Intelligentsia is a premium specialty coffee roaster and retailer. Since its founding over two decades ago,the company has expanded into a number of markets, opening new storefronts in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, while remaining committed to sourcing, developing, roasting and delivering quality coffee. Though the retailer has future plans to expand into additional markets, the website allows them to have a presence in cities without brick and mortar locations.
A pioneer in the specialty coffee industry, Intelligentsia was the first of their kind to adopt direct trade practices almost two decades ago. By establishing relationships with coffee growers, Intelligentsia introduced a new business model for the trade to remove barriers and empower their suppliers. Their digital presence was not conveying that innovative business model and unique brand story to effectively differentiate from other coffee providers.
With the majority of the company’s sales coming from their physical retail locations’ footprints, Intelligentsia understood that evolving their brand further into the digital arena would drive revenue, expand into new markets, grow direct-to-consumer sales, and boost brand loyalty and repeat purchases.
Just as Intelligentsia’s buying team travels the globe to source coffee grower relationships, selecting a partner for a digital commerce replatforming initiative was integral to maintain the brand integrity and ensure success. After research and analysis of their customer needs, the solution called for an experience that could cater to their direct consumers unique needs while still servicing and growing the strong wholesale base. Gorilla’s first step was to migrate the coffee producer’s digital assets off of a custom-built solution onto a responsive ecommerce instance, and reimagine the site experience through improved browsing and enriched, high-quality content.
For traditional retail customers to passionate brand ambassadors, the new site provides ample educational opportunities to inform and guide purchases. We inspired engagement with thought-provoking content, a beautiful user interface, and rich content and tools to explain coffee nuances and clarify the product and production differentiators that make Intelligentsia unique. We created a ‘Coffee Playground’ segment of the website to house educational content, ranging from coffee flavor profiles to harvesting and processing information, paired with shopping opportunities, all in one place.
We collaborated with Intelligentsia’s experts to convey their robust knowledge of the industry and products, while maintaining an intentional, sales-driven approach to content strategy. We worked closely with the Intelligentsia team to build an SEO strategy focused on providing relevant information and guidance to yield direct sales. Fulfilling the retailer’s omnichannel aspirations, we built a ‘Learn & Do’ section to share and organize in-person experiences like special events, demonstrations and classes across the country.
Intelligentsia’s coffee products are often offered seasonally or for a limited time, which can impact both one-time and subscription purchases. In order to accommodate Intelligentsia’s specific shipping parameters regarding their time-sensitive coffee beans and tea products, our team built a tight integration with the company’s existing shipping API, and provisioned an AWS environment to host the site moving forward.
On the B2B side, we empowered wholesale customers, including grocers and independent cafes, to make purchasing decisions with easy-to-use tools, a simplified user experience, straightforward checkout and improved communication channels. Account level tiered pricing was implemented as a method of managing customer specific contracts and discounts. For prospective wholesale customers, more emphasis was given to the upgraded inquiry channels to better facilitate communication with Intelligentsia’s new account sales teams.
The site relaunched just before the busy holiday gifting season, and success metrics were apparent from the onset. Intelligentsia has seen a decrease in maintenance costs on legacy platform, as well as: