Venetian MoonWebsite Redesign/WooCommerce Integration
Venetian Moon, an award-winning Italian Restaurant located in Reading, Massachusetts, has been a North Shore favorite for years. Business was good but owner Lisa Cavallo was not happy with her website and couldn’t put her finger on what was bothering her. The challenge was to find out what it was and fix it.
Out of the darkness …
We sat down with Lisa and tossed a few design ideas around. The more we looked at the homepage the more we knew what was wrong. It was just too dark. The original objective was to convey a sense of warmth and intimacy but the image on the homepage looked more like a dungeon than a cozy dining room. We also determined that the logo that was designed for the website wasn’t being used. Our research confirmed what we already knew … once users see your homepage they will decide in under five seconds whether they want to stick around and explore the rest of the site. So, we went to work creating a design that would pull people in and get them to stay.
… and into the light
Restaurant websites present a unique challenge. The user experience should be visceral. The site should make your mouth water. So, we talked about how to accomplish that and together arrived at the obvious answer: feature high quality images of food. We tested a few different versions of the homepage – all of which featured a high-quality food image – and asked people for their first reaction. We gave our test users five seconds to look at the homepage before giving us their reactions. Some of the answers we heard were, “ok, now I’m hungry” and “boy that food looks good” and our favorite response, “are they open right now?” Mission accomplished.
Improved Mobile Experience
Web browsing via mobile devices has surpassed desktop browsing*. That’s why it was vital to ensure that the Venetian Moon website was well optimized for display on tablets and smartphones. Plus, research suggests that people searching for a restaurant on their phones are looking for a place to eat right now. That’s why we made sure to give mobile users what they need to make a decision: address and phone number, menu, and a map with a pin showing the restaurant’s exact location. And of course, it doesn’t hurt to show smiling people enjoying themselves.
*From the sixty day period August 29, 2018 through October 30, 2018 mobile usage is up 27% from the prior sixty day period compared to desktop usage which is only up 20% for the same period.
Lisa made it clear from the beginning that offering users the ability to purchase gift certificates online was one of her most important requirements. By integrating WooCommerce, the most popular ecommerce plugin in the WordPress ecosystem, into the website we were able to give users the ability to purchase a gift certificate for either a set amount or a custom amount. The solution we implemented sends the gift certificate, along with a customized message, to the recipient’s inbox. Additionally, it sends the giver a confirmation email and sends Lisa a copy so she can check the certificate number against her list when presented at the restaurant.
We gathered data for the sixty day period after we did our initial work and compared it to the data before our work began. The graphic below shows significant improvement in overall site performance for the sixty days after our work as compared to the sixty days prior. We also wanted to see results specific to the Gift Certificate page. The data shows a marked increase in visits to this page for the most recent sixty day period over the prior sixty days … an increase that Lisa confirmed correlates to an increased number of restaurant visitors redeeming gift certificates.