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Michael Rauch

Michael Rauch

Project Launch: New RG Hockey Source for Sports Website

In this post we celebrate the launch of the new RGHockey.com website. Offering a brand refresh, coupled with some new web based technologies, we are solving both their digital presence needs as well as creating some new tools to better serve their loyal customer base.

RG Hockey Source for Sports launches new website

It was the early part of 2017 when the ownership group of both Center Ice Pro Shop in Fort Wayne Indiana and also RG Hockey in Romeoville Illinois partnered with Ontario Canada based buying group Source for Sports.  With this new partnership RG Hockey was in need of a brand refresh and a desire to pull Center Ice and RG Hockey into one brand image.  

As with any re-brand, there are multiple aspects to consider.  Where Rauch Digital came in was in servicing their digital marketing needs.  After our initial consultation, the focus was directed at both a refreshed website, and also search engine optimization (SEO).  A key element that needed to be considered was that over the past several years, the RG Hockey sites had earned top five results on Google for key pages such as skate profiling.

With these focused items in mind, we started with the website refresh…  

Website Design  

Incorporating the latest responsive website design techniques, we developed a consistent customer experience for those browsing on desktop, tablet, or mobile.  This primary focus on the design was driven by the the estimated 52.2 percent of mobile website traffic generated in 2018.  Creating a mobile first design drove all initial creative decision making.     

RG Hockey Original Site - Desktop

The other key element to the new design was the brand image.  With the new Source for Sports partnership, there also came new color schemes, images and logos, brand messaging, and content.  The trick was to make the new RG Hockey site fit within the design guidelines of the Source for Sports brand, but keep in unique for their stores.    

As with any brand change, there was also a need to inform the customer who had been accustomed to previous branding and naming.  To solve this, we created the co-branded main landing page. Then created store specific pages which showcased the old logo directly next to the new logo.  This messaging better ensured customers looking for the old Center Ice information would not be deterred when they now saw “RG Hockey Source for Sports.”

Search considerations

As with any existing site, there was careful care taken to ensure that any SEO juice the site was currently getting remained.  First, careful consideration was taken on all meta descriptions, page titles, and keyword placement. Coupling this with the mobile friendly and speed focused design, we also incorporated an SSL certificate to round out the foundational search elements.  

RG Hockey Skate Profiling Search

After launch, a new site map was registered with Google through the Google Webmaster Tools suite.  This allowed the new site to be indexed through Google, and all former pages which no longer existed were given the proper 301 redirects.  This created a robust technical strategy for the initial SEO at site launch.

Appointments Module

The re-branding, mobile design, and SEO elements were all well and good.  However, none of these did more than allowed customers to find RG Hockey on the web and showcase the new brand image.  That is where our next element came in.

With the key differentiator of RG Hockey being their knowledgeable and specialized services, we wanted a way for customers to interact with the pro shop staff for the unique services they provide.  As an example. If you are a true hockey player, there is a good chance you are rather picky about who sharpens your skates. The biggest problem is that it is sometime hard to know when that special RG Hockey staff member will be at the shop.  

That is where the Appointments Module came in.  Now customers are able to go to the RG Hockey website and schedule an appointment with their favorite staff member.  Services like skate sharpening, profiling, repairs, and much more are easily scheduled so customers know that when they come into the shop they will get that white glove service.  

Here is what the owner of RG Hockey had to say…

“I have long had grand ideas for my website but the idea of a complete redesign and adding several complicated modules was daunting.  I didn’t know where to start.  Mike was very thorough with his initial interview, introduced some new ideas, gave me a competitive quote, and was never a pushy salesman.  During the process Mike’s responses to my emails have been prompt and he has accomplished tasks within his projected timeline.  We schedule regular meetings to discuss how the site has performed, what I want to see changed, and what goals we want to work towards in the future.  Thanks to Mike the entire process has been much simpler than I could have imagined.  The result is a truly ‘custom’ website and I am a very happy customer!”

What’s next?

While the new website is now live, there are many more enhancements coming in the future.  Scheduled for launch in the early spring, team managers will be able to interact on the web for all of their team orders via the “Orders Module.”  A fully digital experience will allow teams to provide size and quantity information for their entire team order.

There is also e-commerce functionality on the horizon.  This is a “phase 3” item this is still rather undefined.  But rest assured, RG Hockey will continue to develop innovative ways for their loyal customers to interact with them.  Creating solutions that further position themselves as leaders in the hockey pro shop industry.

In summary      

This was an exciting project, for a customer that I have been a customer of for quite some time.  The forward thinking staff at RG Hockey Source for Sports have re-set the bar of what it means to be a full service hockey pro shop!  

Does your organization needs a new website, help with search engine optimization, or any other software solutions to better serve your customers?  Reach out to Rauch Digital today and start the journey toward your improved user experience!  

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About the Author

Michael Rauch

After building a career on managing software development projects with Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, and everything in between, I continuously saw an opportunity to help SMBs create agency quality websites, without breaking the bank.  Learn how we are connecting passions to websites.

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