Slumberkins is a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) company that empowers children to identify and express their emotions as they grow and explore the world around them. The Slumberkins team came to One Design to update and extend their ecommerce site after developing new business objectives, growing their audience, and creating a beautiful new brand system.
Over the course of four months, we transformed their digital experience—harnessing the power of user research and strategy-led design to build a solution that would serve their customers now and well into the future.
In part one of this two-part case study, we'll share a look into the beginning stages of our process—starting with a deep dive into how users engaged with and perceived the Slumberkins brand.
The wonderful world of Slumberkins
Slumberkins was originally a boutique plush company that sold stuffed animals, books, and daily affirmations centered around helping children manage big emotions they deal with every day (think topics like conflict resolution, self-esteem, and mindfulness). Over time, they shifted their offering from a plush-focused sales model to one that delivers a variety of SEL tools for caregivers, gift-givers, and educators. And that’s where we came in.
To stake their claim as the premier SEL company, we needed to expand their current ecommerce site design and functionality to lead with content rather than creatures. The first step in that effort was finding the nexus between the client’s business objectives, the audience’s experience with and understanding of the brand, and the level of information needed to make an informed purchase.
We were able to hold up a mirror to these audience perceptions through our research, giving Slumberkins the insights required to shift to a more user-focused site.
Reimaging their digital home
The Slumberkins site is the central point of contact for both audiences with previous brand awareness and those new to Slumberkins. We conducted multiple rounds of interviews with these users, using qualitative and quantitative methods to uncover what was successful within both the brand experience and the shop experience. This research was integral to grounding the UX strategy and design updates we would propose in the future.
Understanding the Slumber-fan
Through interviews, we learned that long-time Slumberkins fans and first-time visitors wanted different, very specific experiences from the ecommerce site. That led us to clarify the list to four “must reach” audiences. We developed specific UX and communication strategies for the global navigation, homepage, and product-level pages that provided the correct information at specific points to speak with these groups.
There was a lot of confusion from first-time site users about the benefit of Slumberkins products. Many users skipped over the home page completely, choosing to navigate the site by pictures of the product but missing the social-emotional learning component of the product completely. As highlighting SEL expertise and leadership were imperative to the new brand focus, we added messaging across the site—from the homepage to product pages to the site navigation—to clearly and consistently convey that the products were not simply cute and cuddly, they were also beneficial to emotional growth.
Amplifying the purchase funnel
An analytical data review gave us insights into how audiences were using the site. For example, after looking at the user drop-off within the purchase funnel, we suggested strategy-driven design updates to the product detail page that would improve the user experience—ultimately reducing the drop-off. This analytical understanding became a lens through which we were able to make strategic decisions throughout the site.
Using insights to drive design decisions
Interviews and analytical data gave us a solid foundation to make strategic decisions and recommendations throughout the project. Our initial output was focused on six key areas. These areas became central to our focus and design recommendations. High-level pain points and strengths gave a snapshot of users’ impressions and perceptions of the brand. And we were able to help Slumberkins prioritize their short-term business goals while still keeping a pulse on future needs and initiatives.