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Prairie Edge

eCommerce 60 Years in the Making

The Prairie Edge Story

A History and Reputation for Excellence

In Rapid City, South Dakota two names standout with a reputation for excellence when it comes to providing a unique medley of traditional Native American supplies and collecting Native American art. Prairie Edge and Sioux Trading Post understand the importance of procuring the highest quality craft supplies, Native American herbs, animal hides, and glass beads that support the cultural traditions of Native Americans.

With a history dating back to 1957, there have been several major milestones for the two brands. These included expansion of store locations in the early to mid 90’s, significant investment in desired Italian beads for customers, and condensing brick-and-mortar to a single location while increasing eCommerce focus in 2005.

The Next Phase for Prairie Edge

Prairie Edge had operated for over a decade on their existing eCommerce platform but they knew they needed to invest to get up-to-speed with the industry. Leadership at Prairie Edge engaged Classy Llama to help work through platform considerations for their needs. Did they need to upgrade and invest in their existing solution or would a full platform change be appropriate?

Two brands existed within the organization. The Prairie Edge brand was well respected in the Native American art collector community. The Sioux Trading Post site was a separate, less known brand in relation to Prairie Edge. With the strength of the Prairie Edge brand, the plan was set to combine brands into a single domain while also serving the different needs of each brands’ customers. The brands had also built a strong Instagram following that needed to be capitalized upon. The platform had to provide a simple path to incorporate Instagram followers’ posts within site content.

Discussions around on-going maintenance of the new, combined site, social media integration, and the ability to apply edits with ease and speed directed Classy Llama to recommend the BigCommerce platform. The SaaS (Software as a Solution) offering significantly reduced the maintenance for the site while also providing key tools Prairie Edge and Sioux Trading Post needed for their business objectives. With the BigCommerce platform selected, Classy Llama was brought in to build out the new online presence for the two brands.


Delivering a New Experience

To kick off the site’s build, the Classy Llama team hosted Prairie Edge at our offices to properly plan for the site build and launch. The team was tasked with moving the site into a new customer experience while maintaining the authenticity of the brand. To support this effort, Classy Llama worked with Prairie Edge to collect hi-resolution images of products and the brick-and-mortar side of the business. The Prairie Edge team worked diligently to secure the necessary images for this portion of the initiative and helped maintain a solid connection to the brand’s core identity on the new site.
 
 

With the overarching decision to combine sites to a single domain, consolidating Prairie Edge and Sioux Trading Post product catalogs quickly rose to the top of the priority list for the team. Product taxonomy was delved into setting a foundation for each customer’s journey on the site.

It was obvious to both the Classy Llama and Prairie Edge teams the existing site had a lacking mobile experience. With an increase in traffic coming from mobile devices, the “pinch and zoom” experience on the site needed to be addressed. Classy Llama addressed the mobile experience on the new site with application and customization of an appropriate BigCommerce theme.
Identified in the early part of the platform selection process, the social media strength of Prairie Edge came into play with the site build. Instagram posts were tied into the site’s design to add to the experience with the Prairie Edge brand.

Wrapping up the key targets for the site launch, Classy Llama worked closely with their shipping partner, ShipperHQ, to address complicated shipping requirements for the site.

The Technical Side of Combining Sites

Product taxonomy represents a small piece of the overall pie when it relates to combining sites. From a technical perspective, Classy Llama’s Marketing Services team dove into the SEO impact of Prairie Edge and Sioux Trading Post melding into a single domain. The Sioux Trading Post site was reviewed to determine traffic sources. It was determined a plan to maintain ranking authority needed to include creating one-to-one content on the new site with identical products, titles, and other key content from Sioux Trading Post. Redirects from historic pages were also established to point to the new pages. Finally, Classy Llama transitioned the blog from the outdated Wordpress site to operate natively in BigCommerce. The team worked to match URLs on the BigCommerce blog to maintain ranking authority.


Supporting Growth

With a solid foundation laid for the new site, Classy Llama began to work on additional improvements to the user experience and conversion rate optimization. Prairie Edge was also ready to ramp up customer engagement with some marketing assistance. The merchant turned again to Classy Llama to assist with PPC campaigns, social media, email, and SEO.

The merchant’s email efforts were transitioned from the Constant Contact system to a more eCommerce friendly solution with MailChimp. Email best-practices were deployed for Prairie Edge to address cart abandonment, welcome series emails, and other key communications. Holiday shopper targeting strategies were developed for the merchant with plans to execute additional strategies in the future. Classy Llama also dove into social media management and SEO efforts for the merchant. Prairie Edge and Sioux Trading Post now had the jolt needed to drive further revenue from their newly redesigned site.

In the initial project, the blog for Prairie Edge was left untouched. Plans are in place to apply updates to the blog to transition the site to the new experience delivered by Classy Llama. This includes sensitivity to the existing SEO value the blog provides Prairie Edge with plans to migrate the blog without hurting SEO for the merchant.
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