Mary Flatley

Moving the Offline Customer Experience Online with Shopify

For 80 years and four generations, Rexius has been producing high-quality, innovative soils for the local market here in Oregon and now, they are also beginning to gain a reputation nationally. They are a quiet company, hard-working and fairly simple in how they go about their business. And for many of their customers, the experience of buying from Rexius would seem to be an analog one: it’s dirt. Dirt is a heavy, messy product that’s not typically associated with online retail. In other words, we had our work cut out for us when they asked us to create a digital soil shopping experience that felt as easy and trustworthy as working with organics experts face-to-face.

Drawn’s team of developers, strategists, analysts, and designers all joined forces to tackle this unique challenge and we were able to translate the knowledge and comfort of working with an analog company like Rexius to an online setting. We chose to build Rexius’s new site on Shopify, just as we had built the website for their premium national brand, Opus Grows (winner of Shopify’s 2016 Ecommerce Design Award for Best Overall Design), on Shopify in order to create the simplest and most intuitive customer experience. Both sites now allow customers to buy organic soil online while educating both B2B and B2C consumers about Rexius’s fine products.

Rexius's fine products, laid out using a simple and intuitive user interface. Photo: Rexius

Here’s how we did it: 

1. We spoke with Rexius about their existing ordering and fulfillment processes, and used that knowledge to strategize ways to increase operational efficiencies while upholding their excellent customer service. Shopify allowed us to translate their ordering process to an online system using a platform that was fully customizable, allowing us to mirror the Rexius way of doing things.

2. We organized Rexius’s complex catalog of organics — over 160 products and at least six different delivery methods per product — via Shopify’s robust tagging system. Customers can now filter products by category, quantity, delivery method, product type, and usage. 

3. We asked users how they shopped for their organics and, more broadly, how they shopped online. Using several search-forward ecommerce sites as models, we asked what users liked and disliked about the process of shopping. How could we mimic the ease and functionality of a search-forward site, yet step it up with a more elegant interface? This research helped us create a site that is accessible, functional, and — we think — kind of beautiful.

Beauty & functionality. Photo: Rexius

4. We worked closely with Rexius to become familiar with the ins and outs of their products. This soil stuff is super technical and geeky! We translated the technical information into content that a home gardener could appreciate — in a way that would allow big-time food producers and expert growers to glean all of the super scientific details that they might need. Hopefully, we’ve created more ultra-geeky soil superfans along the way. 

5. We used Shopify’s Facebook and Instagram integration capabilities to generate new sales opportunities. Now, our social content can easily turn into sales, all on one platform. 

6. We took beautiful photos of Rexius’s products (both catalog shots and lifestyle imagery) to show that organics can be complex yet elegant (like the website itself).

Helping Rexius translate their analog customer experience to a digital customer experience has proven to be a pivotal next step in continuing to grow Rexius from a beloved regional brand to a respected national one. Drawn’s development and design experience, along with Rexius’s expertise in organics and the flexibility of the Shopify platform, have allowed us to bring the Rexius way of building relationships in the organics yard into the digital space, unlocking huge potential for future opportunities.

Drawn, Inc. is a Shopify Affiliate Partner.