a statewide nonprofit takes their Store Beyond Brick-and-Marble

Indiana Landmarks saves places that matter to Hoosiers and communities across the state. Buildings with heart and soul make our towns and cities distinct, and connect us across the generations. But though Indiana Landmarks may have one eye on the glories of the past, they have the other firmly on the future. Their mission is also to put the places they save to good use, by restoring, repurposing, and revitalizing them.

The interior of the West Baden Springs Hotel. Photo: Indiana Landmarks.

The hotels at French Lick and West Baden Springs are perfect examples. Once splendid examples of the grand hotel era—and of a time when notables from Al Capone to Franklin Roosevelt came to Southern Indiana to “take the waters”—by century’s end they had fallen into severe disrepair. Indiana Landmarks helped to save and restore them to their former glory. These formerly forgotten jewels of Orange County now draw millions in tourist spending to that area.

The hotels have also been the home of Landmarks Emporium, Indiana Landmarks’ retail shops, where a carefully curated assortment of merchandise—from vintage-inspired fashions to fun and quirky gifts for kids and grownups—are available for purchase, with the proceeds going to save even more places that matter in Indiana.

Thanks to a lot of hard work and collaboration between our web team and Indiana Landmarks’ staff, you can now purchase many of these uniquely inspired items in Indiana Landmarks’ new online store—and, by doing so, help them continue their work saving buildings and aiding community revitalization efforts around the state.

Stocking the Virtual Shelves 

When we helped Indiana Landmarks redesign their website last year, they knew they wanted to add online retail. Because of the added development time, we launched the website first then started the store project in earnest.

“This project involved collaborating with two different vendors, in addition to the client,” said Well Done senior developer Josh Apgar. “That was the biggest challenge.”

Josh coordinated every detail with Revelant Technologies, a Salesforce.com consulting and implementation services firm, on the customer relations management (CRM) side, and Retail Dimensions on the e-commerce and point-of-sale (POS) side.

“It’s pretty large for an add-on store,” said Brian Deer, Well Done’s director of technology. “Getting their content, photos, descriptions, coordinating the products from the POS into the WordPress site and the WooCommerce module—that was all a lot of work. A lot of coordination back and forth between Josh and the folks at Retail Dimensions, making sure product information was coming across accurately, getting inventory synced up.”

“I can probably recite the names of all the products,” said Josh.

A selection of what’s in store.

After getting everything organized and input, there was testing and troubleshooting, to be sure the entire experience—from the landing page to the shopping cart to the application of the 10% Indiana Landmarks member discount—was working just as it should. Josh took this on as well. “I think the testing was really the biggest part,” he said.

Both Josh and Brian are excited about the analytics that will allow Indiana Landmarks to measure—and tailor—their retail marketing. “These features will really enable them to understand and adapt to the customer path,” Brian said.

For any organization out there—retail or otherwise—with merchandise selling in a physical space, adding an online store just makes sense. “Why not?” Brian asked. “If you have a product that already sells well in the retail environment, you should absolutely be selling it online. There are so many ways to promote through social media and digital ad campaigns, and it increases your presence overall. And when a customer can go online and check out products, they already know what to expect when they come into your physical store.”

No-Longer-Hidden Gems

Now that Landmarks Emporium is up and running, it’s fun to take off our developer hats and just go in and shop. Much as their website abounds in rich and fascinating details (a slate roofing expert called out of retirement to rescue a gorgeous Kokomo mansion, a rally of vintage buses at Evansville’s beautifully restored former Greyhound Station) the online store rewards browsing each of its collections in depth.

Architectural building blocks to inspire your inner Frank Lloyd Wright.

Where else, we wonder, can you find everything you need for a tea party to celebrate women’s suffrage, or find toys and books aimed at encouraging your budding architect? Where else, as the drama of the World Series takes hold, can you find a very tasteful bow tie printed with tiny baseball diamonds? Or, if science is more your thing, the most recognizable constellations?

We believe we can confidently answer: Only at Landmarks Emporium.