Kensington Video

Brand identity, website and custom database solutions for neighborhood icon Kensington Video.

Kensington Video has been operating along Adams Avenue in the San Diego Mid City neighborhood of Kensington since the 1980s. With a present inventory of more than 70,000 movie titles, it’s easy to see how Kensington Video has become a local icon.

During a brief closure in 2015, owner Guy Hanford approached us with his idea of reopening as a film destination for movie lovers, film students and filmmakers. He imagined incorporating technology in a way the store never had before - having a digitally searchable movie database and an electronic checkout system.

We excitedly jumped on board to help him turn these ideas into the reality that is the new Ken Video.

Logo & Brand Identity

Our first step was creating a logo and brand identity. We took cues from the historic Kensington sign to create the typography for the logo, and referenced vintage movie projectors to design the icon.

In certain applications, the logo can be animated by spinning the film reels.

We were inspired by 1940s-era film and art for the new color palette. For a detailed look at how we came up with the color palette, check out our blog post here.

Social Media Setup

We wanted to take advantage of the already present social media chatter and news coverage the store had received just before its temporary closure. The community was saddened to hear of the originally planned permanent closing, but it wasn’t long before owners Guy and his mother Winnie, a celebrity in the neighborhood, realized they just couldn’t stay in retirement.

We set up Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for Ken Video and connected with everyone who had mentioned the store in the past. We had dozens of followers before posting anything.

Temporary Landing Page & Email Marketing Automation

We knew we had to harness the local virality of the store’s closure, and now the news of an eventual reopening. We created a landing page and directed all social channels there where people could learn more about the reopening plans. We included a brief message with an email signup button so we could start growing an email subscriber list.

We generated more than 100 email subscribers in just 1 week. Each new subscriber received an automated welcome email encouraging them to share the news of the reopening, which generated even more subscribers.

By the time we sent our grand re-opening announcement, we had nearly 300 subscribers.

Website & Database Creation

While the new physical store was being remodeled, we got to work creating an online home for Ken Video’s 70,000 title film collection.

To populate the database, we created a tool for store owner Guy Hanford to enter in each title with ease.

As Guy entered titles, we queried The Movie Database's API for matching titles so that we could pull in meta data such as genre, year, poster, preview link, actors and more.

To store the titles, we built a custom elastic search database, hosted on Amazon AWS, which provides lightning-fast searching and filtering capabilities.

We built a custom Angular-based search tool on top of the database to let customers search for titles on the store kiosks or from home. Try it out!

Nothing hammers home just how extensive Guy's collection is like searching for the most obscure horror films from the 1970s and seeing the infinite scroll grow and grow.

We built a custom Wordpress theme to serve as the front page of the web presence, automatically pulling in the most recent films to the front page, showcasing Winnie's latest picks and providing an easy-to-update system for events and blogposts.

Guy is an encyclopedia of movie trivia and we’re sure he’ll be creating tons of interesting blog posts and sharing his lists and all the fun facts he has to share!

Check out the website.

Shopify Point-of-Sale Custom Rental Solution

The movie database also syncs to a Shopify-based point-of-sale solution for easy checkout.

It was not trivial to setup the system to allow for rentals rather than purchases, but thanks to Shopify's API it was possible.

We sync each new title to Shopify using the API to generate a new title with the correct rental price - all linked to a scannable SKU for quick and easy checkout. We then sync the transaction back into the database using Shopify's webhooks to track which movies are checked out and for how long. This data is exposed in the admin tools so that Guy can reach out to customers who are past due.

Email Marketing Campaigns

After the store’s re-opening, each customer was entered as a new customer within the point-of-sale system.

The point-of-sale customer database then syncs with the email subscriber database and triggers a send of the member welcome email.

When a movie or movies are rented, customers receive an email receipt with the items rented and their due dates.

We also have a series of email reminders set up to send prior to due dates and even after due dates pass to remind customers to return their rental items.

These emails can send automatically based on the date, or Guy can manually trigger them based on his personal relationships with his customers.

Guy can also send special event announcements and other emails himself from an easy-to-use template we set up for him.

Kensington Video is more than just a video store - it’s a film destination that has every movie you can imagine from classics to foreign, black-and-whites, and rare films you never knew existed!

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