Retail & Ecommerce

Music & Arts

Unify all retail, rental, and education products with a new digital brand experience.

a web responsive website for Music and Arts


Music & Arts, a Guitar Center company, is the largest retail chain of band and orchestral instruments in the US with 200+ stores in 31 states and 300+ affiliate locations. It also offers the country’s largest private music lesson program. Their mission is to be the leader in serving musicians during every stage of their journey. To meet this mission, they needed a modern, optimized site to host their various digital retail businesses including sales, rentals, repairs, and lessons.


Together, we created a new, responsive digital experience that makes it easier to:


  • Explore the instrument and accessory inventory
  • Book lessons for in-person or online sessions
  • Set up school instrument rental programs
  • Get repairs


Aside from musicians, educators are Music & Arts’ other major customers. To support their efforts to bring music education to life, we designed and built a new educator portal to help them manage their fleet of instruments, build quotes and purchase orders, take advantage of special discounts, track repairs and rentals, and access an unprecedented number of music education programs and guides. 

As Music & Arts continues to grow through new builds and acquisitions, our flexible design makes it easy to add new stores and services.

What We Did

  • User research
  • Branding strategy
  • Comprehensive, flexible design system
  • Website redesign
  • Digital products redesign
  • eCommerce optimization
  • New educator portal
  • Personalization

Variate's methodical, customer insights-led approach led to several breakthroughs for our different customer types. Our entire executive and working team found them a joy to work with!

Lara Pierre

Head of Ecommerce
Music & Arts


  1. Design for flexibility
  2. Let personalization do the heavy lifting
  3. Create smart, simple systems
  4. Meet users where they're at with mobile


Design for flexibility

Not all products are equal: Some are quick buys like saxophone reeds or violin resin, while others, like a new instrument, require a little more exploration and contemplation. To cater to a wide range of products, we created flexible product detail pages that expand to showcase in-depth videos, detailed technical specifications, and customer reviews. 

responsive product detail pages for Music and Arts
a search experience for Music and Arts
category detail pages for Music and Arts


Let personalization do the heavy lifting

Music & Arts’ customers are all different. Among them, budding musicians looking for essential tools, seasoned players ready to invest in buying a new instrument, and educators trying to get their students what they need. By building a site that recognizes browsing and shopping behaviors, Music & Arts can show beginners entry-level instruments, pros what’s beneath the “hood” of various products, and educators special discounts.

Music and Arts educator portal and landing page
mobile UIs for Music and Arts' educator portal
schedule repairs experience for Music and Arts


Create smart, simple systems

By designing a large number of reusable components, we reduced the build time across several digital product lines. For example, the new wishlist/shopping cart experience was also used as the price quote builder for educators. This systems thinking allows for better product development and better usability. 

a design system for Music and Arts
Music and Arts homepage designs


Meet users where they’re at with mobile

School instrument rental events are highly competitive, and companies are faced with hundreds of customers at once. Those who offer the simplest, fastest experience win the most customers. Knowing this, we created an elegant, streamlined mobile experience that enabled customers to skip multiple steps in a complicated, often stressful process. The app could also be customized with QR and shortcodes, making it easier for the Music & Arts team to prepare for multiple events. 

buyer guides for Music and Arts
Rentals pages for Music and Arts

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