sustainable growing solutions
Sustainable Growing Solutions is Colorado-based supplier of horticultural supplies designed to improve crop yields, including shade cloth, metalized shade nets, polyethylene film, fertilizer injectors, and more.
establishing a new brand and a new site the right way.
Sustainable Growing Solutions’ founder and owner, Allison Marks, had originally created her business under the name Under Cover Solutions back in 2007. After a few years of operation, Allison chose to rebrand and adjust the focus of the business. Under the new name of Sustainable Growing Solutions, she sought to bring her business online with a website that would quickly garner attention and generate leads, and be able to tap into new opportunities offered up by the burgeoning commercial cannabis market.
While it’s a challenge to build a new e-commerce brand from scratch, the upside is that it allowed us to do things right the first time. Allison provided us with the raw information on all of the products and relevant applications, and arranged an interview with an industry contact. Our in-house content writer then used all of this data to write all of the product descriptions, overviews, and industry pages.
A big challenge with the content was finding ways to avoid issues with duplicate content, which plagues e-commerce sites which feature multiple versions of the same product, due to the reuse of descriptions. We worked around this by combining similar products where possible. While it is impossible to completely eliminate duplicating minor bullet points, to compensate we developed in-depth product overviews for each key product category page, with the goal of getting these pages to rank, rather than individual product listings.
dealing with the inherent challenges of e-commerce.
It’s extremely easy to underestimate the difficulty of selling a product online, especially one with a lot of variables. Many of SGS’s products, such as their shade cloths and polyethylene film products, can be sold in a wide range of dimensions. The site needed to be able to accurately calculate prices based on the total square footage produced by the dimensions indicated by a customer.
This was complicated by the fact that the pricing of optional selections, such as grommets or edge taping, was dependent upon the perimeter of the produced by the desired dimensions. To deal with these complex calculations, we created customized forms and coded in equations to calculate the total price based upon these variables.
When we build e-commerce sites, we do our best to stick solely with plugins from WooCommerce’s official site, as their plugins tend to work very well, have excellent support, and are backed by a 30 day return policy, which is very unusual for software.
This allowed us to experiment with a few different plugins and return them until we ultimately decided that a combination of Gravity Forms and WooCommerce was the way to go. While the plugins may be priced a little higher than those sold via third party sites, the quality of support more than outweighs this, and being able to cancel the purchase of plugins that don’t work likely generates a cost savings over time.
the unexpected complexities of developing an e-commerce store.
It’s one thing to improve an existing e-commerce store, and another to start from square one. During the development process, we stumbled into a number of unexpected complications. For instance, calculating the sales tax for the shop posed a challenge, as SGS is based in Colorado, which has three different compound tax rates based upon each city and county. In addition, one of the company’s co-owners lives in California, so we ended up having to charge tax there as well.
Sustainable Growing Solutions wanted to support not only established payment options like credit card and PayPal, but also newer options such as Amazon, and even Bitcoin. Some of these we had handled before, while others–such as Bitcoin–were novel challenges.
the website launch is only the beginning.
We were under a time crunch to launch the site, as Allison and the rest of her team were scheduled to attend a conference and needed the site up and running by then. We pushed hard, and made sure that we met this deadline.
In addition to creating the site, we are also developing training videos for using the site, and will also be providing ongoing SEO and marketing support to help ensure the growth and success of Sustainable Growing Solutions.
Allison and the rest of SGS’s owners were pleased with the development process. Shortly after the site launched, Allison sent an email that read in part: “Post Modern Marketing did a great job of working closely with us and acting on our feedback. In the end, they delivered even more than what they promised, and we can’t wait to see what their marketing team comes up with in the future!”