As we are almost full circle on the first year of TRS under new ownership, many of you may have noticed some changes at the store and online.
With such a strong foundation to build upon, the new team has spent the past few months learning from the best in order to understand day-to-day operations and getting to know our customers.
And now we're ready to start implementing some of our own ideas, moving forward!
We'll try to document the process as we go along, so you all know what to expect to see at TRS as we move into yet another race season.
To start, one of our biggest goals was creating a new logo and website that both captured the history of The Runners Shop, while celebrating the new team and fresh ideas to come.
Lynn's brother helped create a logo that has all the essence of TRS beautifully.
We celebrate runners by including the iconic track looping through the logo, and continue to honour the heritage with the "Since 1975" in the same cursive font. Mike has removed some clutter that appeared from the smaller text and also removed the stick figure. In it's place, a maple leaf represents all Canadian runners.
A special logo was also created for racing singlets and other store/team apparel (and because Torontonians love Toronto so much 😉 ):
Once the logo was updated we were free to start publishing it and developing other marketing materials. This included the website.
The site was functional but did need some work in terms of the navigation and user experience. The aesthetic also needed improving, compared to sites from our neighbouring run specialty stores.
We were ahead of the game since many products had been uploaded to the site, but were also behind, not having a POS system in place... in order to update, we needed to find a theme that would be a good fit for a company with many product SKUs (thousands, because of all the different size-runs of shoes 😂).
At this point, since we're a single location, a custom solution wasn't required, so a Shopify theme would suffice based on our functional requirements. We found one that was a good fit and decided to customize the navigation and layout from there.
To give you an idea, take a look below.
The 'old' site includes the updated main menu and scaled-back side menu. Previously, the side menu was a straight repeat of the main menu with a few more categories.
You can also see the drop-downs are a single level deep, which is tough to navigate when you have thousands of items.
And while shopping by tag may be relevant once you're in the appropriate category (i.e. filtering by tags in the women's sale section, maybe) it is not a way that most people typically look for products and can be intimidating if you don't know what you're trying to find.
As you can see, the new site features a single, horizontal menu navigation, without a side bar.
The drop-downs are clean and categorized to a third level, which is where the bulk of the work remained.
Shoes will always be a separate category, since it's a priority as a run specialty retailer, but have their own sub-categories within for ease of navigation.
In planning the new site navigation many competitor websites were reviewed and examined for inspiration. We took a look at wholesale sites with lots of inventory and retail sites with more specialized offerings and less menu options to see what worked best for us.
This is a bit of a peek into that process:
We planned our own site navigation based on existing categories, ideas we liked from other sites, and stayed within the capabilities of our theme from Shopify. If you work with the theme and know what it's capable of vs. what is more custom/asking too much, it's easy (but time-consuming) to optimize your store.
All-in-all, the process of setting up the new website took about three solid days of work (like, three 9+ hour days, but still).
Of course, we're still refining it and will always be changing the featured products/adding new products and offerings, but the bulk of the work in terms of navigation and overall "look and feel" is done.
Next up: a new front counter and the POS system (both hardware and software) 😱
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