Oyster Kits

Project Details

  • Competitive Analysis
  • Advertising Campaign
  • Social Media Campaign
  • Website Design
  • Drupal Development
  • eCommerce

Positioning a travel brand for ecommerce success

The travel-loving couple, Jerry and Elliott Hodge, created the Oyster Kit to make travel easier, more authentic, and overall more enjoyable. Their startup was created out of this very idea of having an all-in-one travel kit to attain all the aforementioned goals. As many entrepreneurs do, the Hodges created a Squarespace site to host their new product; however, the site was very limited, it wasn’t performing very well, the blog articles, as expected with a template-based site, had poor UX, and the abandoned carts added up to over $5,000 in just one month.

Our approach:

As with every client we take on, we got an idea of the brand’s personality, overall look and feel, and who their ideal customers are. Then, we honed in on the website’s purpose: not only was it a place for travelers to buy kits, but it also served as inspiration for helping people travel differently—to really experience their vacations, not just go off of the tourist checklist.

Results overview


Before and after comparison

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Discovering the right type of commerce

Originally, we thought bigCommerce might meet their needs, but after reviewing their in-depth requirements regarding the inventory management systems within the website, we decided it would be better to build a custom ecommerce site by implementing Drupal Commerce to better suit their needs as it’s a more flexible platform. We figured out a way to not only track the individual items sold, but also track bundles of products—since the Oyster Kit is a collection of smaller items, that was how the inventory could be most effectively tracked. We added code that allows our client to specify which items are in each kit, and how many of those there are (e.g. there are two wine glasses in the Original Kit). We also created a way to instantly calculate and display how many kits could be assembled based on the existing inventory in the store.

Creating a fully customized, shoppable website

Once we honed in on the commerce side of the website, we dove into the full, custom website design. We had two things to work with from the start: predetermined brand colors and a lot of great photos from the Hodges’ real travel experiences. We wanted to have some fun with the site’s layout because we wanted to reflect the notion that everyone loves to travel. Our goal was to create a lifestyle feel for the site while also steering clear of the typical block format found on most ecommerce sites. On the content side, we wanted to ensure that the blog articles stood out and were easy to navigate, so we designed a way to sort articles by topic. At first, having so many great travel photos was a challenge within itself: we had to figure out how and where to use all of the imagery and weren’t sure if it would all be able to fit on the website. Our solution was to design the blog previews to clearly emphasize the image and be eye-catching to viewers, which also aligned with the lifestyle feel of the site.

The shop pages were key to the design, too: we wanted them to truly reflect what the company stands for and ensure that the story behind the kit and each item was present. We needed to relay the function and value of the kit through design—how and why travelers should use it and how and when the kit comes in handy. When customers hear about a brand or product for the first time, it can be hard to convince them to purchase right away, so we created calls-to-action to get prospects in the marketing funnel by encouraging them to sign up for the newsletter and free ebook. Because Oyster Kits is a new brand, the design of the website made it so that, no matter what page people landed on, they would get to know the company better through design elements containing a personal touch.

Oyster Kits SAID:

"We’ve gotten lots and lots of compliments on the website; definitely exceeded all expectations! It’s truly been an honor to collaborate with Ascend. Thanks for bringing your ceaseless passion to this process!" Jerry Hodge, Oyster Kits CEO
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