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Run The Edge was founded by two professional runners that saw a market in encouraging fitness through fun and motivating virtual challenges that led runners and walkers through a custom designed exercise program. They launched their very first virtual challenge using Shopify in 2015 with an impressive 25,000 sign ups.
As they continued to grow, the Run The Edge team were finding it cumbersome to continually update and manage their Shopify site to keep up with the demand and always revolving virtual challenges.
This led to them approaching us for an update to their site. Their goals were:
- Update their user experience and site design
- Creating a cohesive brand experience throughout the site
- Improve their site performance
- Launch their new community
- Build a native app
Shopify Web Design and Strategy
Before jumping into this project we wanted to make sure that we had a strong strategy in place to update their brand, vision, and mission. The key goal being to get people excited about challenges and onboard new participants more easily by clearly communicating the unique value their challenges and engaged community could have.
We began the design phase by planning their content strategy and brand messaging on all critical pages to focus on their unique selling value — well-designed virtual challenges and unique physical swag — and their brand value — a passionate and inclusive staff and community.
After determining their content strategy, it was time to creatively explore their brand style that would bring a modern feel to Run The Edge while still holding to their playful and colorful roots.
The new Shopify design balanced a polished and editorial look while carrying the brand’s personality through with bold and graphical lines that communicated energy and movement while being accented with hand-drawn elements for that authentic human quality.
After landing on a design direction, we began the development process and found a Shopify theme to use as a framework, aiming to improve performance and establish flexible components that Run The Edge could easily update as needed.
Once a core theme was established, we built out our designs for the homepage, main challenge pages, and shop focusing on the UI/UX process and creating a cohesive experience throughout the site.
We built a code page wrapper into the Shopify theme focusing our efforts on these main goals:
- Performance by lazy loading for performant images and assets
- Ensuring the site is mobile friendly and responsive
- Implementing accessibility tools
- Standardizing components like buttons, alignment, and typography
During the development process, we also approached the entirety of the project with a SEO focus. We worked with the Run The Edge team to determine our keyword strategy and created a sitemap to improve site SEO. To manage the Run The Edge site, there are many external platforms that are employed for things like single-sign-on, marketing tools, and billing. We identified a list of the tools needed and ensured that the new theme would maintain support for these tools.
Caveats when developing for Shopify and similar platforms
Before using Shopify for your platform, it’s important to determine if this platform is the best for your site’s needs because there are many things to consider like pricing, customization, or functionality options.
Shopify or similar ecommerce platforms can be pricey to run and maintain. Shopify, for example, offers a 14-day trial to try out the platform before needing to commit to at least $39 per month with most businesses scaling to $105 per month.
Although Shopify is customizable, there are limitations. Unlike other platforms that use PHP for theme customization, Shopify uses a custom Liquid setup. Not many web developers are familiar with this setup and can struggle with the learning curve.
Migrating from Shopify
Shopify isn’t very accommodating in attempts to exit the platform. If you ever decided to leave Shopify, you’d only be able to take your CSV report with you.
What we take into account when helping you decide
We consider a wide range of platforms and your tech setup before making an educated decision on what will be the best foundation for your platform. We landed on Shopify for Run The Edge due to Shopify:
- Requiring little technical knowledge for making site updates. Once we developed the foundation for the Run The Edge platform, we wanted to give their team the ability to easily make changes.
- Being SEO optimized out of the box. The Run The Edge site is already very popular among running enthusiasts, but we wanted to make sure that they had a solid foundation for further growing their community.
- Having a wide selection of theme options. This gave us the ability to find a strong foundational theme that we could further customize with unique components and functionality for their site.
Developing a community app
Many Run The Edge members are already mobile first due to tracking their challenge progress through the Run The Edge tracker app. With that it seemed natural and a crucial transition that their shop and community have a dedicated native experience where they can see new challenges, discuss and get support from other community members. Since launch, the Run The Edge app has received over 1,000 downloads.
Let’s wrap it up
It was an amazing experience to work with the Run The Edge team to create a better challenge and community experience for their users, fully building out the Shopify storefront with a new and cohesive brand and vision. From the beginning, we built their site with growth in mind, knowing that Run The Edge will only become more popular over time and they’ll now have the infrastructure and experience to support the new influx of running enthusiasts interested in joining their community. If you’d like to see more about how we can help with your Shopify project, check out our services.