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Southern Straps

When Branding and UX Stand in The Way of Growth

tablet and mobile showing the app







UX Design/ Code

Meet Southern Straps

apple watch with southern app

Improving online shopping experiences and brand perception to boost customer satisfaction and revenue. Southern Straps has always worked with one goal in mind: to individualize smart watches. Starting with one design in 2014, the early stage, high-growth eCommerce business became the first company to put a nylon NATO-style band on a smart watch.

Today, the company focuses on high-end, beautifully crafted replacement straps and bands for leading watch brands, including Apple Watch, in both Italian leather as well as the original ballistic nylon design with a patent pending spring bar system.

The majority of Southern Straps sales come from their eCommerce or online store, which personalizes the website experience based on a variety of known customer data points to serve contextually relevant content and products.

However, this wasn’t always the case.

In its early stages of operation, the company’s bottom line was negatively impacted by an undefined brand identity and an inflexible website with confusing navigation that made it difficult for shoppers to find what they were looking for.

When Koombea’s CEO reached out to Southern Straps to purchase watch bands, he respectfully began inquiring about the company’s eCommerce strategy. Over several conversations, an entrepreneurial relationship developed, and Koombea began suggesting ways that Southern Straps could better allocate funds to accelerate growth.

“I met with Jonathan (Koombea’s CEO) several times, and during those meetings I was reassured by his authenticity and genuine desire to help Southern Straps grow our business,” recalls Matthew Southern, Southern Straps Founder & CEO. “Between these meetings and reviewing Koombea’s portfolio, I was extremely impressed by the Koombea team’s expertise in branding and UX.”

Although Southern Straps’ business was steadily growing, with Koombea’s expertise in developing websites and applications that are intuitive to navigate for users, and that enable businesses to provide exceptional customer service while receiving and distributing orders quickly, there seemed to be an opportunity for both companies to gain.

The companies decided to partner. Koombea would help Southern Straps establish a cohesive visual identity as well as prioritize, strategize, and build a new and improved eCommerce store with an optimized UX.

apple watches with southern app

A lack of customer-facing functionality affected the brand

Experts agree that we are at the dawn of a new industrial age often referred to as the experience economy.

In order to thrive, eCommerce businesses must evolve their strategies to focus on providing enjoyable experiences instead of just products. Companies that fail to adapt to this new business landscape will be leapfrogged by their competition.

While Southern Straps had beautiful products, a sound business model, and a lean yet capable team to execute their vision, their online shopping experience was holding them back. Their store was missing some of the following UX elements that are essential for user satisfaction and was causing significant loss of site traffic and a high cart abandonment rate:

buy cart

An optimal checkout expertice

landscape in an app

Product images that render properly


The ability to sort or filter products

search bar

An easily identifiable search bar

responsives views

Mobile responsiveness

SouthernStraps app

The luxury watch experience needed a qualified partner

Rather than trying to customize a theme according to their existing requirements, Southern Straps needed to enhance their visual identity and website UX to provide an intuitive, frictionless, unique eCommerce experience for their customers.

Koombea’s approach enabled a new digital shopping experience

According to research from Stanford University, 46.1% of people claim that a website’s design is the top criteria for deciding if a company is credible or not. Further, whether a company’s website is aesthetically pleasing also plays a large role in conversion rate optimization, as 39% of visitors will leave a website if images won’t load, or take too long to load.

To optimize their business, Southern Straps needed Shopify experts. Though Shopify is often considered the most accessible eCommerce platform on the market, the company elected to handle what they are best at — building and distributing quality watch bands — and delegate the rest to Koombea.

Profound Knowledge

With their profound knowledge of commerce technology solutions, Koombea was able to find the right balance between user experience, profit-yielding functionality, and technological feasibility for Southern Straps.

Shopping experience

As part of this process came a newly designed brand logo for the company as well, which better represented the professional, sophisticated nature of the company’s products.

Southern Straps brand

Message of CEO about Koombea

Matthew Southern photo

“Koombea’s 360° consultative approach won our business. It was clear that the team not only had profound web design knowledge and experience, but the branding expertise to match. I felt confident that Koombea would be able to not only deliver a best-in-class website, but that they’d be able to facilitate a brand uplift that would help our business both on and offline”

Matthew Southern

Southern Straps Founder & CEO

A Magnificent eCommerce Site for a Luxury Watch Brand

Today, Southern Straps reaps the benefits of a scalable, flexible online store powered by Shopify that leverages the framework from their previous site while providing enhanced functionality and improved user experiences.

Hick’s Law, which states that the time required to make a decision increases as the number of alternatives increases, served as the backbone of Koombea’s design strategy for the new and improved Southern Straps website. The two core components of this design are as follows:

The company’s new site also possesses drop-down menus that make it easier to navigate, and polished, professionally photographed product images produced by Koombea.

“Koombea did an incredible job working within Shopify’s parameters,” says Southern. “Our new website reflects the sophisticated, professional company that Southern Straps is at heart. Everything has been sharpened and improved to create a more engaging user experience — from the branding to the user interface. To validate the work that’s been done, we’ve even received direct customer feedback expressing that our online shopping experience is now easier to navigate, and in general more enjoyable for our customers.”

With the new store came a refreshed brand logo designed by Koombea as well.

New Logo comment

Matthew Southern photo

“Our new logo instantly gave our business more credibility by accurately reflecting the modern, sophisticated, and mature aesthetic of our products”

Matthew Southern

Southern Straps Founder & CEO

Streamlining UX leads to a 30% increase in conversion

arm with apple watch

By launching a new, engaging, fully functional online shop along with an upgraded logo, Southern Straps was able to evolve from a cumbersome product site by breaking it up into a multi-step, bitesize process.

Doing so resulted in a whopping 67.68% increase in total quotes.

Since the release, the company has experienced significant growth across the business.

koombea improving app

The Koombea team worked very closely with the team at Southern Straps to customize and deploy the new When asked to reflect on his experience while working with Koombea, Southern stated:

CEO's message

Matthew Southern photo

“Koombea is a truly full-service development agency, and their holistic and consultative approach enabled huge cost savings on our end. Instead of working with one partner for our brand update, and another for our website redesign, Koombea was able to provide best-in-class service for both initiatives. The team moved quickly, constantly provided creative suggestions, and ultimately created an unconventional online store that has been a key factor in scaling our business.”

Matthew Southern

Southern Straps Founder & CEO

Need help building a web or mobile solution that enhances experiences for your customers?

You’re in luck! Koombea is here to help.

Our team of experts leverage their profound HiTech Development expertise to create custom online stores, integrations and applications.

Whether you’re a startup or Fortune 500 company, Koombea has the team and knowledge needed to deliver web solutions to boost your online business.