Red Door Interactive was hired to build an entirely new site for Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes Restaurants, a chain of all-you-care-to-eat dining experiences that focus on fresh ingredients. We formulated strategies and recommendations of our own, but we wanted to hear directly from the most dedicated fans -- the more than 1.3 million members of the Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes Club Veg, the company's advisory board (the Kitchen Cabinet), and users of the site. Because of their loyal following and passion for the brand, we wanted to build a site for them, by them. So, we sent out surveys and incorporated those results into our design, a step that, in the end, allowed us to validate our entire process from discovery and strategy through design and implementation.
The challenge: Build a state-of-the-art site incorporating social media and moreSouplantation & Sweet Tomatoes' online community had been growing strong since Red Door Interactive launched its Facebook and Twitter properties early in 2009. Facebook fans numbered more than 48,000 fans, and Twitter had more than 13,000 followers. We needed to unify that loyal following and grow it within the new site as well as cross-promote contests and monthly menu promotions.
When coming to the new site, we wanted users to see Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes as a fresh, wholesome dining choice -- where food goes straight from "farm to fork." It needed to tell the story of how the company hand-picks its growers for the highest quality ingredients and uses those to create made-from-scratch salads, soups, and baked goods. The content needed to be playful and ever changing. The site needed to allow the users to make it their own, just like in-store where you create your own unique meal and experience. With the opportunity to plan, design, develop, and implement a completely new site from the ground up, it allowed us to create a completely customized experience for users.
Overall site. Souplantation.com is a completely customizable experience. Users can select their favorite background (mine is the penne pasta as you see above) and home store. Immediately they are served with promotions for their local restaurant such as a brunch call-out, and it remembers their choices each return visit.
For the homepage animation, we used one simple word -- indulge -- to tell seven unique stories about Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes Restaurants. There is a surprise and story behind every letter in the word "indulge." For example, the letter U tells the story of how the company hand-picks its farmers, the letter E highlights its made-from-scratch menu items, and the letter N showcases the salad bar, and so forth.
Fresh Ideas blog. The blog encourages visitors to communicate and discover fresh content. You can comment on blogs, tweet them, or share them to any social community such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace. We also included a Facebook fan box and a Twitter stream with live feeds. Users can share what their favorite menu item is or even go as far as recommending a new one. The robust search allows you to find any blog topic, or you can just browse by category or popular tag cloud.
For Sprouts Only section. In this section of the site, designed for kids, you can play an interactive arcade game called Spud-Man, with classic music and all. Downloads in this section include coloring sheets, activity sheets, and a "Travel with Sweetie" picture. Animated screen savers and fresh desktop screens are also available.
Gift card shopping cart. We completely rebuilt the entire cart adding functionality and ease of use.
Join Club Veg form. We optimized the form and functionality to include localization and kept it short and sweet.
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Great case study; congrats and thanks for sharing! I cringed when I saw the one week for internal testing - ha- can relate. We had a client last year who actually let us do focus group testing (rare!) during a beta launch and it made a huge difference in the final site. Agree w/the research on the front end...how else could your brand be aligned with your customers? Proof is in the numbers!
Great reminder on the real objectives and achievements that internet publishers should keep their minds and teams focused on - the users! Users/traffic are what makes the advertisers pay the publisher more money!!LizMarketing ManagerZEDO Advertising Technologywww.zedo.com
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