Date Published (7.13.20)
Read Time 0 Min

Focused on growing online sales, we worked together to bring authentic design and purposeful utility to the new online flagship.

  • Work
Design Within Reach and BASIC® Capture the Experience of the Showroom with a Bespoke eCommerce Platform

Design Within Reach is a furniture retailer specializing in modern home goods that inspire the everyday. We were engaged by its team to create a world-class eCommerce platform that not only supports its business ambitions but also provides a home for the refreshed pillars of the brand’s expressions.

Within the last few decades, direct-to-consumer furniture businesses have undercut authentic design. The DWR team has made it their mission to put love and care into every single piece—bringing the art of craft back to the furniture industry. This called for a digital experience that not only showcased the brand’s tradition of artisanship but also leveraged the brand’s key differentiator: the human touch.

Tasked with driving sales through digital channels, we worked together to think through objectives, KPIs, and the overall approach to experience when it comes to establishing a unique approach to eCommerce for the DWR brand. “We’d like to thank BASIC’s best-in-class team for helping us bring our vision of a beautifully crafted and user-friendly eCommerce platform to life,” said Ben Groom, Chief Digital Officer of Herman Miller. “As an industry leader in digital transformation, BASIC® successfully supported our goal of connecting brand expression with overall functionality. We are beyond pleased with the final result.”

“Our approach was to bring as much detail and thoughtfulness to DWR’s digital brand expression as its designers put into the furniture,” said BASIC® Associate Creative Director Ryan Vancil. “Together, we gave the brand an eCommerce platform that represents the industry’s finest—bridging the gap between tactile interaction and digital retail.”

The design system was not only built to scale for DWR’s long-term needs but also across its family of brands, including HAY and Herman Miller, with minimal customizations.test

A great deal of testing and iterative design went into the following key experience components:

  • Product Configuration: The diverse range of offerings called for a product configuration system that was digestible, whether there was a single attribute or 30. For complex products, there was an issue with certain attributes being canceled out based on other selections. Moreover, this affected shipment lead times. The team had an inventory of ready-to-ship items, but deeper customization caused lead times to increase significantly as it had to be made to order. Our initial solve was to create a configuration experience that separated out ready-to-ship items from customized orientations. However, due to development constraints, we landed on a stair-stepped approach that made each product attribute digestible and brought attention to certain selections that increased lead time.
  • Scalable System Built for Brand Expression and Merchandising Needs: We developed a flexible platform consisting of a system of modules and pages that allowed the team to showcase their unique brand expressions. The current platform was narrow in its ability due to a limited number of modules and a shallow design language that wasn’t reflective of the other touchpoints. The system was also built to scale across other brands. For HAY and Herman Miller, their teams could update the typography, color system, and UI components, along with some minimal customized moments in order to differentiate their platforms.
  • Highlighting Design Expertise: We provided multiple design paths to enable DWR to bring its strengths from the showroom and account representatives to the digital experience. Clear calls to action to speak directly to a design expert, live support from its world-class service team, and modules dedicated to curated rooms all aid in instilling confidence in users’ online purchases.
  • Curation & Personalization: Customers have been empowered by the use of digital technologies, which in turn has created an expectation that all experiences should be personalized for them. We introduced a system of bespoke utilities designed to meet the user at their point of consideration, including curated product stories, favoriting functionality (think Pinterest dedicated to DWR), a style quiz, and a lifestyle utility.
  • Utility: The current platform lacked intelligence or a built-in functionality that could adapt to a diverse range of product types. We helped introduce and elevate best-in-class eCommerce utilities, from adaptive attribute filtration to in-grid product merchandising.

Working side by side with Design Within Reach’s embedded team brought forth a unique collaboration model and project structure. We helped manage and direct their work, educate them on processes, and guide them through a large-scale replatform—and we couldn’t be more excited about the results.


(Design Within Reach)

Design Within Reach makes authentic modern design accessible. When it was founded in 1998, people weren’t able to buy classics without visiting Europe or enlisting intermediaries. DWR changed that by providing access to iconic designs for the first time, and they’ve continued to deliver the best in authentic modern design ever since.


BASIC® is an experience design company that thrives at the crossroads of culture and technology. Combining human intuition with systematic thinking, its work in strategy, design, and digital transformation is recognized for challenging business convention alongside the world’s most forward-thinking brands.

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