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An outdoor brand
for wanderers

See how we bootstrapped an outdoor shopify ecommerce store for amateur and beginner hiking enthusiasts.

Client

Hiker Tan

Role

Web design, WordPress development, Web advertising 

Industry
Results & Outcomes

WordPress site launch

10%+ ad campaign CTR

Scope

ecommerce WordPress store integrated with Shopify, product collection landing pages for hiker personas, A/B testing on social websites

Project length

2 months

Shaping the brand

For an outdoor WordPress and Shopify ecommerce store, we first needed to establish a strong brand that represented the desires of the customers. So after doing a lot of research on ultra light hiking on places like Reddit and Instagram, we narrowed in on potential customers who are new to hiking and probably in their 20s.

There was a lot of engagement online around the weight sum of a pack so we used this as an opportunity to introduce a drop ship brand centered around beginner hikers looking for ultra light hiking gear. 

hikertan outdoor home page web design

Design guide

We wanted Hiker Tan to feel like a cozy fireplace or the colors of Fall, but wanted to communicate a classical design aesthetic with traditional looking serifs and sans-serifs. 

hikertan outdoor brand guide identity
hikertan outdoor marketing presence

Brand identity

Seeing the brand in context helps capture the journey of our prospective audience. We chose the mountain as a logo because for beginner hikers we learned, there’s usually a personal journey of self-discovery that leads people into this sub-culture.

hikertan outdoor testers

Persona segmentation

For an outdoor WordPress ecommerce store there is a strong desire to sell to everybody. We found it really useful to line up everything about our business around the use cases of beginner, couples, and advanced. 

We determined these personas after seeing all the reasons people found themselves in sub Reddits like r/ultralighthiking. Some wanted to just get out of the city, and others wanted to spend more quality time with their significant other. Everybody wanted a light pack to get them where they wanted to go.

Ultra light gear

Since we were using a Shopify store integration, we mainly used AliExpress to source our outdoor products for the store.

One of the hardest parts of a dropship store from a design point-of-view is getting product images to feel like they aren’t from AliExpress.

So we went to great lengths to make the product pages really stand out and have imagery that was high quality and consistent with the products we were using.

hikertan outdoor product detail
hikertan outdoor collections

Product collections

A concept we wanted to test out was being able to create collections of products on the site that would come with an aggregated estimate of the weight of the total collection of products.

The goal was to be able to advertise collections that were under 10 lbs. This meant you could buy several items and have a general idea of how everything fits without having to do the math yourself.

For any outdoor WordPress ecommerce store, this was a pretty interesting challenge to solve for since Shopify products at the time were not intended to be grouped and sold as 1. 

 

The

homepage

For the homepage we really wanted to tap into the aspirational dreams and goals of our audience. So we thought nothing better than sitting under the stars, on top of a mountain edge with an incredible view. 

hikertan outdoor home page

The product page

One of the questions we got a lot in the early development of Hiker Tan was validating if the products were good or not. Many people in the outdoor industry are loyal to certain brands.

So we felt that for every product we put into a collection, that we had actual hikers go out and report back if it was good or not. This made the ‘field test’ a major component to the product page. 

hikertan outdoor product page

The outdoor

gear review

When we would get a new outdoor review together, we made a dedicate space for them on the site that intended to grow into an outdoor gear review site. 

 

hikertan outdoor testing gear

Nurturing a customer experience

of trusted expertise

An additional aspect to our fields tests was the idea that we could connect influencers and have them develop a meaningful presence on our site with the inclusion of their product review in our custom format. 

hikertan outdoor product testing

Testing

for buyers 

Once we had a brand and operational store, we took to social media to get the awareness out. Some of our promotions lead to sales and views and others didn’t work as well.

Engagement outcomes

We weren’t able to sell a collection from this campaign, but we sold other items on the store. You really need unique products and a lot more available funds for ad resourcing to find a buyer for that kind of higher priced offering. It’s easy to impulse buy something on Instagram for $30 or less, but when it’s over $500, people need that brand recognition. 

There was definitely enough interest in the brand to make this a viable option in the future. Since it was an experiment into drop shipping, I learned a lot and found it to be a successful experience. My dream for Hiker Tan is to develop the brand further with more product-centric digital offerings that still enable people to get outdoors.

days to completion

campaign clickthrough rate

campaign ad impressions

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