Making Websites Come Alive With WM.Digital

WM.Digital helps online businesses look and feel like modern vanguards instead of relics of the past. Here’s how they led the way for one Miami-based handmade jewelry shop.

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Getting lost in the Internet Archive is like climbing into a claw machine filled with toys: At first you’re struck by how wonderful it is to be surrounded by dusty artifacts, but after the newness wears off, you might start yelling for help and trying to get out.

But poke through the cobwebs, and you’ll see shadowy figures scatter off the big, clunky blocks of HTML. Stay too long, and the quicksands of loading times will suck you in…forever.

“I love going back to the web archives and going to see what Amazon looked like, or Target, and it’s so sterile,” says Bradley Cummins, Co-Founder, Digital Strategist, and Creative Director of WM.Digital, a creative agency based in Miami. “It just sits there.”

Founded in 2017, WM.Digital specializes in all things digital, including e-commerce development, branding, and marketing. In other words, they help today’s online businesses look and feel like modern vanguards instead of relics of the past.

“Now we see the web is a much more custom, bespoke, interactive experience,” Bradley says. “Especially with e-commerce, it’s really important for us to break things down and visually be able to take the customer through a journey, and so we do that with the development of our e-commerce client’s website. We also do it with email and pop-ups.”

“At the end of the day, you want all eyes to be focused on your product,” says Sze Liu, Co-Founder, CEO, and Marketing Strategist. “So we add a little touch here and there to make your site more alive.”

But holding the torch to get clients out of the digital desert isn’t an easy task, especially if the brand is still finding its footing. “Companies struggle marketing themselves,” Bradley says. “Understanding your market, audience, and landscape will help clarify where you company stands. After you understand your place, you can project a unique path with a message that is authentic to your brand and image.”

Here’s how WM.Digital led the way for one Miami-based handmade jewelry shop:

Getting to know the client

For Bradley and Sze, learning more about their client before they jump into any development is a critical part of their process. “We have a questionnaire for each of the different services that we provide,” Sze says. “Sometimes they know what they want but they can’t articulate it, so you have to ask the right questions.”

“We try to be as transparent as possible,” Bradley says. “Yes, we are very transparent. Sometimes almost too transparent,” Sze adds with a laugh.

But for M16 Jewelry, WM.Digital didn’t need an icebreaker: Not only did Bradley know founder Karla Betances from work, the pair were also close friends. Together they worked at a boutique in South Beach in the same department: web. Bradley was the web developer, and Karla worked in online operations.

“Both of us were running our own businesses on the side while working full-time,” Bradley says. It was then that Karla realized that her statement jewelry pieces, which she meticulously curates and handcrafts, weren’t being showcased in the best light possible.

“I first helped design jewelry plaques and eventually was hired to redesign her website,” he says. “I think she realized even with an easy and friendly-to-use solution like Shopify, she needed an expert to create a unique experience for her customers online.”

Teaching a website to fish

Bradley immediately saw the elements that were reminiscent of the pages of yesteryear. “The website was basic and fell flat,” he says. “It did not let the jewelry experience shine, and nothing popped out.”

And so WM.Digital got to work. But first, they had to take Karla’s experience into consideration so that she had the tools and resources to dedicate her energies to what she does best: making delicate-but-powerful jewelry.

“We’ve always taken the approach as an agency to teach a client how to run a website, and we really try to build an interface that is super friendly and intuitive,” Bradley says. “So that’s been our focus, like how can we alleviate the nitty-gritty nonsense that usually bogs down an agency and really focus on the big picture.”

Making the internet come to life

The team customized the entire site with visual elements, which were authentic to the brand.

“For example, we renamed the ‘Shopping Cart’ a ‘Pouch,’” Bradley says. “We animated her logo to get the user’s attention in the email popup. We added a background image to the footer email signup. We were also able to feature collections and highlight all the different product offerings and categories on the homepage.”

It’s these little dynamic flourishes that are, without a doubt, WM.Digital’s signature. “Our style is very minimalist,” Bradley says. “We actually try to take away as much as we can rather than add as much as we can.”

 

The key, he says, is to make sure your brand is consistent across all channels, including your site, social media, and newsletters. “The inspiration is to make things fun,” he continues. “When you’re having fun your audience will feel the same. Emails, websites, and anything digital should be relatable and exciting. Most companies do not understand the importance of creating bespoke online experiences. It involves making sure your pictures, written content, and brand assets all speak the same message.”

5 ways you can use design to distinguish yourself from competitors

Define your brand assets.

“You can do this using imagery, colors, typography, and tone of voice.”

Design experiences that are user-friendly and easy to navigate.

“For example, the girls from Nic Del Mar always change the style of the shop buttons at the bottom of their emails. It’s a great way to let your user know where something is but also to change things up!”

Push boundaries and be a leader, not a follower.

“We learned this with our own company website. We always create animations for our clients, but on our website, we only had a very simple layout and design. This January we launched our very own interactive city. We created a GIF from it and sent it out in our newsletter announcing this exciting online experience. Users can click around the animated city to discover our products and services rather than a typical agency website that lists everything. We wanted to create something our users could interact with.”

The fewer clicks, the more likely the customer will find what they are looking for.

“Always offer filters and ways for the customer to find something they are looking for. Instagram is something almost all our clients use to grow their audience. We create solutions for our customers to shop their Instagrams or Insta shops.”

Less is more.

“Sometimes share just a snippet of something. Visual storytelling is something we really enjoy. All our client websites are clean and white to allow the product and images to show. Same with our emails.