About Plural Publishing
Plural Publishing produces leading academic, scientific and clinical publications in the fields of speech-language pathology, audiology, special education, singing and otolaryngology. The company’s publishing philosophy is to lead the future direction of the disciplines in which it publishes and to work with the brightest individuals in the profession to advance the field. To that end, Plural’s books are published following rigorous procedures similar to refereed scientific professional journals.
The company serves the following customer groups:
- Professors/instructors (Primary audience)
- Industry professionals
- College and medical school students
- Textbook authors
An Old-School Website Irritated Customers and Was Expensive to Update
Plural Publishing needed a site that could easily organize and display thousands of book titles. Specifically, the company wanted to address four marketing objectives:
- Increase textbook adoptions by driving instructors to the right textbooks and obtaining their critical institutional and course data
- Increase sales of professional, non-academic books
- Build a more robust marketing list of customers and prospects
- Increase direct sales to students
Holding the company back from achieving these ambitious objectives was a cumbersome, old-school website that prevented visitors from buying online, quickly finding items and lacking modern features. The site was custom-built by one person, and unfortunately, could only be updated by this individual, which turned out to be a costly limitation. “We had to contract out changes, which didn’t give us enough control over what we were doing,” said Kristin.
A Modern, Robust System For Searching Thousands of Book Titles
To accomplish Kristin’s objectives, we chose the dominant e-commerce platform Shopify to allow buyers to browse the company’s inventory from the primary navigation by course, subject, format and author. With numerous search options, visitors “shoppers” could easily find a title even if they had limited information on the book. Additionally, website users can search by keyword, ISBN, or title.
Through the flexibility of Shopify, instructors could also click an option to request an examination copy of any book, which is standard industry practice. Here, the user can request a 90-day exam copy or the standard.
We paired the e-commerce platform with the flexible CMS Concrete5 for displaying and managing static pages such as Contact, About, and For Authors, as well as numerous others. The e-commerce plastform syncs orders with an inventory and accounting tool specific to the industry, called Acumen. Also, professors and instructors who frequent the site can set up their account and manage their purchases through an easy-to-use portal.
“We’re driving more traffic to the website, and users are spending more time.”
From Plural Publishing’s and Kristin’s perspective, the addition of Shopify and an intuitive CMS to their marketing stack was a game-changer. “It’s so nice now to have Shopify and to be able to see e-commerce conversions through our analytics tools,” she said. Additionally, “I can say I’m sure it’s [CMS] saving us money in terms of time and effort. The new CMS is so much easier than our old one.”
“We’re getting more traffic to the website and I think users are spending more time and getting to where they need to be a lot faster and with a lot less confusion.”
When asked why her company chose Windmill Strategy to design and build their new website, Kristin noted it came down to an age-old business principle: listening and communication. “Windmill Strategy put forth the best proposal, and it felt like you really understood our business needs and what we were looking for. The communication was great throughout the project from the whole team; and, you were easy to work with.”
Your team really interpreted what we wanted -- probably better than how we would have imagined it ourselves. We had this vague idea of what it should look like, that we weren’t necessarily technically capable of explaining it, but you took it and ran with it, which is great.