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Hello, and welcome to our brand new, revamped website!
We thought we’d take this opportunity to give you a little tour around the site—show you what’s new in terms of features and usability, and give you a little insight as to why we decided to upgrade our site and also how we did it.
Hopefully the first thing you noticed about the site is that it looks quite different from our original one! While our old site was very distinctive in its design, we wanted to go with a look that would allow the products to stand out more. We went with a white background for most of the site rather than the red and off-yellow shade of our original site so you can have a neutral palette on which to look at colour charts. (you can read more about our images below!)
We have been working on this website for almost five years in some form or another, and there have been a few different design decisions before we settled on the final look.
You can see some of the different designs we thought about below:
Some of the different designs we considered for our new site
Originally, we were going to keep the same framework of the site (which was built on OSCommerce) so we had a few designs done up outside of our company, which you can see above.
Eventually, we realised that in order to really make a website that would be more user-friendly, more aesthetically pleasing and do all the different things we’d like it to do, we’d need to upgrade to a more robust content management system.
Some of the designs considered for the Magento site, which heavily influenced our final design for the site you see now
When we first started considering upgrading our site, we came across a CMS called Magento, and thought it would be perfect! You can see above a couple of the designs we came up with for our new Magento site. However, we ended up going down a different path with our current web developers—Willows Consulting—and we decided to go with a different CMS—the one our final site is built on—called Opencart.
We designed the bulk of the site ourselves, making sure to include features we thought our customers would appreciate.
One of the things we’re most excited about is our Pro/Student page—a page dedicated to the different discounts and benefits we offer to professionals in the make-up, beauty and film industry, as well as students in those fields.
You can see when you visit the Pro/Student page that we have four tabs, each with a different piece of information required for applying for our discounts. We found that we got an awful lot of emails and questions regarding our discounts, so we thought it made sense to create a page that had the answers!
We also now have different pages dedicated to all the different aspects of the business, from Beauty Salons and Colleges, to Make-Up Artistry and Film & TV Productions. We also have a dedicated brands page, where you can find links to all of the brands we stock, not to mention specially designed content pages on our four exclusive brands: Mila d’Opiz Skincare, PhD Safewax, MaqPro Paris and our very own Sunaura Brushes!
One of the biggest tasks we undertook was taking proper photos of all our products. We have over 3000+ products including different colours, sizes and types, so it was a monumental task.
A preview of some of the colour charts we made for our products
Wherever possible, we made sure to create colour charts (see an example of the MaqPro Paris Fard Crème Pansticks above!) so our customers could get a good sense of the shade they were looking to purchase. One of the biggest issues we had with our old site was we were limited to only one product photo per product, and it was so small as well! It was virtually impossible for our customers to know exactly what shade they were buying. So, that’s why we wanted to take advantage of our new site and make sure we had big, beautiful, and colour-accurate* images wherever possible.
*Of course, while we make every effort to make sure the images are as accurate as possible, different monitors, screens and devices may show the colour slightly differently than intended.
We have completely overhauled our site navigation, and hopefully it will be a lot clearer where products are. You can also now browse the entire catalogue of a parent category—something that wasn’t possible on our old site! (For example, if you wanted to just look at alcohol-activated palettes, you can do so here. But if you wanted to see all the different types of facepaints and bodypaints we do, then you can explore the parent category here!)
Checking out will also be a LOT easier on our new site. Not only is the checkout system much more streamlined, you can now checkout as guest, and easily select your billing and shipping address. We can also now accept card payments through our Realex system! So you can choose between our regular Paypal checkout or pay directly via credit or debit card.
In terms of shipping, we have a lot more options than our previous site! As well as our standard An Post shipping that you would be familiar with, we now offer Tracked An Post (which means you’ll receive a tracking number so you can keep an eye on it!), DPD Courier, and An Post Express, for the times when you need your products ASAP. We also now have the option to collect from our shop in Newtownmountkennedy, which is a nice addition for people passing by!
Another big feature in our new site is we can now cater to international customers much more easily. There is the option at the top of the page to switch between currencies (currently you can choose between Euro and Sterling), and we have also included our international UPS shipping, which means we can easily send our products overseas.
We have also now introduced reviews, which we’re really excited about! You can now leave reviews for all your favourite products and let other customers know what you thought about them.
We hope you like our new website as much as we do, and that the improved navigation and user experience will allow you to find the products and information you need more easily.
We will be updating this blog on a regular basis to keep you up to date with all of the new things happening at Sunaura, such as new products, tip and tricks, upcoming demonstrations, masterclasses and other events, as well as regular updates on the make-up, beauty and film industries.
Take a moment to explore our new site (maybe bookmark us!) and be sure to check back regularly for new products and information! If you have any questions or comments about our new site, then please do let us know through email or social media.
- Claire, Josephine, Lindsay and Danielle x