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Starwood Retail Partners

Providing Flexibility for Future Growth

Our Client

Starwood Retail Partners owns 28 shopping malls and lifestyle centers across the United States. Unlike their competitors, Starwood Retail focuses on developing community centers instead of just shopping destinations. Their corporate website targets retailers and investors who are interested in leasing or developing their properties. The site provides information on the individual locations, as well as downloadable resources for potential investors.

Being on a tight timeline to launch the new site before an upcoming corporate event, Starwood Retail sought to replace their standard development partner. They had already contracted with another firm, Petrick Design, to provide creative support, but they needed a strategic development partner. After conversations with the Palantir team, Starwood Retail knew they had found the Drupal prowess they were looking for.

"We could tell the expertise we were getting in Drupal, and that we were going to have the necessary support to get all of the things we didn’t know we needed.” — Brian Price, Digital Marketing Manager

Goals and Direction

Starwood Retail felt that their site was lagging behind their competitors, and they wanted to do a full redesign in a way that would allow them to provide thorough information with an updated look. They wanted their website to inspire, engage, and “wow” visitors while advancing the company brand and culture – innovative, creative, fresh, and young but with tremendous experience. The site also needed to intuitively expedite the leasing process, showcase their centers as prime opportunities, reinforce their retail expertise, instill pride in current employees, and inspire potential employees and partners.

Simply put, none of the content on the old Starwood Retail site described what services they provided. It had information scattered across different pages in a way that made the information feel overwhelming, and the content was not organized at a property level. This made it extremely difficult to find location-specific information because all of their content was shown in massive lists.

The new site needed to achieve three primary goals:

  • Surface content to make it easier for marketers, future tenants and investors to find what they needed.
  • Tell a story about the services Starwood Retail provides.
  • Modernize the site by migrating to Drupal 8.

How We Helped

Living Style Guide

Starwood Retail is a rapidly growing company, and they needed a site that had the flexibility to grow with them. We took the beautiful static designs provided by Petrick and extended them into a responsive style guide that informed the Drupal build. This robust browser-based style guide turned the design into components, so that new content can be published quickly as Starwood Retail continues to grow. This style guide now serves as a reference so that any future updates will still maintain the design system.

Flexibility in Drupal 8

After the style guide was created, it was translated into an easy-to-use Drupal interface. As we were building, we were able to show the Starwood Retail team how all of the components would come together, and we worked with them on help text, labels, and an organization that made sense to them. Since they were in on the process, it makes it easier for them to carry forward.

The new site is easier to understand and easier to populate. In the previous site, contact information would have to be updated in each location that it was present on the site. On the new site, if you update a piece of content, it will update that node across the whole site. Another example is that when a new mall page is added, that mall is automatically added to their location map (shown below).

Property map with advanced filtering abilities
Property map with advanced filtering abilities.

The Results

The new Drupal 8 site has intuitive workflows and allows the editorial team to be more efficient as Starwood Retail grows. Not only does it have a modern look and feel, it’s easy to update. Editors know exactly where they need to go, because the site functions as they intended it to.

This project is a prime example of how a collaborative process can turn out well. Through constant communication and clearly identified trade-offs, even a very tight deadline was achieved.

“We have a great corporate website now that everyone is really proud of, and it functions exactly how we wanted it to.” - Brian Price, Digital Marketing Manager