Skier with Black Diamond skis

Black Diamond Equipment Goes Headless On New Site

Jul 22 2021

From its humble beginnings, Black Diamond Equipment has always been a company of adventurers, makers and users. Their spirit of innovation is born out of experience and necessity, always searching for new ways to push further and better. The same philosophy is applied to everything they do as a brand, and they had reached a point with their ecommerce site where their branding and business required a more modern approach to eCommerce.

It was determined that an API-forward headless framework would best support these requirements. BigCommerce was selected as the platform partner best suited to support a headless architecture for the new Black Diamond site given their advanced APIs that provide access to their platform. This, coupled with a flexible CMS, gave Black Diamond the capabilities they were looking for without compromising on requirements. This approach would also enable Black Diamond’s marketing team to have direct access and capabilities to manage the site and campaigns without the dependency on developers. Consideration also included the European arm of the brand that required their own website management capabilities and different 3rd party solutions that also needed to be supported in this new framework.

Scrolling image showing a screen shot from Black Diamond's website

With a headless architecture strategy, Black Diamond was able to work alongside the ZaneRay team to integrate other solutions including BigCommerce, Prismic CMS, a 3rd party search platform, migration of reviews, a new ESP, and a custom Pro customer program already established by the brand, to name a few. This “divide and conquer” approach for the back end development allowed both teams to leverage their specific knowledge and skills for best results.

The intention, from a design perspective, was to ensure that the essence of the Black Diamond brand was ever-present throughout the site experience. Structuring the information architecture for a brand whose story includes heritage and legacy, technical innovation, a world-class ambassador roster, and a vast spectrum of sustainably forged products and parts, is a complicated endeavor. There is a breadth to Black Diamond’s story as a brand, one that requires a flexible yet cohesive approach to ensure that you can connect those stories well, all while seamlessly integrating them into product discovery and purchase paths.

Mobile screens from Black Diamond's website

One of the biggest challenges on the old site was how limited they were integrating their content and stories throughout the site.To solve for this, ZaneRay established a design system in the new CMS that leveraged reusable components to create the flexibility that allowed the Black Diamond team to infuse content into the shopping experience. Because Black Diamond has fostered such a strong community, one of the goals was to provide a quick way to either ‘shop’ or ‘experience’ the site.

For a heritage brand like Black Diamond, evolution is a delicate process. Introducing a way forward that dually supports commerce and branding needs requires a framework that is extremely flexible and modular. The headless framework, combined with a pliable design system, provides Black Diamond’s team with the right levers and tools to fine-tune their digital experience as needed over time. With all of the pieces in place, Black Diamond is well-positioned to evolve and grow their digital channel as well as support their future branding needs.