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Stave & Thief Society

Integrating a Learning Management System ("LMS") with WordPress, Salesforce, and e-commerce capabilities.

Stave & Thief Society

Stave and Thief Society, a sub-brand of the well-known beverage development company, Flavorman, began as a way to educate those in the Louisville service industry on all things bourbon. Stave & Thief has since expanded, now offering classes for any bourbon enthusiast in the country to become a certified or executive bourbon steward.

Flavorman approached the VIA team wanting to find a way to offer these courses both in-person and online, with the ability to add more spirit education classes in the future.

The Challenge

Recognized by the industry as the first bourbon certification program, Stave & Thief has forged its path since being founded in 2014. Their mission to provide a premium experience and education that is accessible to all remains the same. 

Stave & Thief member pin and coin.

Stave & Thief needed a transformation from their manual ordering and completion of online training and certification to a seamless, integrated, and automated one. Through the collaboration of our design, development, and strategy departments, the project quickly evolved into something bigger.

The Approach

One of the first components of the project required our development department to research third-party LMS (learning management system), e-commerce, CRM, and fulfillment solutions while the design department created user paths to purchase in-person or online classes being offered as certified, executive, and establishment certification levels. Through our research, VIA recommended Learndash, WooCommerce, Salesforce, and Shippo.

Website flow overview.

One of the most significant components of the project was auditing the entire site to ensure the strategy was aligned. Before we committed to any one set of solutions and went into development, we designed all of the user flows and paths in order to ensure everything was in a good place before beginning. There was a lot of collaboration to determine where to introduce LMS touchpoints in the user flows. The project expanded into our team designing course pages, course cards, overall categorization of classes, and several UI-related elements to bring consistency to the Stave & Thief LMS flow and the entirety of the website. By the end of the project, we made integrations to the homepage, course information pages, the shop, and more.

The Result

The VIA team successfully integrated multiple systems that came together under one brand with relativity, clarity, and consistency in language and messaging. 

Screenshot of Trello project management software.

This project involved many moving parts that needed to be consolidated to make sense as one experience. Through the creation of a custom WordPress plugin that integrates WooCommerce, Salesforce, and Learndash, users are empowered to purchase and enroll in classes while Salesforce collects data. The custom plugin uses WooCommerce hooks and filters, Learndash hooks, and the Salesforce API to make this happen. We introduced the integration of a completely separate learning management system into the existing Stave & Thief environment that previously had a complex development infrastructure.

Stave & Thief website on a laptop.Three screenshots of the Stave & Thief website.

After a comprehensive audit, collaboration between our UX and Development team members, and user flow and process mapping, VIA found that categorization only by certification level didn’t fit Stave &Thief. We then reassessed and redefined what those top-level splits should be to organize classes better. This altered the entire course and purchase process that affects shipping, where and how certain information is communicated to the users, how they proceed with taking a class, mapping their next step, and more.

Screenshot of ecommerce course selection. Stave & Thief video tutorials on website page.

This project was development heavy and required lots of upfront strategy. By the end of it, everything that was touched was affected by the addition of the LMS — which allowed for a collaborative, all-encompassing process between departments.

Whether your team needs development, design, or marketing services, VIA can help. Contact us today.

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