With a 50-year anniversary on the horizon and posting 25 consecutive positive quarters for same store sales, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken shows no signs of slowing down. As Lees’ agency of record for six years, Stone Ward has no plans of slowing down, either. From shooting the food photography used in point-of-purchase creative, to planning and managing paid and social media, marketing efforts continue to integrate and are proving that when all agency disciplines collaborate and contribute to big ideas, success follows.

That collaborative approach was used recently to update one of Lees’ most important marketing assets – the website. While it may not seem that a quick service restaurant would lean heavily on website traffic to drive in-store sales, the numbers prove otherwise. In 2015, LeesFamousRecipe.com received an average of 45,000 unique visitors per month, with the majority of those visitors looking to find a Lee’s location. It’s precisely that type of data that’s used as the basis of a website redesign. The aesthetics of a site are extremely important for first impressions of a brand, but ultimately, it’s the user experience and functionality of a site that leaves the lasting impression. Users expect websites to meet their needs in the exact moment they want those needs met.

For the Lee’s redesign, a team of strategists, designers and developers began by first studying user flow data and then conducting competitive and industry research. The objectives: to identify and address any existing user issues and then ensure that the most appealing website attributes, best practices, and upcoming trends and technologies were incorporated.

The new LeesFamousRecipe.com accomplishes the following goals:

User-Friendly Design

The average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to just eight seconds – shorter than that of a goldfish, according to a recent study by Microsoft Corporation. This has made user experience one of the most critical components of website design and development. Since analytic data revealed that finding a Lee’s location is the user’s primary goal, that feature was positioned prominently throughout the site and made easily accessible from mobile devices. The location tool allows users to search by city, state or zip code, and will populate a full Lee’s locations list, if the user’s search is outside of current Lee’s territory. Another feature that caters to user’s needs is the Catering Estimator. With the objective of eliminating the guesswork of how much food to order, a Lee’s site visitor needs only to slide the dial to the number of people they’re hosting and the website will calculate the appropriate amounts of chicken, sides, and drinks that should be ordered.

Product Focus

If customers can see images of Lee’s Famous Recipe chicken, it can sell itself. While full-frame photography is a growing web design trend, the choice to showcase Lee’s products through edge-to-edge, quality photography was an intentional decision to whet the appetites of site visitors, regardless of the screen size from which they were accessing the website.

Franchise Flexibility

One of the keys to Lee’s overall success has been accommodating customers’ needs and desires by empowering Lee’s franchisees to customize their menu items and pricing. To ensure that customers visiting LeesFamousRecipe.com would receive the most accurate information for their location, store-specific menu boards were added to each individual franchise microsite. The individual microsites give franchisees the flexibility they seek, while still maintaining unity with the corporate brand.

Fan Engagement

Lee’s social followers are not only fiercely loyal, but they’re the brand’s best advocates. To put that loyalty to use, a new social wall was integrated to aggregate fan posts from all of the popular social networks, as well as to house Lee’s own posts about promotions and contests. The Socialize page now offers an automatically-updating, one-stop hub of all things Lee’s and encourages fans to continue tweeting and posting, knowing their comments will live on forever in the growing social wall. According to Lee’s Vice President of Marketing, Lori Seering, “We love connecting with our customers! Our new website provides a fresh look as our brand moves forward. We’ve come a long way in the past 50 years.  Here’s to providing great chicken…and meeting new fans…for many more!”

The collaborative efforts that went into redesigning LeesFamousRecipe.com laid the foundation of a new website that’s not only user-friendly, but is flexible enough to carry the brand into the future. And for a quick service restaurant brand growing as quickly as Lee’s (7.7% growth over 2014), having a digital storefront that can meet tomorrow’s demand is a worthwhile investment.

Check out the all-new LeesFamousRecipe.com and let us know your thoughts. If you’re contemplating a website redesign, but already stressed at the thought of that process, we can help! Contact Lucie Pathmann at lpathmann@stoneward.com or (501) 604-6108, for more information.