Out of my Comfort Zone: E-Commerce & Design

Introduction

It's no secret that my wife and I love our dogs, ours being large breeds we are always looking for equipment that'll last more than a few months. Leads and collars might be cheap but with smaller breeds becoming more common they're just not designed for large active dogs.

While looking for something better I came across JTAC K9 on the Belgian Malinois UK Facebook group, JTAC K9 is solely owned by Jay Eden who manufacturers his products by hand from his home in the UK. Jay is a Corporal in The British Army full time, running his JTAC K9 company in his free time.

When I placed my first order with JTAC K9 the only method was to message him on Facebook, which being a bit of a social media sceptic made me feel uneasy. Also a bit confusing as I wasn't sure what options were avaible on products without asking more questions.

When I got my order the quality of what I received made me want to help Jay move to a proper e-commerce platform, to streamline ordering, invoicing, payments & fulfilment.

Website & Branding

I started where I was most comfortable, that was setting a new Wordpress instance on my server infrastructure then developing a custom theme to align with Jay's products and image.

JTAC K9 Colour Palette

I chose the above palette because they match the base colours used in Jay's standard product line, they're also the exact colours used on some iconic British armoured vehicles. I used these colours to create a responsive theme based on Twitter Bootstrap that'll work on any screen size or device.

JTAC K9's Responsive Website

Stepping out of my comfort zone I wanted to create a set of reusable vector-based branding, creating your company brand as a vector means it can be used at any scale without distorting or pixelating. It also gives total control over future design revisions, this isn't possible with non-vector based graphics such as those designed in Photoshop.

Badge Design

I created two designs the first being an Army Badge style, this not only this complements JTAC K9's Veteran roots but is also a versatile shape for use on Social Media, Swag and Offical Documents.

You can see the development process for this below:

Final Version - Badge Style Design

Flag Design

The second design is based on a Union Jack, this is for use on Social Media as a Banner as well as business cards and large adverting material.

Below are some samples from the development process:

Final Version - Flag Style Design

E-Commerce

The final and most important aspect of this project was to create an online store capable of taking online payments, managing invoices, orders and fulfilment. Turns out this is a pretty simple process thanks to WooCommerce, after some modification to my theme a few plugins and tweaks to WooCommerce we had a fully functioning store that can totally streamline the ordering and fulfilment process.

WooCommerce can auto gereneate invoices and labels all from the comfort of a mobile phone thanks to it's powerful app and compaility with other mobile tools. This is ideal as Jay run's the majority of his buissness from his phone.

Conclusion

E-commernce can be expensive, a popular platform is Shopify which starts at $29 per month with a minium fee of 2% per transaction. Shopify is a great resource for online stores but can be limiting in certain aspects of your websites design, a lot of the time leaving a similar feel to common drop shipping sites you'll find adverting on Facebook.

Using Wordpress allows much more flexiblity in design and control of the sites look and feel, we are also not rescricted by what payment methods to accept.

I've managed to eliminate any running costs by self hosting on my infrastructure also providering basic DDoS protection and automatic secuity updates for Wordpress.

Jay is chuffed with the result, he has been taking regular orders without a hitch and has streamlined his fulfiment process as well as give new custumers confidence with a simple secure & familiar checkout.

Check him out on Facebook and of cource check his store if you're interested in his products!

Facebook | Store

Joel Duncan

Joel Duncan