The Tatami Shop
Established in 1999, The Tatami Shop (TTS) is a local distributor offering high quality handmade tatami furnishings and floorings. For over 20 years, TTS’s retail outlet along East Coast Road has been the go-to location amongst tatami lovers for all things tatami.
Although their niche position has earned them a sizeable offline following over the years, TTS realised the need to develop a strong digital presence to capture a new generation of homeowners. As millennials come of age, more homeowners are becoming interested in all aspects of furniture beyond just function. This includes the benefits, material and how they are made.
TTS engaged Firstcom Solutions with the goal of revamping their website for two purposes. The first was to communicate the benefits of tatami furniture to potential audiences. The second was streamline their sales and services to meet the needs of online consumers.
FirstCom Solutions Contribution
Project Background and Description
The Tatami Shop’s (TTS) business mainly revolves around their brink and mortar shop catering to a niche market of consumers seeking out tatami products. As most of their customers were gain either through word of mouth or referrals, the original website was simply there to display information about the shop and products. Customers who wished to purchase products would have to physically visit the store in order to do so.
TTS also offers a lifetime annual cleaning service for all their products. Customers who wished to take advantage of the service were required to book an appointment in advance via phone or email. It was a slow process which required the customer to seek out TTS’s contact information on their website, followed by launching their emailing application or phone before successfully booking an appointment.
In order to attract millennials and capture a share of the young consumer market, TTS would need to revamp their online experience from the ground up to keep visitors interested and facilitate faster service transactions. Firstcom came on to provide consultation and develop a website as well as e-commerce platform that would help TTS achieve their business goals.
TTS’s original website had a dated look and functioned purely as a place to display information that customers might need. The website was poor by modern standards with alignment and scaling issues meaning it could not be viewed reliably on all devices. Furthermore, information was laid out without care for the visitor’s web experience, meaning that the user had to take extra time and effort to navigate the website and find what they need in an online world of fast and snappy experience, this was unacceptable.
The appointment system for TTS’s annual cleaning service was another point of contention. Staff were taking appointments via email and phone while keeping manual records. With the revamp, it was a clear an automated booking, scheduling and tracking program was needed to keep up with the demand when the business scaled up.
Our challenge was threefold. Firstly, we needed to redesign an attractive website that would succinctly convey the benefits of tatami furniture to new consumers and encourage them to visit the retail outlet. Secondly, we needed to develop an e-commerce platform that would open up a digital channel for sales and add customer convenience. Lastly, we needed to create a booking system that would reduce the burden on staff as the business scaled up.
The Process and Insights
The first step of redesigning a website is to think about how the user will navigate the website and the type of information they are looking for.
The old website was fraught with alignment issue and had a busy design. Contrasting banners, advertisements and a distracting background meant every element on the page was fighting for user attention. The home page was underutilized with user having to navigate several tabs before being able to get product information.
(on the left) the old website had several alignment issues
A Sleek, Minimalist and Functional Redesign
For the redesigning, we opted for a sleek, minimalist look in line with the simple but functional principles exuded by tatami furniture. We opted for a neutral background that would not be overwhelming to the eye and introduced a scrolling homepage.
A scrolling homepage can be used to create a customised user journey for new customers.
By simply scrolling down, new visitors would be introduced to TTS’s bestselling product, an introduction to tatami lifestyle and customer testimonials. This was implemented with the goal of reducing the number of extra clicks and steps for a new visitor to access relevant information.