Date: February 2018

The team at Tom Raffield asked us to create a bespoke shop-front website for its distinctive products.

This contemporary lighting and furniture brand is known for its pioneering approach to manufacture and design. Combining ancient crafts with a modern edge through a technique known as steam bending, Tom Raffield creates innovative products stocked by retailers including John Lewis and Heal’s.

We were commissioned to create a beautiful, user-focused website to serve as the brand’s main marketing and ecommerce platform. Given the level of media coverage Tom Raffield often receives, this site also needed to be reliable in sudden cases of high visitor numbers. 

Tom Raffield products: a coat stand, a bench and coat hooks.
Tom Raffield products: a room-dividing screen and an armchair.
Tom Raffield products: an armchair, a table and a lamp.
Tom Raffield products: a sofa, a light shade and a log loop.

To ensure that Tom Raffield’s online presence is cohesive and visually stunning, we made subtle updates to the brand’s logo and its shorthand mark. This second option, shortened to the initials TR and based on the ligature between the double F within Raffield, is also used on products with surfaces too small to feature the full logo. 

The Tom Raffield brand guidelines, including typography and logo by Nixon Design.
Steam bending for Tom Raffield website by Nixon Design.

The Tom Raffield customer

Our design process began with the Tom Raffield customer and their use of the site. The purchase of unique and customisable products should be an enjoyable experience, so we wanted to make it easy for people to find what they were looking for and place an order. We held a user experience (UX) workshop with the team to explore in depth how different customers – from individuals to trade clients and retailers – used their existing site, and what they wanted from a new one. These user journeys through the site formed the foundations of our design. 

A man holding a Tom Raffield product box with the logo on top.
A Tom Raffield craftsman measures and marks wood with a ruler and pencil.
The wireframes for the Tom Raffield website by Nixon Design.

A design for designers

Craftsmanship lies at the heart of the Tom Raffield brand and we wanted to create something that truly reflected this. The website needed to be attractive and versatile, and quickly convey the ethos of the company, while also being easy to update in-house. As with all of our websites, we created a responsive design that looks good on every device size, from mobile phones and tablets to large screens.

The Tom Raffield website homepage mocked up on a mobile phone.
Tom Raffield website mobile user experience by Nixon Design.
The Tom Raffield website product search feature on a mobile phone.
The Tom Raffield website homepage mocked up on a tablet.
Tablet user experience of Tom Raffield website by Nixon Design.
The tree canopy at the Tom Raffield woods, as seen from below.
Cardboard boxes of wooden dowels.

Streamlined sales experience

As a sales platform, the site needed to offer a straightforward buying experience for both customers and the company. Previously, staff had to manually enter orders into multiple systems, which was a time-consuming process and slowed down production. We developed a Shopify site that’s integrated with systems including Salesforce, Shopify Payments, Shiptheory and Unleashed, and allows automated order processing and delivery booking, as well as easy stock control; all while offering the level of customer service that Tom Raffield’s buyers expect. A wishlist function encourages users to save their favourite items for later and we created a login area where customers can track their order and store their information for future purchases. 

Tom Raffield products: an armchair, a table and two wall-mounted lights.
Three pages on the Tom Raffield website, mocked up on three mobile phones.

Fast loading, no matter what

Thanks to Shopify’s scalable server architecture, the new site enjoys uninterrupted service, even during peak times. This was instantly put to the test when Tom Raffield appeared on Chris Evans’ Radio 2 breakfast show following a discussion about Chris’ favourite Grand Designs episodes. With an average of 9.43 million people listening each week, there was a sharp 1,000% increase in traffic to the website. Without the company having to lift a finger, Shopify automatically deployed extra resources to keep the site online and running smoothly, meaning Tom Raffield could simply enjoy the extra publicity. 

The Tom Raffield website, featuring their house from Grand Designs, mocked up on tablet.
The Tom Raffield website blog, mocked up on tablet.

The result

In the weeks following its launch, revenue made through the Tom Raffield website increased by over 150% and the customer conversion rate increased by 50%.

A graph showing that revenue increased by over 150% and conversions by over 50%, on the Tom Raffield website after launch.
The Tom Raffield website homepage by Nixon Design.
Tom Raffield wooden lights hanging up in trees.

Scarlett Greenall, Sales Coordinator, Tom Raffield

Since launching the new website, the Tom Raffield Shopify store has seen one of our best sales peaks in a year. Working with Nixon has been a very positive experience. The team have an expanse of knowledge that has been readily available to us, they have often gone above and beyond to aid us with marketing related queries.

Product photography and styling by Sideways

Port Eliot Festival image by Sarah Louise Bennet for Port Eliot Festival

Lifestyle imagery by Tom Young and Ally Sopp