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Prioritizing face-to-face business
A website built for a set of 4 local coffee shops
BlackHorse Coffee was a bit skeptical about a website before we got started. They’re a small chain of local coffee shops – and it’s not like people are using their existing website.
Luckily they took a chance on me, and the website definitely paid off.
BlackHorse is a small chain of coffee shops in San Luis Obispo, California – a college town with a robust tourist economy. They are some the oldest coffee shops in the community, and while they have a loyal fan base, they struggled to draw in tourists and the younger crowd.
BlackHorse had an old website raw coded in just HTML & CSS, it had two-dozen pages, and wasn’t responsive. Their address was listed on the website but customers had to copy and paste it to find directions to their preferred location.
The Original BlackHorse Website
The business owners told me they didn’t think a website would be valuable to their website because they were only getting about a dozen website visitors each month. Their locations also weren’t listed on Google, or any social media platforms.
This set off alarm bells in my head, how are the tourists and new students finding this coffee shop if they’re not visiting the website.
Prior to working with BlackHorse, I had worked on digital marketing campaigns for several other coffee shops in the area. I knew from the data those clients provided that college students and older tourists comprised nearly 70% of sales.
Adrian - Cal Poly Student
"I don't know what it is about coffee shops, but it's just so much easier to study."
Bob - Relaxed Tourist
"I'm just here to enjoy myself. I even left my diet at home. Pastries and people watching sounds perfect today."
Reaching the Audience
Through competitive research, open case studies, and my experience working with other local restaurants and cafes, I knew our priorities for this website were:
- Responsive restaurants of popular pastries and coffees
- Easy one-click directions to the nearest location
Creating a responsive restaurant menu was a simple process, and we saw an instant uptick in traffic.
In the first design iteration, I tried embedding a map onto the website, but customers didn’t find the system intuitive, and indicated that they just wanted a way to plug the address into their GPS without having remember which location was the closest.
After several other iterations, I found the easiest option for users was a simple button that linked to an external Google Maps option.
Within months of launching the website, BlackHorse coffee became one of the top listings for coffee shops in the area, and have hosted several Cal Poly Welcome Week events. This cheery old fashioned coffee shop has found a great niche in the SLO community.
Tools and Skills
- Client Managed Website
- Established Branding Guidelines
- Custom Post Type UI
- Custom Food and Drink Menu