Case Studies

Express Mugs

"The printing market is changing to a more personalised world and we needed a solution to meet the demands of our customers and to enter new markets. Vertigo provided that solution.

Vertigo did thorough research into how we needed the system to be incorporated into our production systems. They developed novel processes to seemingly interlink with our production processes and develop a web shop that best serves our customers. The Vertigo system addressed many issues that as company we had not considered helping us streamline our ordering and production systems. Throughout the whole process Vertigo engage with us aa clients to make sure that the solutions provided met all our requirements and more."
Peter Sanders, Director

design and development

The design, layout, logo and branding of the Express Mugs website was done in partnership with Nine Design. There were many technical challenges as it was not your standard online store as they fundamentally only sell one product – a mug! On an individual mug any design can be purchased and printed, additionally some designs can have space for up to two personalisable words to be printed usually being a friend's or the customers own name.

During the payment phase is when all the unique order pdfs are generated, one for each mug design in the every order. Also during the payment phase the website also connects with the Royal Mail API and downloads a delivery label pdf, which is also generated and downloaded to the Express Mugs server.

When the customer enters the checkout stage their unique QR code is generated, this was done by using a specialized library called PHP QR Code Generator and this is then added to each order item pdf which is dynamically generated between the Confirm Order page and payment stages, one for each individual mug purchased in the order. Also during the payment phase the website connects with the Royal Mail API and downloads a delivery label in pdf format which is downloaded and stored on the Express Mugs server.

During the fulfillment stage each individual order pdf is printed out and then burnt on to each mug. The final stage in the process is scanning the QR code on the order pdf which then prints out the corresponding customer label. The final stage was achieved by writing a Visual Basic program that takes order information stored in the QR code when scanned and accesses the Express Mugs MySQL database on the server, over the Internet and retrieves the corresponding customer address label, downloads and then sends it to be printed.

technologies used

More technologies were used for this project than your ‘standard’ online store which included:
- php
- Javascript Jquery
- MySql
- Apache
- Ubuntu

Additional php libraries for generating customer QR codes and dynamically generating pdfs documents:
- PHP QR Code Generator (
- TCPDF, Open Source PHP class for generating PDF documents (
- Royal Mail API integration

For the order dispatch process:
- Label printer
- Visual Basic
- QR Code scanner

website marketing

Since launching the Express Mugs website in November 2016 a mixture of marketing strategies have been used to advertise the site. These include Google and Facebook Ads and a long term strategy has been using blog post content marketing which is then shared across various sites and Social Media platforms. A majority of the targeted blog content articles have been written by Amelie J Rose and you can visit her here

project results

Nine Design and Vertigo Information Systems worked together to create a site that achieved all functional and stylistic objectives outlined in the requirements stage. Nine Design provided a clean yet effective site design that worked seamlessly across all devices. Vertigo Information Systems developed intelligent solutions to technical behind-the-scenes programming problems.

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