Books-A-Million Website

Books-A-Million, Inc.
Birmingham, AL


Creative Direction/Strategy


  • Craig Hansen, President of
  • Happy Cog, Design and Development
  • Big Communications, Campaign Art Direction
  • Steven Lyons, Creative Director

Facing increasing pressure from Barnes & Noble, Borders, and a hard-charging Amazon, needed a reorganization, refresh, and rebrand to keep its share of the market. It also faced the internal pressure of delivering sales as the flagship store in the 220-store chain.

Working with Craig Hansen to lead the development of the new site, we organized the site roadmap, developed a UX flow, and optimized the sales funnel. Needing to develop a front-end on top our NCOM commerce engine, I tapped Happy Cog to deliver my creative direction through design and development. Long a fan of their work, I knew they would be able to deliver a unique user interface in an efficient visual experience.

While bringing sitemaps, wireframes, brand palettes and imagery, my overall direction was to support a new brand message of “More of everything you love.” Focusing on a comprehensive search function, a perpetual shopping cart, and product modules incorporating a “single-page” experience, Happy Cog delivered our unique front-end that was faster, more efficient, and user-focused. It allowed the user to shop, find, research, and buy more efficiently.

To announce the launch of the new site, I needed to bring “More of everything you love” into the store and external advertising. I brought on Big Communications for art direction and photography in the campaign. Focusing on our simple brand palette and talent photography that reinforced shopping categories, we developed a branding platform that would give us consistent messaging on its own or when accompanying specific titles.

Home and product details in the primary shopping funnel. We used a modular approach to keep these main templates compact, yet still accessible to much of the core shopping experience. Bestsellers, new releases, curated lists, wishlist, cart, search, and store finder were all accessible within one click. Product slider modules loaded dynamically, allowing the user to access more products without a full page load, but kept the intial pageload small. Getting to long-tail content through search was quick and minimal.

The perpetual cart interface allowed the customer one-click access to their cart without new page load. It also had a longer expiration period, allowing customers to abandon and return to thier previous shopping instance. Within search, users were able to refine their results dynamically through type, category, and other granular segments. While these features are fairly ubiquitous now, these were unique advancements in commerce sites.

More of everything you love was the overall campaign message for and always the final statement in any promotional copy. Previously, the site had been branded as a separate entity and I wanted to bring it under the overall Books-A-Million brand. Using a tagline approach that also allowed us to be contextual, it focused on ‘more online’ instead of the url.

Launch campaign materials featured instore posters and shelf inserts. Also developed into online and print advertising visuals.