Design Within Reach

Project focus
  • Retail + eCommerce,
  • Home + Furnishings
Design Within Reach
/Overview

dwr.com — A personalized eCommerce experience that makes customers feel right at home.

  • Digital Strategy
  • Visual Language
  • Content Direction
  • Website Design
  • Interactive Style Guide
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Challenge

The internet has commoditized even the most everyday objects and flooded markets across different industries. As a result, consumers see less value in what they buy as brands opt for convenience over quality.

One of the industries most affected by this shift is the furniture space. Even so, the practice of interior design has never been more popular. There’s a real desire from consumers to beautify their homes yet few brands willing to sacrifice mass production in the name of craft.

Design Within Reach, the world’s premier furniture retailer, looked to serve this need in the market. The team approached us with a vision for a digital experience that merged utility, thoughtful design, and inspiration to help the DWR customer curate the home of their dreams.

Approach

Our strategic approach was to position the brand’s offering as service, not just product. Through improved utility and relevant content, we helped DWR bring a personal touch to the home.

Ultimately, we put the power in the hands of the customers by allowing them to author their own designs. The new DWR.com reimagines an eCommerce platform as a digital showroom—an interactive experience tailored to customers’ individual tastes.

(Awards)
BASIC®
/Testimonial
We’d like to thank BASIC’s best-in-class team for helping us bring our vision of a beautifully crafted and user-friendly eCommerce platform to life. As an industry leader in digital transformation, BASIC® successfully supported our goal of connecting brand expression with overall functionality. We are beyond pleased with the final result. ● Ben Groom
Chief Digital Officer, Herman Miller
BASIC®
/Collaboration

AGENCY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP

During this engagement, we set out to reinvent the traditional agency-client relationship through a performance-incentivized agreement. This model allowed both teams to share accountability as well as the rewards of a successful partnership. 



In an effort to move at the speed of business, we leveraged external and internal expertise. Our team was responsible for establishing the direction and vision while executing side by side with DWR’s in-house design team. We collaborated through physical co-location and digital integration, working closely with them to create a world-class shopping experience. Whether at our offices or through Figma, Slack, and Google Workspace—we found multiple ways to direct their work and collectively iterate toward the final deliverable.

BASIC®
/UX

EXPERIENCE STRATEGY

We worked with the DWR team to establish design principles for their new digital experience. On-site immersion, user testing, and countless brainstorming sessions between both teams helped to inform our strategy. Key takeaways and insights were translated into creative briefs and a design system that spoke to business and brand aspirations.

Defining requirements, objectives, and KPIs.

In a one-week immersion with the team at their Michigan headquarters, we outlined a list of benchmarks for the experience that were aimed at improving engagement, conversion, and overall company revenue.

Customer journeys and user testing.

DWR identified 57 common user journeys. We prioritized four that we felt best represented customer motivations, needs, and pain points. Through testing these journeys, our goal was to improve the consideration phase for all customers through improved guidance and more educational content.

Establishing a shared vision for the experience.

Collectively, both of our teams aligned on crafting a branded experience that’s curated, dynamic, engaging, and optimistic. We wanted the new DWR.com to be a place where customers can explore and find inspiration—helping them write the stories of their homes.

BASIC®
/Positioning

DIFFERENTIATION STRATEGY

To create something truly unique, we tapped into the brand’s key differentiator: the human touch. 

Acting as a personalized concierge service, our bespoke eCommerce platform made customer experience a priority.

DWR is a design-forward company whose advantages are its expertise, craftsmanship, authenticity, and legacy.

 These narratives deserved their own moments on the new site, so we set out to elevate each trait as a foundational pillar throughout the entire customer experience.

Highlighting the brand’s design expertise.

Our site guides users’ design decisions while making human interaction as effortless as possible. It brings the best of DWR’s showroom to the digital customer experience. Different features allow them to speak directly to design experts, request live support from the brand’s world-class service team, and curate their home by room. The result is a thoughtful, end-to-end journey that invites users to convert.

Elevating craftsmanship and authenticity.

The DWR team has made it their mission to put love and care into every single piece—bringing craft back to the furniture industry. This called for a digital experience that showcased the brand’s legacy of artisanship. We made the platform as beautiful and tactile as the pieces it sells, complementing the brand’s more traditional touchpoints.

Global Components

Expressing the brand’s strategic principles.

The previous iteration of the platform had a limited number of modules and a shallow design language that wasn’t consistent with other brand touchpoints. We helped develop a flexible design system comprised of modules and pages, enabling the DWR team to showcase its unique brand expression for a more cohesive and bespoke look and feel.

Design System

Revitalizing the design language.

We established a refined typographic system, a detailed color strategy, and all-new UI components focused on bringing DWR’s modern personality to the forefront of the experience.

Exaggerated spacing and thoughtful use of color are at the core of the design language, aimed at creating focus on their world-class content, as well as developing a sense of editorial rhythm as you explore key pages.

Streamlining efficiency across brands.

This more approachable design system was not only built to scale with Design Within Reach’s long-term needs, but also across the other brands in the Herman Miller Group. For HAY and Herman Miller, the typography, color systems, and UI components could be updated seamlessly with minimal customizations.

BASIC®
/CONTENT DIRECTION

Product Presentation

The new DWR.com needed to serve as a shopping tool but also a home for the refreshed pillars of the brand’s expressions. Mirroring its showroom experience, our approach was to promote the quality of its products by bridging the gap between performant utility and authentic design.

Contextual category pages for inspiration as well as guidance.

Throughout our product category pages, we built in moments for storytelling, education, thought leadership, and design guidance. This rich content provides much-needed context to the product catalog and facilitates the decision-making process for customers.

Instilling confidence by solving for scale, fit, and finish.

Many customers tend to browse online but purchase in store. They feel the need to touch and experience the products to better understand their scale and style. Our challenge was translating this need to the digital storefront.

By leveraging specific utilities throughout the platform, we wanted to help customers come to a fully informed decision. We relied on a combination of augmented reality, interactive video, product comparisons, and custom cataloguing to ensure that they leave the site satisfied with their purchases and excited for the next visit.

Creating a system for product configuration.

The diverse range of offerings called for a product configuration system that was digestible, whether there was a single attribute or 30. For complex products, there was an issue with certain attributes being canceled out based on other selections.

Moreover, this affected shipment lead times. The team had an inventory of ready-to-ship items, but deeper customization caused lead times to increase significantly as it had to be made to order.

Our initial solve was to create a configuration experience that separated out ready-to-ship items from customized orientations. However, due to development constraints, we landed on a stair-stepped approach that made each product attribute digestible and brought attention to certain selections that increased lead time.

BASIC®
/Experience Design

BRANDED SERVICES & COMMERCE UTILITIES

The previous iteration of the platform lacked functionality that could effectively flex across a variety of product types. So, we introduced a range of best-in-class eCommerce solutions, from adaptive attribute filtration to in-grid product merchandising.

The modern customer expects frictionless shopping experiences from the point of consideration all the way to conversion. These utilities and services facilitate product discovery, making it as easy as possible to find the perfect pieces for their home. As a result, they can focus less on navigating the site and more on exploring the different offerings.

Shop the image.

Today’s customers browse sites and applications like Pinterest and Instagram to gather tasteful examples of interior design. Using a similar framework, we connected moments of inspiration with shopping utilities that allow users to shop the image.

Search.

We built a search tool that’s equal parts intelligent, powerful, and dynamic. Visual suggestions populate as users type in their queries, and machine learning allows these suggestions to become more personalized with time. The search results are then broken into granular subsets, attributes, and categories for related products and content.

In-grid merchandising.

Specific pieces of content are presented as tiles within the product grid, allowing the DWR team to seamlessly integrate contextual lifestyle imagery, featured collections, sales promotions, popular filters, and expert support. By taking over these modules, we leverage in-grid merchandising to educate and inspire users as they browse product categories.

Elevated promotions.

Promotions are a key driver of any eCommerce experience. With this in mind, we created a system of strategic placements to capture users’ attention without obstructing the shopping flow.

BASIC®
/Learn More

Additional Information

For more insight into this project and its results, read the special DWR edition of our thought leadership series Applied® and check out our roundtable discussion with Herman Miller Group’s Chief Digital Officer Ben Groom.

BASIC®
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Project focus
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