If you live in the Phoenix metro area and are a music fan you’ve likely bought a CD or an LP from Stinkweeds, an independent record store in downtown Phoenix.  For over 27 years Stinkweeds has been focused on providing a selection of independent and popular music to customers looking to find their music by recommendations and hand-pick a physical copy. Just Last year we had the pleasure of working with Stinkweeds, a Phoenix, AZ local mainstay to re-design their website.

Kimber Lanning is the owner of Stinkweeds, she is also the founder of the localist movement Local First Arizona which is an important movement of business owners from Arizona looking to drive awareness towards buying locally to support the local Arizona economy.  She founded Stinkweeds in the early 90’s and still runs it to this day!

Some key items that needed to be addressed in the re-design of Stinkweeds.com were:

  • How do customers interact with Stinkweeds online?
  • What information do customers need to find from the website?
  • What do Stinkweed’s employees need in order to efficiently maintain the inventory and content of the website?
  • What items would tell a great story for a record store that has been part of our Phoenix metro community for nearly 30 years?

Serving Stinkweeds customers online

Stinkweeds customers

Photo taken by: Zane Jennings

The challenge with an online presence for any store selling physical goods is that the competition is incredibly steep.  A website named after a river in South America has most online customers looking for bargain deals that handcuff local retailers trying to compete online.  So trying to beat any online retailer in sales is a fool’s errand.  However, one thing Stinkweeds has to their advantage is exclusive vinyl releases intended for their type of record store.

Independent labels have begun manufacturing exclusive quantities intended to be sold solely in independent record stores.  So with the combination of exclusive releases and Stinkweeds merchandise, their online store is focused on curating items their audience is looking for.


Stinkweeds.com – Online store

Focusing on local customers

Stinkweeds made it clear from the beginning that their desire is to bring their customers into the store to experience the music buying experience.  Stinkweeds already has many articles and press linking back to their website and has great local SEO positioning from a search stand-point.  But what was crucial from the outset is their customer journey once they reach the Stinkweeds website.

Stinkweeds store

Stinkweeds store

Right when you enter the homepage you see right inside the store.  Just as their customers would in-person.  Then intentionally we follow that with an invitation to visit them in their store and sharing some hand-picked releases they are focused on sharing with customers.  This along with a couple of other items on the site make their store website intentionally unique beyond just selling records online.  They are presenting a taste of what it’s like to visit their store and inviting them to come in and experience a music buying experience.

Serving Stinkweed’s employees

I am believer that most tech-savvy people can piece together some semblance of a website but Mode Effect is truly a business consultancy here to serve our clients and part of that outcome is a website.  When approaching a website re-design for any of our clients we’re always wanting to learn about how their employees use the site and consider what would best serve them to be as efficient as possible.  This is what excites us about being in business.  Adding time and efficiency into our clients’ daily operations and helping them to achieve long term goals using their websites.

Handcrafting an interface for our client’s employees is an important deliverable for us in each project we create.  Beyond serving our client’s audience and customers, our client’s needs are among the highest level of importance to us at Mode Effect.  Our focus is to make clients and businesses more productive and profitable and every hour gained is a win!

Inviting customers to share their story

Giving Stinkweeds customers a voice.

Giving Stinkweeds customers a voice.

Another unique aspect of the Stinkweeds website is their homepage invitation to have customers share their experience while shopping over the years.  In a section of the website called “I was there when…” there’s a place where customers can engage and share a story of their experience watching an in-store performance or shooting the breeze about music with Kimber and her staff over the years.  This is an important part of the mission of this website as Stinkweeds truly appreciates their audience and wants to give their customers a voice in the Stinkweeds story.

A note of thanks

We truly appreciated working with Kimber Lanning and the Stinkweeds staff.  We want to take the opportunity to thank them for trusting us with their vision and working together with them to create a website that best represents them to their customers.  Personally as a long-time customer I truly can say this is a website that would interest me to engage (hey, I’m biased!) with the store.  We are also proud of the staff at Stinkweeds for writing great articles on a weekly basis and continuing to nurture and grow their offline and online communities.

Visit Stinkweeds.com here.
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