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A Stunning New Website & Grand Opening Marketing Support Propel a Minority-Owned Chicago Dispensary into the Spotlight

We created a visually striking, highly functional website for cannabis dispensary Ivy Hall and supported their store launch with effective marketing collateral and signage.

The team behind Ivy Hall was far from “green” in the cannabis space when we met them. With years of industry experience under their belt, they wanted to launch a different kind of experience — a “sensory dispensary” that flipped the notion of a cold, sterile cannabis store environment on its head.

VisualFizz was up to the challenge. We partnered with the team at Ivy Hall prior to the launch of their first brick-and-mortar store to not only get a beautiful, on-brand new website up and running, but also to help them ensure their grand opening was a success. This case study covers the website build and launch support services that we provided.

About Ivy Hall & Why They Came to Us

Ivy Hall is a Chicago-based dispensary that sells a variety of flower, tinctures, topicals and other THC and CBD products. Sixty-one percent of Ivy Hall is Black-owned, and the company’s social equity license was one of the first two issued by the state of Illinois in an important step for Black business owners in the industry. Ivy Hall co-founder Nigel Dandridge, a cannabis industry veteran, applied to be the social equity licensee for Ivy Hall. He also serves as its chief strategy officer.

When Ivy Hall came to us, they had brand guidelines to use as a north star for the look and feel of their marketing materials, but they hadn’t yet translated those guidelines into many tangible digital properties.

We partnered with the Ivy Hall team with the goal of building a dynamic and beautiful website that spoke to the existing brand guidelines while bringing them to life in exciting new ways. We ensured that all digital assets created would be cohesive with Ivy Hall’s physical stores that would eventually open.

Ivy Hall also came to us to help support their Chicago location’s grand opening with email marketing, social media support and in-store environmental signage.

Services we provided for this project include design, content writing, web development, social media and local marketing.

Designing and Building a Best-in-Class Website

With a brand new brick-and-mortar store opening soon after we began work with Ivy Hall, we knew we needed to hit it out of the park with the website.

It was our goal to create an unbeatable digital experience through a modern, clean, and highly functional website. But more than that, the organization’s website needed to evoke an emotional response — one that echoed the inviting calmness and undeniable cool factor that customers are meant to feel when walking into an Ivy Hall storefront.

With this first iteration, our goals were to:

  • Generate online orders for in-store pickup
  • Build the base for their membership club
  • Increase awareness of Ivy Hall
  • Differentiate against competitors with a unique brand, style, and approach to dispensaries

We provided design, copy and development services to reach these goals, creating a stunning, easy-to-use, mobile-optimized website that will be able to evolve and expand as the company does. Read on for more details.

Web and UX Design

We provided full web and UX design services for the Ivy Hall website. Some highlights include:

  • Sophisticated design – Up-to-date with the latest design trends and featuring both eye-catching and subtle elements that speak to the brand guidelines and Ivy Hall’s cannabis offerings
  • Prominent CTAs & icons – These allow for easy access to product/purchase/pickup information and social media pages
  • Clear navigation – It’s easy for customers to find exactly what they’re looking for Adaptable layout – It will be a straightforward process to add new pages/content to the site as needed
  • Interactive elements – On page titles and imagery, these interactive elements create dynamic movement and lend an air of sophistication to the site
  • Prominent club membership sign-up – We knew this was a priority for Ivy Hall, so we incorporated a signup section on most pages

Content Writing

With the language in the brand book that Ivy Hall provided as a starting point, we crafted copy for each web page. Nailing the brand voice was important here, as Ivy Hall aims to come across as sophisticated and high-end while at the same time being warm, welcoming and approachable.

We wrote each page with their voice in mind, keeping it “timeless, not old-timey” as outlined in their communication pillars. The outcome is a site with some serious personality, all while putting the user at the forefront with clear calls-to-action and easily digestible chunks of content.

Front- and Back-End Development

We worked diligently and under tight timelines on the development of Ivy Hall’s website. Some highlights include:

  • Custom WordPress theme – Built from scratch to meet Ivy Hall’s design and functionality needs
  • Mailchimp integration – Forms send data to Mailchimp to manage email campaigns
  • Custom age gate – Asks if you are 21 or older, otherwise directs you to leave the site
  • Customized Google map – Made with custom design and markers
  • Full quality control – Because we partnered so closely with Ivy Hall, we were able to deliver a quick turnaround on development of individual pages and a quick turnaround on QA, both pre- and post-launch of the site

3-2-1, Liftoff: Supporting the Brick-and-Mortar Store Launch

With Ivy Hall’s grand opening fast approaching, VisualFizz quickly got to work creating multi-channel digital campaigns to drive interest with customers — and follow up with them after launch. We also had the opportunity to create both print and digital environmental materials for the physical store.

Digital Marketing Support

Videos

We created two videos, including footage capturing and editing for both. One showcases the grand opening, including beauty shots of the store, ribbon cutting and speeches. The second video is a sizzle reel for social media featuring enticing visuals of the store and its product offerings.

Emails

We designed, wrote, developed and deployed two emails: An invitation email for the grand opening event and a reminder email to come visit when Ivy Hall was newly open.

VisualFizz and Ivy Hall were both pleased with the performance of both emails, both of which vastly exceed benchmark metrics for open rates and click-through rates:

  • Invitation email metrics: 72.7% open rate, 41.3% CTR
  • Reminder email metrics: 67.6% open rate, 13% CTR

Social Media

Our social media work for Ivy Hall spanned two platforms: Facebook and Instagram.

  • VisualFizz created and optimized a Facebook page for Ivy Hall, adding hours, about info and details and designing cover photos and profile pictures
  • VisualFizz optimized Ivy Hall’s existing Instagram profile and created a series of posts & stories to promote the grand opening

Overall, we created a look and feel that is visually cohesive with the new website. And while Ivy Hall primarily handles their own social media posting on a daily basis, the posts that we were asked to contribute had the most reach, engagement, comments and clicks to the website.

Notable Social Media Metrics:

  • 1,100% increase in reach week over week
  • 2,000+ profile visits in 7 days (a 698% increase week over week)

Brick-and-Mortar Environmental Signage

Ivy Hall also needed some support for in-store materials to coincide with their launch. Our designer worked on a tight timeline and with challenging brand guidelines to produce multiple high-quality iterations of the following:

  • Digital menu/promotion boards – Eye-catching and easy-to-read visuals displayed on 75” TV screens throughout the store
  • Product cards – Customizable and able to be printed out to display with products

We’d Like to Think We’re Buds with Ivy Hall

VisualFizz continues to partner with Ivy Hall on its digital marketing efforts. We can’t wait to see what’s in store next for them!

Let’s Launch Your Brand the Right Way

Need a new website or help launching your product, brand or store? Drop us a note below. Let’s start a conversation about how we can help your business achieve its goals!

About

Ivy Hall was created as a warm and welcoming alternative to the sterile, transactional dispensaries that are typical of the industry. They are a friendly neighborhood boutique that takes pride in lifting your spirits with concierge-level service and premium products, all in an atmosphere that simply can't be beat.
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