National Aquarium

Developing a New eCommerce Experience

Aquarium building

TBG & National Aquarium

The National Aquarium is a beloved nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. With a long and storied history, the Aquarium has been a part of the nation’s aquatic conservation and preservation efforts since long before it opened its doors in the Baltimore Inner Harbor, and can rightfully claim the legacy of the nation’s first public aquarium. Today, the Aquarium features a living collection of over 17,000 fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and marine mammals living in beautifully designed, award-winning habitats. The Aquarium is a top destination for tourists in the Baltimore area, and has been one of TBG’s (The Berndt Group) favorite clients since TBG helped design its first site in 1997. Over the years we’ve redesigned the site multiple times, and also worked on components like multimedia, and most recently, ticketing.

As with many nonprofit destinations, The Aquarium faced the challenge of aligning its eCommerce experience and its capacity management solution. Like many organizations, there was a (too long) period where the organization was trapped with outdated technology and broken usability. It was time for a change! The organization acquired an improved ticketing solution and looked to TBG to help strategize and implement a more advanced user experience.

"The Berndt Group was extraordinarily helpful in planning and executing an enhanced modern ticketing solution for our guests.  They worked with our new ticketing vendor to improve and reimagine the ticketing process based on industry standards, best practices and in-house expertise. In terms of execution, the developers at TBG are unparalleled and continue to provide top-notch support."

Bryan Barnes

Digital Marketing Manager, National Aquarium

A More Advanced User Experience

A More Advanced User Experience

With Siriusware, the new eCommerce and at-gate ticketing system, the Aquarium aimed to deliver a contemporary, customer-focused user experience by further customizing the system. In addition to strategic customization of the core platform user interface, TBG created entirely new experiences in the Aquarium’s Sitecore instance, creating a 100% custom presentation of ticketing data with an interactive, easy-to-use calendar, by way of a complex integration with the Siriusware API. The former ticketing system left users with an average of 8 to 11 page loads, no opportunity to purchase or view tickets via mobile, and the Aquarium lost opportunities to upsell for membership and 4-D exhibits. The new eCommerce ticketing system, however, changed that. Users are now experiencing 4 to 5 page loads, a completely custom mobile ticketing experience, with upsell opportunities for membership, tours, donations, 4-D films and more.

Leveraging Sitecore & Siriusware

Leveraging Sitecore & Siriusware

TBG created design models for the eCommerce experience, and implemented in Sitecore. All integrations leveraged the Siriusware API, and TBG also provided custom development and technical alignment to deliver a cutting-edge user experience for desktop and mobile platforms. TBG made additional enhancements to other key pages within the Aquarium site, enabling Aquarium staff to move away from manual management of calendar and ticketing elements, streamlining their content management process.

Collaboration & Ongoing Engagement

Collaboration & Ongoing Engagement

The Siriusware API provided a solid platform for creative technical development, and was easily adaptable to allow data to be presented in a more graphic format than was previously possible. The entire eCommerce project was a true collaboration between TBG and the Aquarium and Siriusware teams, allowing for a highly customized experience based on solid usability principles. 

The project was such a success that TBG continues to add more features through our ongoing engagement with the Aquarium, and is working on additional Sitecore development support. We look forward to ongoing development for the Aquarium to take these experience to the next level, and greater integration into the website.