Wednesday, June 5, 2013

INTRODUCING: WineShoe Atlanta

Open the site and you're there - this is WineShoe decked out for  a  paired wine/cheese tasting.

When I received an email from Nora Wiley with an RFP for a new website, the first question in my head is, "Where did she come up with "Wine Shoe"?

The Answer:  someone in the City of Atlanta made a typo in her applications for a wine shoP.  After a ton of red tape and still no correction, she decided to leave the name as is.  WineShoe Atlanta was born.

WineShoe is a boutique wine store, wine classroom, and event facility in Castleberry Hill, on the ground floor of the Castleberry Point Lofts.    Castleberry Hill was an industrial district in the 1920s and has been revitalized as the hippest, coolest, artistic  sector of the city.  Think Rent or La Boheme.  Think Flashdance.  Except these factories-converted-to-lofts are far more upscale.

Nora collects wine from "off the beaten path" vineyards all around the world and hosts tasting classes in the shop.  Not only frequented by locals, it is a popular destination with downtown employees who work within walking distance and tourists soaking up the funky art-community atmosphere.  Visitors from Georgia to as far away as New Zealand have booked her wine tasting classes weeks in advance.

WineShoe Atlanta is the kind of project website designers drool over.  My only directive was "Be creative." has to reflect and portray the creative, artistic, and hip neighborhood where it resides.

The website is based on WordPress with a custom theme that goes beyond the standard trap of giant rectangle color blocks and an obligatory generic slideshow.  Nora has collected an impressive library of images from her professional photographer friends.  Those images became the backgrounds of the site:  there is no need for a photo gallery.  The fun and finesse of WineShoe comes through on every page.

From a functional standpoint there were two critical elements.  The site had to have an impressive mobile component.  More than 15% of WineShoe's visitors are using a mobile device - a huge percentage, even factoring in the recent jump in tablet usage.  Most sites in my repetoire average 5-7% mobile usage, even with mobile friendly features.

WineShoe's mobile website with the menu expanded.
All functions available on the desktop/laptop site are  usable on tablets and smartphones.
An essential for a destination for shoppers on the go, whether from work, or visiting tourists.
iPhone/iPad users can add a desktop icon to their device to access the site quickly and linked phone numbers  make calling the shop easy with just one tap.
The website also needed an on-board event ticketing system where visitors register for classes and the Nora can manage the reservations.  Before now, they were using Booking Bug which was too awkward and not very engaging.  The current system combines event ticketing with eCommerce.  It even accommodates the Living Social, Groupon, and SweetJack deal vouchers available periodically.  It is now very easy to book a wine class, or several, and check out securely.

It is also easy to book WineShoe for private parties and corporate events.

It takes less than a minute to securely register for a wine tasting class at WineShoe.
Nora reports that business is up since the new WineShoe debuted.  She even booked two weddings in record time.  Oh wait, didn't I mention the weddings?  Adjacent to WineShoe is a gallery called "The Wiley" that has become the hottest indie wedding venue in the area.  Nora offers wine tasting activities for bachelorette parties and as part of the wedding reception.  Now that WineShoe is launched, the next project is its companion site:  Wine Shoe Weddings.  I expect that one to debut in a few weeks.


No comments: