An ecommerce site that sells oysters online while educating and advocating for a cleaner Chesapeake Bay.
One of our clients came to us with an idea. It wasn't a start-up – it was a vision for the future. The Chesapeake Bay's oyster population has been in the decline since the beginning of the 20th century. The oysters are a core component of the bay's ecosystem, each filtering up to 50 gallons of water a day. They are also a slowly vanishing facet of bay aquaculture.
Our client's amazing vision was to create a website that aims to restore the Chesapeake Bay oyster population and promotes bay oysters for consumption. The website should also highlight the historic and ecological significance of the farm's location on the bay. And they wanted to sell some oysters along the way.
"We picked CO+LAB because they believed in our company's mission and took the time to understand what we were all about. Because our website is often the first experience many of our potential customers have with our company, we wanted to make sure we impressed them on that first experience."
Founder & Owner - Anderson's Neck Oyster Company
How do you make an ecommerce website that serves a startup's needs and functions as an advocate for restoring the Chesapeake Bay? Add to that a client who has the highest standards and insists on excellence (e.g. they requested that we build them the best website ever created – no sweat, right?).
After many discussions and brainstorming meetings, we settled on some directions for the site. Since the company was a startup there were many unknowns, but we viewed it as an opportunity to paint a blank canvas. Anderson's Neck asked us to create a beautiful website that sold oysters and products, but also explained their philosophy and history, so we set out to do that in a very visual way without crossing the line into distraction or silliness.
One of our regular co+laborators, circle S studio, produced an award-winning logo, packaging, and collateral package for Anderson's Neck, which we adapted into the design of the website.
High Impact Homepage
The homepage had to make an immediate impact, so we went all out using processing.js to simulate bird flocking and jQuery to animate slides featuring local wildlife. In order to stay true to the conservation mission, we illustrated and animated creatures that inhabit the Chesapeake Bay, including great blue heron, cownose ray, canvasback duck, and diamondback terrapin to name a few.
On the conservation page, it was important that we illustrate the impact of returning oysters to the Chesapeake Bay in a way visitors could quickly grasp. Rather than pure visuals, we wanted to focus on the facts and break them down into relatable units of measure. We used calculations to estimate the amount of water Anderson's Neck oysters filtered while the visitor had been viewing the site. We wanted to ensure that when people visited the website they weren't only buying oysters, they also were buying into a cleaner Chesapeake Bay.
Content Management Systems
We wanted Anderson's Neck to be very easy to manage. The client is very hands on, so the ability to create new content for the blog, add new products, and manage orders were critical. To do this, we combined a few of our favorite tools – WordPress for content management and Shopify for e-commerce. The result is a fairly seamless customer experience that transitions from informational website to online web-store. The administrative "back-end" of the site is similarly intuitive and easy to maintain.
"We love the fact that the CO+LAB owner, Eddie, actually took the time on a weekend to come out and visit our oyster farm firsthand. It was clear to us, he was personally invested in making the project a success."
"We challenged CO+LAB to make our website stand out and encouraged them to take chances. The creative design elements and animation, coupled with the clean lines and simplicity, made the website work, without being too busy. We are very proud of the end result. Bottom line, CO+LAB knocked it out of the park!"
Founder & Owner - Anderson's Neck Oyster Company
We would love to take credit for Anderson Neck's success, but the truth is that we played a very, very small part. Their successes are due to the hard work and tenacity of the owners – period. If anything, we simply help to highlight their brilliance.
We're so happy to have been a part of getting Anderson's Neck started and to continue to help along the way. We hope that we have created a website that is representative of the company's mission of awareness and conservation. So far, the site receives great traffic, sales are consistent, and we continue to receive great feedback. But most important to us, the client is happy.
If you visit the Anderson's Neck website, you will immediately get the impression that we probably had a lot of fun building it, and you would be absolutely correct. It's not very often you get to do something like this, and the opportunities that you do get always come because someone has given you the license to think big. Michael Hild, the founder and owner of Anderson's Neck Oyster Company, did just that. In fact, he insisted on it.
Michael has a commitment to excellence and an attention to detail that is unparalleled. Whether or not this was actually the case, we had the distinct impression throughout the project that he might kill us if it wasn't perfect. We hold ourselves to pretty high standards, but Michael definitely pushed us to a new level – an experience and opportunity for which we will always be grateful.
Now, go buy some Anderson's Neck oysters – they're amazing!