PacknWood, a manufacturer of “eco-friendly” tableware, food containers and related products, has boosted online sales by 30% since redesigning its website.

PacknWood makes and markets “eco-friendly” products like bowls and plates made of bamboo, which it features in decorative images on its business-to-business e-commerce site, PacknWood.com. Online sales are up 30% in the past year, but only after the manufacturer dealt with a web design challenge posed by its products, says Ryan Spooner, manager of marketing and web development.

On the one hand, many of PacknWood’s products—including serving containers and soup bowls made of sugarcane or palm leaf—are easy to present in attractive displays embellished with fresh fruit and other foods, Spooner says.

But to let buyers in on the characteristics that make its products eco-friendly—such as being produced from quickly growing plants and compostable when discarded—PacknWood had to learn to design its site in a way that blends educational material with attractive images, he adds.

“What makes it easy for us is that our products are unique,” Spooner says. “But it’s a double-edged sword—what make it easy also makes it difficult. We have to educate customers as to why bamboo is good, and how they should use our products.” PacknWood.com’s customers are buyers from distributors and food-service chains.

So a product display page of plates made of sugarcane—embellished with several still and spinning images of plates with delicacies like bright red strawberries and tomatoes—also features extensive and yet easy to view product details. The details reveal, for instance, that the plates are biodegradable, compostable, and approved for heating in a microwave oven.

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In addition, product pages display U.S. maps showing estimated shipping times for basic ground and expedited shipping to each of the 50 states; a shipping calculator shows rates for standard ground and expedited deliveries based on item quantity and ZIP code.

Spooner and one other in-house web design employee have worked on the site’s design over the past year and a half. PacknWood.com runs on e-commerce software from WebJaguar, which provides ongoing support for such projects as adding 360-degree images to product pages. The WebJaguar software is deployed under a software-as-a-service model, enabling PacknWood to access and manage the software through a web browser.

PacknWood, based in New York, is the U.S. division of family-owned Firstpack, which is headquartered in Paris. The company doesn’t release financial figures, but Spooner says PacknWood has scored several positive metrics over the past year as the new design has helped its exposure in Internet search and social media, while also increasing customer activity.

The number of unique visitors to the site is up 83%, the number registered users, up 40%. The number of orders placed on the site are up 34%, resulting in a 30% increase in online sales, Spooner says.

PacknWood is one of four finalists for the B2B Website Design award in this year’s Internet Retailer Excellence Awards, which will be presented at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago in June.

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