HEARTFELT CHARITY CARDS
Heartfelt Charity Cards began on a pushcart in a suburban mall 14 years ago and today is a web enabled e-commerce system serving thousands of customers and their clients. Heartfelt's focus is on serving their customers and charitable partners by providing high-quality, exceptionally designed greeting cards. 10% of the sale of the cards is donated to a designated charity whose programs help those less fortunate, fund research for diseases, or protect our environment and vanishing wildlife. Through the purchase of charity cards, Heartfelt's customers make a socially responsible statement.
Integrated Web Solutions began working with Nicki Schuh, president of Heartfelt Charity Cards, in March of 2004, with the goal of producing a completely redesigned and revamped customer-focused e-commerce site wherein users could browse though a wide selection of greeting cards. Upon ordering, Heartfelt wanted to streamline the order process so that customers could designate their own imprinting on both the greeting cards and the envelopes and then view a mock-up of the card as it was to be printed. "The site needed to be far more robust in terms of the functionality it needed to deliver to our customers. We fully intended to add a dramatic amount of functionality to the order process yet, we wanted the process itself to be very streamlined and easy to follow," said Schuh. "On the back-end of the system we needed even more new functionality as we expanded our business into the wholesale markets and we desired greater reporting functionality and administrative control."
IWS completely redesigned the existing web site and then got to work retooling the ordering process. Heartfelt's entire product line was then migrated into a completely new online product database and meshed with a database of charitable partners. The Heartfelt Customer database was then web-enabled as well allowing Heartfelt to send special offers and promotions to it's recurring customer base.
"Heartfelt's ordering and fulfillment processes along with their entire business system is very proprietary to Heartfelt," said IWS Senior Systems Architect, Rick Keith. "On the other hand, I've yet to see any business that runs their operations like any other. In Heartfelt's case, there was a great deal of conditional situations. For example, as a customer goes through the order process, if they elect to have only their cards and envelopes imprinted, they will see a very different order process than a customer who chooses to have neither imprinted. They have to in order to see an effective card mock-up. Almost every aspect of the system needed to be highly contained and flexible since some pieces were used over and over in different ways. The architecture we implemented allowed that sort of flexibility as we built the system and it will allow the online business system to change in the event that Heartfelt's business needs change as well."
The new site was launched in September of 2004 in advance of Heartfelt's busy holiday season. "That was really just the beginning of the project," said IWS President, John Schwarberg. "Once we launch a new site, all we've really done is open the doors of a new business, there's really no guarantee of success, what you need to do next is market and test the response to the marketing so you can meet your business goals."
Integrated Web Solutions created a number of tracking mechanisms throughout the web site combining the use of subdomains and parallel sites in order to ascertain where orders came from. "By understanding where your ordering customers are coming from, you can begin to understand where your marketing dollars should be spent. For example, if Heartfelt sees that the majority of it's purchases were made from customers finding the site through search engine pay-per-click campaigns, as opposed to say a purchased listing on an association web site, then as they begin to plan for 2005, it's imperative to understand where success was had and not had. Optimize on the success and repurpose the dollars that are spent poorly. Over time and with some patience, your web site begins to turn into a tremendous profit machine," said Schwarberg.
Launched in September of 2004, the new Heartfelt Charity Cards web site nearly 30,000 visitors during their three and a half month peak season in 2004 and in 2005. "We also learned that most of our visitors come back usually two maybe three times," said Schuh.
Heartfelt Charity Cards is now able to ascertain which marketing channels created the most traffic, which marketing channels created the highest number of orders and which channels created the highest average order size. "My business is growing significantly each year and a lot of that is due to the fact that Integrated Web Solutions took a lot of ownership and showed a tremendous amount of initiative in helping this business grow. IWS comes into projects as if they were your business partners. And, in fact, that's really what I consider them to be," said Schuh.