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We all should pay a little more attention to style…

Modern Layouts: Getting Out of Our Ruts by Jen Simmons—An Event Apart video from An Event Apart on Vimeo. Watching this video literally made my mouth water. Jen Simmons is right. Web Designers have made so many design compromises since responsive layout came out that we have forgotten why we even signed up. The Vogue September issue had a lot to do with my career decision to become a Designer. First off, I love clothes. This will date me, but the ESPIRIT and Benetton ads… I thought they were amazing! So I went to school, became a Graphic Designer, even worked 8 years for a company in the fashion business, then 3 years at a magazine.        I decided to go into web design back when websites looked like this:       Then websites looked like this where sidebars were all the rage: And now we are here, stuck in the single layout used for responsive layouts, because the layout has to look good on all sizes of digital screens:         I’ve spent my fair share…

Coffee with Cart Graphic.

Star Trek gadgets could work today with an open mind

“3D printed food you can eat,” makes me think of the “replicator” in Star Trek. The Replicator seemed like a magical device with the ability to make something out of nothing. I had forgotten the Replicator used technology from the transporter. This means the replicator actually found whatever you ordered and sent it to you. Quickly.   At the end of a long day, I read the article mentioned in a recent Coffee with CART about the 3D edible food printer “Foodini”. Reading the article helped me shed my Star Trek Replicator assumptions and first off, I wasn’t impressed. I left work thinking “Big deal, somebody figured out how to fit a cookie factory into a box the size of a microwave, and it doesn’t even cook! Why would any of our retailers be interested?” It takes me 20-30 minutes to drive home from work, so I tend to relax some during this time. I started to think of factories that produce food. Basically, food goes in, it gets rearranged, and then packaged food comes out. Why do we have factories? To mass-produce. Now lets…

Photo close-up of pencil with a question mark written on paper under pencil.

What should you put in a new or redesigned website?

As a Web Designer, I would say my most difficult task is getting content from our stores. I get it. I don’t like to write either. It’s a challenge finding time to collect your thoughts and put them on paper. I struggle writing these blogs. For some inspiration I went to a meetup in downtown Kansas City. This was a WordPress meetup, which turned out to be a workshop presented by Mike Farag – “Crafting your key message to grow advocates”. What I’m attempting to do in this blog is use some of his core ideas about “Crafting your key message”, but reconfigure them into a tool retailers might use to write content for their websites. Advocates is something that deserves it’s own blog post, so I’m going to skip that for now. This is a short exercise for your next store meeting that will help jump-start this daunting task of creating content. Website content has very tall orders to fill. Try to think of this quote before starting to write. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”…

Coffee with Cart Graphic.

Coffee with CART: 2/11 Recap

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]When listening to Coffee with CART an off-the-cuff remark was made about how companies are starting to make their own emojis. The topic first caught my interest because I was curious if making a branded emoji would be something we could try on our own, or if a third-party would be needed. From a design standpoint, I was comparing them to favicons. Turns out if you want a branded emoji, yes, a third party will need to get involved, one who has a close relationship with Twitter, and a following of more than a million.  -Adweek: Here’s why your favorite Brands are making their own emoticons Example of a favicon vs. emoji   I have a habit of using emojis in my emails. I reviewed some emails I get from our retailers, and noticed I seem to be alone in emoji use 🙁 It just so happened one evening I was watching a show on CNN where a journalist announced he didn’t like emojis. “Why can’t we…

Coffee with Cart Graphic.

We’re in the “Betamax” of online shopping

There was a time, in the early 1980’s, when families had to make some hard decisions on how to best spend their home entertainment dollars. They wanted the freedom to watch movies at home on their own schedule. The question was should we get a “Betamax” or “VHS” player? For a while you could rent a movie in either format. But slowly Betamax cassettes began to fade away. Today, in 2016 we find ourselves in a similar predicament only in the grocery industry. Which online shopping method is going to be the future VHS? Instead of two choices we now have several. Here are a few that were discussed in last weeks Coffee with CART with Sterling and Schuyler Hawkins. Let’s see what other retailers are doing… Instacart: Several retailers in southern California are partnering with Instacart to combat the Aldi invasion. For a grocery customer to use Instacart, they first need to know which stores are partners. They go to the website using any mobile device, find their store, pick their items, schedule the delivery and groceries should show up in a…

Gary's Foods about us photos

“About Us” on your website

Everyone loves a story. People have been telling stories since… well, since people have been around! What do campfires, drawings in the sand, music, movies and your website have in common? All of these tools can help make telling a story easier. The About Us page can attract your customers with a story they can relate to. The more your customers identify with you, the more they will trust your store. The content on this page is also good to share via links in social media. Read this About Us example >> You may not think your story is interesting, but it only seems that way to you because you lived it. You lived the long version, day by day. Believe it or not, millennials prefer the story of how a business came to be rather than having big bold SALE! messages crammed down their throats. These stories tend to be read on mobile devices during down time, like during the commercials while watching TV or waiting for a Dr. Apt. Write about the stories you hear over and over at family get…

Sliders: Grow Bigger & More Important

Photo sizes for digital marketing has grown dramatically. For older websites, photo size requirements were smaller, so some images must change or they will become blurry after enlarging. Not sure what I mean? Take a look: Why’s This Happening? 1. Retina screens: Even when 2 screens are the same size, the number of pixels increased in devices with retina screens for a more detailed image. 2. TV screens are used more for online viewing. 3. The pixel count for TV screens and desktop computers continues to increase. 4. Cameras on mobile phones take bigger and more detailed photos. Why do responsive images need to be bigger when mobile screens are smaller? One image needs to meet all requirements for all devices. While mobile screens are still smaller than desktop screens they could be viewed on a retina or tv screen. What should your sliders be about? Anything in your store that you want customers to know about: Community/Charity events: Food drives, employee athletes/heroic acts or awards, sponsored school events, fundraisers, holiday events, open house, apples for students, fund raising coupon books, hot dogs in the parking lot,…

Apple Pay logo.

Coffee with CART: 9/10 Recap

I know many retailers are tired of hearing about the importance of having a online identity for their stores. It might seem we are trying to get our members ready for the demise of their bricks and mortar stores. A recent session of Coffee with CART made a big point that proves otherwise. The more that happens online, the more important bricks and mortar stores are. Stores now have a choice of multiple online tools to get their brand out among consumers. The amount of tools to use is growing FAST, with no breaks or time outs. All of these tools are used to influence shoppers because purchases now START online. Notice they didn’t say all purchases end online because people still need to have a physical shopping experience. 64% shoppers say they need better customer service in order to make a purchase. US adults spend 2 hours and 51 minutes a day on their mobile devices. What are these US adults doing with their mobile time? They are providing their own customer service by researching for future purchases, which is…

Does your store really NEED a website?

A year or two ago, I went to a food show and sat by a person who owned one store in a small town. I asked him if his store had a website. “Oh no!” he replied, “We’re not a big national chain”. According to this Press Release by BIA/Kelsey, “Nearly all consumers (97 percent) now use online media when researching products or services in their local area”. Not only should your store have a website, it should be professional-looking if you want to be taken seriously. Even if your store is all about having fun, you can have a fun website. Your customers now search for information BEFORE visiting your store and your website may be the first chance you have to make a good impression. If your website looks like it was designed by a monkey, your chance of making a good first impression will be lost. A website is so important, it is one of the first questions asked when applying for a business loan. The public’s perceived value of your store will be lower if you don’t have a website. There are many reasons to have…

A few free tasks you can do to drive more traffic to your website

A member who owns a hand-full of stores called me the other day with a tinge of desperation in his voice. I could tell he had been looking over some numbers, which ones I’m not quite sure, but they weren’t good. He told me according to his website analytics, nobody was going to his website, so why shouldn’t he take it down and save some money? This was a hard question to answer since I am a web designer. I absolutely believe every business should have a website, but most of my suggestions to increase traffic involve spending money. So after a long pause, I had a few suggestions. Once I got started, I realized I just might have enough ideas to put pen to paper. After looking at this list I realized something every item had in common: you have to GIVE YOUR CUSTOMERS A REASON WHY THEY SHOULD LOOK AT YOUR WEBSITE. Don’t wait for them to Google your business! Note: all images have links for you to click on, so you can see and experience them first-hand. 1.…