Imagine your site goes down for a few days. Panic, right? What if you shut it down on purpose?
In anticipation for its relaunch, that’s exactly what independent fashion retailer Johnny Cupcakes decided to do.
“It was a scary suggestion,” said Johnny Cupcakes Business Director, Lucas Dunn. “But it was an operational help, and it was part of treating the website as if we were launching a new store, which we hype up for weeks and months in advance to get a big line of customers waiting for the store to open. It definitely enhanced the launch.”
This tactic, along with all other business decisions, works in tandem with the three, interdependent pillars that define the Johnny Cupcakes brand: personality, exclusivity and community.
For the unfamiliar, Johnny Cupcakes is a clothing line that uses cupcakes as the prominent design for its merchandise. The company does not sell real cupcakes; however, they do provide them to its customers at special events and sometimes in its brick-and-mortar locations. Its products are highly limited, with many of its T-shirts (the company’s main attraction), printed in the hundreds, if not lower.
Since these feelings of exclusivity and community are so inherent to Johnny Cupcakes, customers not only camp out in front of stores, but also engage with each other online – many times in third-party message boards, they create.
“Community is the most important part of our brand, and everything we do is dedicated to creating a personal experience that hopefully makes people smile and laugh,” said Johnny Earle, Head Baker and CEO for Johnny Cupcakes in a statement. “While many brands struggle to engage customers, our community and social interactions have been at the heart of our brand from the start, and we’re leveraging these core values in exciting new ways online.”
One of the ways the company did this was by providing fans with a platform to share photos of themselves wearing their favorite Johnny Cupcakes items via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And, almost instantly they become the featured website model (as pictured).
Johnny Cupcakes calls itself “An Unordinary Bakery,” and its e-commerce presence is definitely unordinary as well. For example, the home page feels less like an e-commerce store and more like a blog.
“The setup on the new site is actually a bit more of a traditional blend than what used to be there,” said Dunn. “The old website was entirely blog focused. It was an unengaging blog format, and it didn’t give a sense of variety in terms of product, content and people and places and experience.”
“We are never going to have the shop be the first thing that people will see,” Dunn continued. “We don’t see that as the natural progression for people who want to buy our products. We want them to understand what goes into the product and what makes the brand itself unique. We knew that the blog would be an essential feature of the landing page, and we wanted to bring in social media and with that top header, sliding image, give a variety of what’s new throughout the site. We consider it the dashboard for the Johnny Cupcakes’ experience. We have content that is relevant to existing and prospective customers.”
Other features of the new website include a “Family” section, which puts a larger face on the brand by highlighting around 60-80 people that really make the brand possible. JohnnyCupcakes.com will also feature online events, such as secret collections and pop-up shops that exist only online.