Ave Maria Press

With roots dating back to the Civil War era, Ave Maria Press is a well-established, Catholic publishing company based just around the corner from the University of Notre Dame. They offer an extensive and diverse catalog of books that appeal to an equally varied set of audiences. Unfortunately, the depth of experience and quality they are known for was not always properly reflected in their website.

When one:ten met AMP, their website had a host of problems.  For example, it was poorly organized, and there were no options for taking orders placed on credit.  These flaws severely limited what AMP could do with their website. As a result, important sets of customers paid little attention to the website, and few people ordered online. AMP decided that their best option was to start fresh with a new website.  Enter one:ten.

previous next

Devoting the first few months to listening, discussing and planning with AMP, we learned everything we could about their business operations, from customer profiles to their system for fulfilling orders. After several rounds of discussion and proposals, we developed a comprehensive plan for a new website that would accomplish exactly what they wanted.

Our first task in building the new website was to determine a good way to organize it.  Along with AMP staff, we surveyed their customers and conducted a card sort to gather input. This proved invaluable as we incorporated their ideas into new product categories, based around their different kinds of customers.

The next move was the design.  As their branding was already well-established, we created a color scheme that would blend well and highlight their distinctive blue book logo. More importantly, the staff at AMP wanted a look that would draw attention to their well-designed book covers. With that in mind, we created a simple, clean and modern design that uses lots of white space to highlight the books’ covers. Themes from the AMP logo also appear throughout the site, subtly reinforcing the company’s brand and their mission to publish.

Our e-commerce platform provided the essential structure underlying the design. Of the many technical aspects involved in building the site, a few deserve particular attention:

  • Built into the website is a system for providing discounts to customers according to the type of customer they are, e.g., bookstore, school, individual.
  • Approved customers can place orders on credit. This, combined with discounts, makes it feasible for all of AMP’s customers to order online.
  • The website connects directly to AMP’s software for managing orders, so that orders placed online go automatically into this system.‚Äč
  • The home page has a newspaper-style set of variable blocks of content that AMP can change at will, along with the ability to control every other page of the website.

After months of building, reviewing and testing the site, we finally launched the new avemariapress.com in early 2011. Online sales rose immediately and dramatically, and they have continued to grow ever since. By the one-year anniversary of the site's launch, the company's publisher said that they experienced “enormous and satisfying growth in all aspects of [their] business because of this new site.”

The future looks bright for Ave Maria Press and we're happy we could be involved.