Case Study: Mazzaro's - Big Sea | Inbound Marketing & Digital Development

Launch the site

Mazzaro’s Italian Market

Fresh cheeses, handmade pastas, fine meats and wines, imported delicacies – it’s no mystery why Trip Advisor ranks Mazzaro’s Italian Market the #2 Thing to Do in St. Petersburg, Florida.

But Mazzaro’s is more than just a thing to do
it’s a full-immersion sensory adventure.

#2 TripAdvisor rank out of 710 Restaurants in St. Petersburg, Florida

Customers from around the world brave wall-to-wall crowds to satisfy their Mazzaro’s cravings. Business is so good that the market’s existing website couldn’t keep up. Mazzaro’s needed a site that would help them handle their large customer volume while also leaving room to grow, so they asked Big Sea to build it.

Catering chaos

A visit to Mazzaro’s on any given day demonstrates that this family business doesn’t necessarily need more feet through the door. Every member of their robust team must work at top speed to help the throngs of eager (and patient) customers.  Because the market continually brims with customers, employees simply lack the time to give directions or answer complex questions over the phone.

Mazzaro’s had a basic eCommerce platform for catering sales that they had hoped would speed the ordering process for customers and ease the burden on employees. Unfortunately, each order on that system required numerous personal touch points to confirm delivery, pickup, or timing.

If a customer needed to specify the meats or toppings on a sandwich order, or whether the order should be hot or cold at delivery, the only way to do so was to enter free text in a note box. Customers sometimes didn’t even notice the box or, when they did, often neglected to include necessary order details.

Another problem was that the system would accept orders to be picked up when the market was closed or with impossibly short lead times. Mazzaro’s employees constantly had to check for orders and call customers to arrange alternative pickup times. On the delivery side, the system would accept orders for delivery that did not meet the $100 minimum, and orders that required delivery outside of the region. The result, customers couldn’t get what they thought they’d ordered and were understandably upset when their needs couldn’t be met.

Mazzaro’s knew that there had to be a better way to serve their customers.

In particular, they wanted a better online catering system so that their customers knew what lead times were necessary for each order, and what pickup and delivery times were really available.  

They also wanted to give visitors easy, fast access to their business hours and location both on PCs and on mobile devices.

Finally, Mazzaro’s desired a site that reflected the rustic charm of the market itself.

Big Sea to the rescue

We listened to Mazzaro’s needs and built them a custom catering system that allows users to place an order and request a pickup time or delivery within a reasonable window of time. When building the system, we took into account the market’s open hours, the lead times required for specific items (handmade freshness means some items require 24-48 hours’ lead), and any holidays that might require extra time.

Small but mighty features in the new system improve order accuracy.

Now, when the customer must specify details such as “which topping” or “hot or cold,” the system prompts them to choose from a range of defined options appropriate to each order.

And if an order is under the $100 delivery minimum, the customer is only offered the “pickup” option.

Responsive design ensures the beauty and mobile-friendliness of the new site from stem to stern.  When the site loads on a mobile device, the Mazzaro’s address and phone number appear front and center so that the user can immediately click through to a map or directions. This is a boon to any business in a town like St. Petersburg, which draws thousands of tourists each year.

For a delectable user experience, we created a virtual tour by using Mazzaro’s wealth of photographs to illustrate each distinct area of the store, including the cheese room, the wine cellar, the pasta area, the café, and more.  Rich textures, rustic fonts, and hand-drawn illustrations across the site impart the over-the-top sensory experience for which Mazzaro’s is famous.  

The result? Delicious.

Because we built the pickup and delivery restrictions into the checkout process, customers understand the reality of their order requirements before they check out. Users end up with a more consistent and pleasant shopping experience – without any disappointing phone calls from the market.

Employees can view all of the store’s online sales in one dashboard, and feel better knowing that the customers have realistic expectations for completion, pickup, or delivery of their online orders.

Mazzaro’s employees now have more time to serve in-person customers and prepare orders without having to constantly check the online orders.

We took the time to optimize the site for search, so customers anywhere can now find Mazzaro’s easily. Since the new site launched, Mazzaro’s has seen a 54% increase in site visits, a 46% increase in unique visitors, and a whopping 122% jump in pageviews.

Eventually, Mazzaro’s would like to expand the eCommerce element of their business so that they can start shipping nationwide, and the system we built will allow them to do so. As new customers discover the market, and online sales grow, Mazzaro’s has the tools they need to keep up with the demand.

+54% Site Visits
+46% Unique Visitors
+122% Pageviews

A partnership, not a project

Together, Mazzaro’s and Big Sea forged a partnership, not just a project. With the custom solution we created for them, Mazzaro’s is poised to serve their customers better than ever before and expand their sales nationally. Best of all, they can achieve these goals while maintaining manageable business hours so that their dedicated staff may enjoy a healthy work-life balance.