Business In the 21 Century

November 21, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) has added a new kind of shopping experience for its patrons, the web experience.

With the pro bono efforts of Structure Interactive (S:I), the GRAM’s gift collection is now available for secure online ordering 24-hours a day, seven days a week. And in the words of S:I art director, Amanda Haschke, “open for business in the 21st Century.”

The original online shop required the user to phone in an order, email an order or print out and fax an order form.

“The online gift shop had many visitors, but few orders,” explained Rachel Allen, retail manager for GRAM. “We suspected that the order process was a big part of the problem. S:I met with us and explained how we could use the latest web technologies to make the user’s life easier, and ours as well.”

The new site uses a sophisticated database to provide a seamless e-commerce experience. Online gift shop visitors add items to a shopping cart, and submit payment and shipping information through a secure server.

The gift shop itself features improved navigation and a layout that allows the Art Museum to spotlight items that are popular or tie in with special exhibitions.

Visitors are not the only ones enjoying the site’s increased functionality. The supporting technology for the online gift shop makes it easy to keep the sites content up to date. An administrative tool allows Art Museum staff to quickly add or change products by simply filling out an online form.

With the upgrade, the Art Museum’s e-commerce capabilities now exceed those of many larger museums. This upgrade is part of an overall effort to use the Internet to make the museum accessible to a wider audience.

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