Talking Tables

Case Study

Talking Tables believes that the food is only one of many things on the table that matters. Founded in 1999 with the goal to help create table settings that bring out laughter and conversation. They have since expanded to three international offices and sell B2C and B2B throughout the US, Canada and The EU.

View Site

The fly in the pudding

Like many large ecommerce stores that have been around a while, Talking Tables had a custom made, bespoke website. Like most bespoke ecommerce sites, it had not aged well. Keeping the site up to date was a cumbersome process, especially for the massive product selection and multiple customer types.

In addition to the problems almost all older sites face, the site itself was heavily integrated with a large enterprise backend that managed multiple integral parts of the business, such as manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and retail. This was a must have, as Talking Tables sells not only to end users, but to international wholesale customers.

Changes to something so deeply ingrained in the business was a scary thought. Luckily, the company’s ecommerce manager had worked with Shopify before and knew that it would give them the flexibility to bring the Talking Tables site up to where it should be.

Setting the new table

Design process

Rather than just moving the site to Shopify, we wanted to ensure that Talking Tables made the most of the design flexibility that Shopify has to offer. The old site was a text-heavy labyrinth of links. It was difficult for customers to find what they were looking for, which hurt sales and user engagement.

Using Hotjar and analytics data, we dove into which elements of the site worked and which didn’t. Equipped with data, we sat down together with Talking Tables to discuss sites they found inspirational, and decided on an easier-to-navigate, more visual format.

Finally, we matched our wireframes for the new site to their own art direction to create a design that married the Talking Tables brand to a new, more engaging user experience.

Multi-site and wholesale ready

Because Talking Tables works with wholesale partners in international markets, they didn’t just need one site. They needed the B2C site for direct retail, as well as 3 B2B sites to allow for regional differences in currency, shipping times, and content.

They had some unique requirements for the wholesale sites:

  • User signups are allowed, but need to be approved before orders can be placed.
  • Discount codes of varying amounts, with some codes completely unique to just one buyer
  • Per-buyer payment gateway options, depending on their unique contract
  • Login dependent access to high-resolution image library for resellers

To meet these unique needs, we managed the development of a custom middleware app. This app sat between Talking Table’s enterprise backend system, WinMan, and the Shopify system. This allowed the entire company to continue using the system they knew, and transferred data to Shopify without manual entry.

The End Result

Talking Tables has no longer has to deal with an outdated and cumbersome site.

Their 3 B2B and 2 B2C sites offer customers around the world an easy to use, engaging experience. Each one has pricing, content, and language options unique to regional users.

The Shopify platform makes it easy to keep the site up-to-date and make changes that improve usability, and as a result, conversion rates. The middleware app means that employees can use their familiar system to manage all aspects of the company from the enterprise software they have known for years, rather than translating orders from back-end to Shopify manually.