Raintree publishes and sells books to schools and libraries across the world. In addition to selling reference and fiction titles to the school and local libraries, Raintree also publishes specialist reading and writing solutions via their successful Engage brand. 


The challenge

Raintree has a lot of products AND several distinct customer types. Librarians use a lot of product information when they create their library orders. Reading ages, curriculum type, product format and many other factors are considered when deciding which titles to purchase. By contrast, literacy coordinators looking for a grammar solution need to quickly find their specific solution without hunting through the 1000s of books published by Raintree.

Navigation was obviously the number one objective, it was important that returning customers could navigate quickly to the products they wanted but new customers could follow a series of gentle calls to action to find the products right for them.  

The objectives of the web build were, therefore:

  1. Multiple navigation options that suited the different user types
  2. Simple but detailed levels of filtering 
  3. Lots of space on the homepage for showcasing new literacy solutions


The outcomes from the launch of the new site are as follows: 

The Raintree bibliographic database was the starting point for developing the Raintree website navigation. It was essential that the menus were dynamically built and updated as the Raintree product range expanded and changed.  

Naturally not everything that was needed for dynamic menus was stored in the bibliographic database, it was, therefore, necessary to build a series of data manipulation scripts that enhanced the data feeds to ensure the data was in a fit state to drive the website.

The next step was to determine where the user journeys would begin. We settled on three starting points:

Mega Menu - this was designed with returning customers and librarians in minds. This menu would allow you to navigate deep into the product hierarchy with two simple mouse clicks. Once there a series of familiar and easy to use filters were offered to make further choices straightforward. Inspiration was taken from supermarket websites to ensure the filtering system was as familiar and natural as possible.

Book Bands - a second menu was developed that returning customers would recognise immediately as the place for them to replenish their reading schemes

Home page panels - finally, we created a home page with 7 panels that could be dedicated to a changing focus of titles and solutions. These panels were built to support the solution products and featured offers.

Year on year comparisons has seen a 35% increase in online revenues 2018 vs 2019.

“EdCo's combination of data skills and market knowledge meant that my team and I didn't spend days and days in briefings. EdCo understands education and that made the whole process much, much easier and enjoyable!”
Claire Dowse, Marketing Director