When they came to us in 2009, we deployed a development team and got straight to work.

Custom Magento Store and Drupal CMS Solution

Our initial engagement with Seattle Chocolate centered around getting them set up on a Magento for eCommerce and Drupal for marketing content. Working with the open source tools we know best, we were able to leverage our expertise with both platforms. We built the main Seattle Chocolate store, plus a sub-store for JCoCo (and the now-retired J. Truffles brand). Our developers built integrations with their third-party systems, and we delivered a publishing toolkit that made it easy for their marketing team to manage their content.

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Website Redesign

Working with external design firms, we’ve implemented several full refreshes to the front-end of the site. The most recent redesign was also fully responsive, which has boosted mobile traffic to their site considerably.

To support the marketing team’s efforts to build community among Seattle Chocolate's customers, we helped them incorporate a number of social features into their site. For example, we built a section of the site for chocolate-inspired recipes with built-in social sharing options.

When the marketing team brought in a search engine optimization consultant, we worked with them to reengineer the way their SEO is processed across their entire site.

Updates

An updated website design and UX, which also includes mobile responsive layouts.

Integrated social marketing tools.

Reformatted website architecture to support SEO.

A CMS Migration to Squarespace

Seattle Chocolate had previously been managing the content marketing side of their website from a Drupal CMS. They had spun up a tour and event microsite in the Squarespace CMS, and enjoyed the simplicity of using that SaaS platform to the point that they decided to migrate the rest of their website to Squarespace. Establishing the new Seattle Chocolate on Squarespace was a simple process, and was accomplished by their internal team without requiring development.

Crafting the Appearance of a Single Domain

Magento and Drupal 7– their previous CMS – are both open source platforms, and could run from the same domain. This meant that although their website was managed from two different platforms, the Seattle Chocolate customers would see it as one site.

Their new CMS, Squarespace, is a SaaS and not open source. It’s hosted in the Squarespace environment, which our web operations team had no access to. To maintain the image of Seattle Chocolate as a holistic website, we approached the issue using an Apache Web Server feature.

While we didn’t have access to the Squarespace system, we did have full access to Magento’s systems. This allowed us to place Magento’s server at the domain root, and use Mod-proxy to route any incoming traffic to Squarespace CMS. The URL remains the same seattlechocolate.com to the customer as they move between Magento and Squarespace.

A Magento eCommerce Migration in 2018

After project scoping with their team, they determined that updating their Magento platform from version 1.0 to 2.0 would improve their website’s security, administrative management experience, customer checkout flow, and post-order processing. Magento migrations from version 1.0 to 2.0 are a large project on the theme layer. However, Magento provides great tools to help with the data migration. This allows us to quickly port customer accounts, product attributes and media, product catalogs, store configuration, and general content over to Magento 2.0.

Seattle Chocolate uses Syspro as their primary ERP and order processing tool. Through an integration, Magento provides transaction details to the ERP and is sent back status updates on order fulfillment.