Mapes Case Study: Developing E-commerce Website

Our relationship with Mapes Piano String Company, based in Elizabethton, Tennessee, is perhaps our oldest – dating back more than 35 years. Historically, Hillhouse Creative has provided Mapes with public relations, general branding and print advertising services. A family-owned (four generations), global manufacturer of piano strings, springs and specialty wires, the company was the first in America to make piano wire (since 1912) and the first to patent the piano wire manufacturing process. The company has been the sole strings supplier for Steinway & Sons, a leading piano maker, for more than a century. Today, Mapes manufactures wires and springs for numerous industries, including the U.S. Department of Defense.

"Our relationship with Mapes Piano String Company, based in Elizabethton, Tennessee, is perhaps our oldest – dating back more than 35 years."

Project Goal

Mapes came to Hillhouse in 2013 requesting assistance in developing an interactive website that would allow for around-the-clock, online purchasing of piano strings by general consumers and existing clients. In particular, Mapes wanted clients living in different time zones to have immediate access to placing orders, which would significantly reduce turn-around.

Methods Used

Hillhouse developed a website through which Mapes’ customers could set up password-accessible accounts and place piano string orders in real time simply by entering their instrument’s model and serial number. The automatic ordering capability applies to pianos made by leading piano makers, including Steinway & Sons, Baldwin, Mason & Hamlin, Yamaha Grand Pianos, Yamaha Upright Pianos, Pearl River, America Sejung and Kawai.

The site is extremely user-friendly, with large click-tabs for ordering specific products. In addition, step-by-step instructions are provided for how to measure strings that need replacing, as well as how to package damaged strings being sent for duplication.

Results

When Mapes’ new website – mapesstrings.com – went live in 2013, the company was the first in the world to offer piano strings for sale via real-time e-commerce.