Ecommerce Replatforming: 10 Multi-Million Dollar Businesses Share How It Unlocked Growth

Ecommerce Replatforming: 10 Multi-Million Dollar Businesses Share How It Unlocked Growth
  • After migrating to Shopify Plus 21 days before Black Friday 2017, SweetLegs earned $2 million in sales in the first month; had its best Black Friday ever
  • Soon after replatforming with Shopify Plus, MMA Warehouse improved mobile conversion rates by ~60%; saved $400,000 per year in site updates
  • Daymond John’s “most successful” Shark Tank investment, Bombas, has grown 300% YoY; hit $50 million in revenue last year
  • After a costly security breach and being told they had to “upgrade,” IMA replatformed with Shopify Plus; increased holiday sales 35.85% YoY & earned $6M in 2017 revenue

Can you recall a decision you made that changed the course of your life?

The leaders, entrepreneurs, and businesses I’m about to introduce certainly can. A bold decision to switch ecommerce platforms took their businesses from struggling to unstoppable.

The choice to replatform is never an easy one … so, let’s examine their ecommerce challenges, experiences through the process, and impressive results:

  1. Replatforming in Under 30 Days; Best Black Friday Ever
  2. Landing on Forbes 30 Under 30 with 1,447% Growth
  3. Migrating Multiple Sites and Reducing Costs $250K
  4. Lifting Mobile Conversions 60% While Saving $400K
  5. Doubling Company Size; Handling Super-Bowl Traffic
  6. Freeing Up Funds to Reinvest in Business Growth
  7. Ending Multiple Platform Nightmares; 2X’ing Conversions
  8. Saving $100K in Fees & Growing YoY Revenue 36%
  9. Driving 347% YoY Sales Growth through Site Stability
  10. Scaling to $50M in Annual Sales & Making a Shark Smile

Interested in what migrating to Shopify Plus looks like?

We’ve just released our most-detailed guide to ecommerce migration and replatforming ever … be warned: this behind-the-scenes and hands-on look isn’t for the faint of heart.

Instead of a surface-level sales pitch, it includes everything you need to know about large-to-enterprise migration.

Ecommerce migration guide: cover and sample pages

Access the guide today

1. Replatforming in Under 30 Days; Best Black Friday Ever

Years in business: Since 2014

The Black Friday disaster: A complete failure of their ecommerce site in 2014 (hosted on WooCommerce) during Black Friday cost SweetLegs six figures in lost sales.

Re-launching with Shopify Plus in <30 days: The husband and wife co-founders, Addy and Chris Pafiolis swore that they’d never endure the same Black Friday fate again. After searching for a platform that could migrate their site in under 30 days (most platforms quoted a minimum of a few months), SweetLegs found a Shopify Plus Solutions Partner Port80, that could get the job done in under 30 days.

The migration started during the first week of October, and the site was live in early November.

Best Black Friday ever: Prior to Black Friday 2017, the team tested the SweetLegs site to ensure it wouldn’t go down this time.

As anticipated, the site didn’t crash and the company had its best Black Friday sales performance to date.

SweetLegs Replatforming to Shopify Plus for business growth

Instant gratification:

  • ~11,000 orders were processed during Black Friday Cyber Monday 2017
  • That made up 25% of all Sweetlegs’ orders over the last 12 months
  • The first month alone added up to $2 million in sales

What they would have paid to go with another provider: Upwards of $100,000

What we noticed was – the new Shopify site, no matter how hard we hammered it with our distributors, it did not go down.

Chris Pafiolis, Founder of Sweetlegs

2. Landing on Forbes 30 Under 30 with 1,447% Growth

Years in business: Since 2011

The vacation that changed everything: After graduating from college, friends Paul Goodman and Griffin Thall went on a surfing trip to Costa Rica. It was there that they met a local homeless man selling bracelets on the beach. They bought 400 bracelets from him and went back home to San Diego with an idea for a business.

How bracelets transformed the lives of local artisans: The bracelets sold out in just a few days at a boutique in Goodman and Thall’s neighborhood. That proof of concept was the inspiration behind the now popular ecommerce company Pura Vida Bracelets.

The business has transformed the lives of not only the homeless man they met but 100 Costa Rican artisans they now employ full-time, paying them 4X the minimum wage in their country.

Home where they belong: Pura Vida was lured away from Shopify for a while by an ecommerce provider that wasn’t able to deliver on the promises it made. The company made the switch back to Shopify Plus a few years ago to help scale their already impressive business growth.

Since replatforming, Pura Vida Bracelets has achieved a massive:

  • 1,447% growth rate over the past five years
  • 200% YoY growth rate from the 2016 to 2017 holiday seasons
  • 210% YoY growth rate from 2017 to 2018
  • 110,000+ army of micro-influencers on Instagram, helping to 4X sales

    Loving Life: The company’s rapid growth — much of which has been fueled by an interlocking tech stack of ecommerce tools — landed Goodman and Thall spots on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

    We were just blown away, my mom was crying, and the staff was super excited. I’m running a multimillion dollar company, staring out my window at the ocean, and loving life.

    Griffin Thall, co-founder of Pura Vida Bracelets

    3. Migrating Multiple Sites and Reducing Costs $250K

    Years in business: More than 25 years

    A costly and slow platform: Katrina High, Director of Merchandising and Site Experience at Fit For Life — a family of lifestyle and fitness brands — used to wait months for simple requests like a new landing page to be created by the company’s previous vendor, Demandware. Those tasks also cost her $125 to $200 in hourly outsourced developer fees.

    Simplified services and solutions: With Shopify Plus, High’s team can now create landing pages by themselves in one day. The team also used Plus and its ecosystem to:

    • Improve the Gaiam site’s visual navigation
    • Grow its wholesale businesses
    • Launch new brands

    Healthy growth: Soon after replatforming, Fit for Life brands achieved...

    • 70% lift in conversions on the Gaiam site, with significant sales increases
    • SPRI brand’s account sign-ups have grown 6%, with wholesale now accounting for 47% of the brand’s total ecommerce sales
    • Gaiam’s account sign-ups have increased 22%, with wholesale now accounting for 18% of the brand’s total ecommerce sales

    Switches and Savings: Replatforming from Demandware, plus swapping out its OMS, ERP and warehouse has saved Fit for Life $250,000 per year.

    Shopify Plus is tried and true. The platform is a proven performer. It’s so nice being able to trust that when you flip the switch nothing is going to break.

    Katrina High, Director of Merchandising and Site Experience at Fit For Life

    4. Lifting Mobile Conversions 60% While Saving $400K

    Years in business: Since 2007

    The collision that changed his life: Mika Casey, founder of MMA Warehouse, crashed his car into a house while chasing a UPS driver after work one day. Soon afterward, he quit his day job to focus entirely on his ecommerce startup business.

    “I was so tired I didn’t have the energy to drive an hour round trip to the UPS store so I figured I’d try to chase him down somewhere in the neighborhood,” he said.

    A costly lesson: Casey and his MMA Warehouse team switched ecommerce platforms a number of times to support increased demand for their popular mixed martial arts products.

    Being told that he’d have to spend $200,000 and wait months to upgrade to a mobile responsive website was a deal breaker. “That was not what we signed up for, and we should not have to pay huge sums of money just to keep our site current,” said Mika.

    The game changer: After replatforming to Shopify Plus, Casey and his team feel like they now have a “future-proof” ecommerce platform upon which they can rely.

    Replatforming ripple effect: MMA Warehouse achieved a …

    • 60% (average) improvement in mobile conversion rates
    • 35% of sales came from mobile traffic in one 30-day period

    How much Shopify Plus is saving MMA warehouse: $400,000 per year!

    Casey now installs most of the website upgrades himself – reducing the need for developer support. And he says “it’s as easy as installing apps on an iPhone.”

    The customers love our new site. We’ve always taken great photos of our products and we’re finally able to show those off...Our mobile conversion rate jumped dramatically after switching to Shopify.

    Mika Casey, founder of MMA Warehouse

    5. Doubling Company Size; Handling Super-Bowl Traffic

    Years in business: Since 2010

    Necessity is the mother of invention: Founder Mike Brown’s struggling upstate New York coffee shop had left him broke, and he had to move back in with his mom.

    A common customer request: “Give me your strongest coffee!” One day he realized a business opportunity was staring him in the face. Brown quickly called a coffee bean importer and began testing different brewing and roasting techniques to create a blend that would satisfy his tired customers.

    The ecommerce reboot: Once his Death Wish Coffee blend was mastered, he decided to try selling it online to help pay down debt. After building the first website on his own, using a drag and drop platform that could sync with PayPal, Brown set his annual sales target at $5,000. He quickly realized he was aiming too low

    Success came too fast, too soon: The increased popularity of his new coffee blend, coupled with a lucky call from Good Morning America – asking to feature his product on the show – increased orders so quickly (10,000 just from the TV segment) that the company couldn’t keep up with fulfillment. It was clear Death Wish Coffee had outgrown its existing ecommerce solution.

    Death Wish Coffee why replatforming to Shopify Plus improved their business

    Switching to Shopify Plus saved the day: The company replatformed with Shopify Plus to support its rapid ecommerce growth and regain customer trust. Two years after making the switch, Brown said the results were “absolutely awesome”:

    • In one year, revenue spiked to $3 million
    • After that, Death Wish doubled in size YoY

    In 2016, Death Wish Coffee won a Quickbooks Small Business Big Game contest to create a $7 million TV ad spot for the Super Bowl. Check out the full story here

    It’s just so easy it’s almost too good to be true but it’s real. I can add a product instantly and you don’t have to be an expert coder since Shopify has its own experts to help with the backend if needed.

    Mike Brown, founder of Death Wish Coffee

    6. Freeing Up Funds to Reinvest in Business Growth

    Years in Business: 10+ years

    Ecommerce was holding them back: In 2015, Katie Smith, founder of rockflowerpaper felt stuck as the ecommerce platform she was using, Symphony Commerce, wasn’t able to scale with her business.

    Replatforming for the long haul: After deciding to replatform with Shopify Plus in 2017, she quickly realized she’d found the right ecommerce partner to grow with rockflowerpaper long-term.

    Stellar results early on: Compared to Symphony Commerce, Shopify Plus has helped rockflowerpaper to achieve on average …

    • More than $200,000 in savings per year
    • Conversion rates increased 31%
    • Average order values expanded by up to $10
    • Abandon cart rates decreased up to 10%
    • Page load time sped up 28%
    • Bounce rates dropped 9%

    It [Shopify Plus] allows us to invest in our business. It allows us to grow our ecommerce business to another level.

    Katie Smith, founder of rockflowerpaper

    7. Ending Multiple Platform Nightmares; 2X’ing Conversions

    Years in business: Since 2008

    The freshman entrepreneur: During his first year at Indiana University, Russell Saks discovered that his frat brothers were spending $250 to $300 on vitamins and supplements to help them get ripped at the gym to impress girls. He saw an opportunity to create a more affordable ecommerce solution, offering rush delivery directly to college students just like him. Campus Protein was born.

    An early win: By receiving a $100,000 entrepreneurship contest award, Saks and his team of college buddies were able to grow the business quickly.

    Endless platform problems: From 2012 to 2015, the company struggled and changed ecommerce platforms three times because service providers either couldn’t support its rapid growth or didn’t follow through on promises.

    • Platform 1: Couldn’t scale to meet the company’s growing, 1,000-person strong salesforce and nationwide, and rush delivery needs
    • Platform 2: Held the website hostage when it went down for 48 hours – asking for $20,000 to add a new feature that Russell thought was part of the original deal
    • Platform 3: Promised development of a new website that would optimize conversions – resulting in a poor UX that generated customer complaints and not enough positive results

    Beefing up the business: With warehouses set-up nationwide to support same-day deliveries at scale, Campus Protein made the decision to replatform to Shopify Plus in September 2015 and never looked back.

    Soon after replatforming with Shopify, the company achieved:

    • 2X increase in conversions
    • Significant year-over-year sales growth
    • Partnership with UberRUSH to deliver same-day sales locally

    Switching to Shopify Plus was the best decision we ever made. It’s the best ecommerce platform I’ve ever seen.

    Russell Saks, CEO of Campus Protein

    8. Saving $100K in Fees & Growing YoY Revenue 36%

    Years in business: Ecommerce site launched in 2003

    An acting career and an ecommerce business: In the midst of launching an acting career in NYC, Alex Cramner, son of the founder of IMA, created the company’s first ecommerce site, hosted on Magento. The site grew as much as 300% YoY during the first six years.

    The hack and upgrade: The IMA site was then hacked with a piece of javascript in the footer that was scraping credit cards. Facing potential PCI compliance fines and having to spend $50,000 to secure the site, IMA’s team was losing sleep. On top of that, their hosting platform notified them that their current version would soon be sunset and they’d have to pay $100,000 to upgrade to the newer version. It was time to find a new hosting platform.

    More sales and higher margins: In 2017, IMA replatformed and now its operating fees have been slashed in half. The company did $6 million in sales in 2017 via Shopify’s SaaS hosted platform.

    Breaking holiday records: IMA’s first holiday sales season saw huge YoY gains…
    • 19.16% increase in YoY conversion rates
    • 24.20% increase in YoY average order value
    • 35.85% increase in YoY revenue

    Switching to Shopify Plus is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my business career. The record fourth quarter is very validating after having been on Magento for almost seven years.

    Alex Cramner, VP at IMA

    9. Driving 347% YoY Sales Growth through Site Stability

    Years in business: Since 2012

    A bra business born on a mountaintop: David Specter and Heidi Zak, husband and wife co-founders of ThirdLove, brainstormed the idea for their new bra business while climbing Mount Everest in 2011. The goal was to offer bras in half sizes to ensure a superior fit over anything else available on the market at the time.

    An untrustworthy infrastructure: After their ecommerce site crashed numerous times via an unreliable platform, Specter and Zak knew they had to find a partner that could keep their site up and running.

    Renewed confidence and the freedom to grow: After making the switch in 2015, ThirdLove’s team could now focus their energy and resources on issues that mattered to the future growth of the company, rather than solving site crashes.

    A nimble, aggressive & radical approach: ThirdLove invested its new-found time and money into innovation. In 2015, the company launched a Try Before You Buy promotion that enables women to try their bras for free for 30 days. Their big bets paid off:

    • 750,000 women have since participated in the program
    • Retention rates are an impressive 70%
    • Just two years after partnering with Shopify Plus, revenue was up 347% year-over-year; returning customer rates increased 62% year-over-year

    The big thing is thank God we made that change when we did. Because it really did allow us to focus on the things that matter and that differentiate us in the market.

    Heidi Zak, co-founder of ThirdLove

    10. Scaling to $50M in Annual Sales & Making a Shark Smile

    Years in business: Since 2013

    The most comfortable socks in the history of feet: Randy Goldberg and David Heath, co-founders of performance sock company Bombas, launched their business with the goal to donate one pair of socks for every pair they sold to the homeless. The socially conscious brand message helped the company grow rapidly -- so much so that they had to spend thousands on retrofits and server maintenance fees to keep the site up whenever the founders made a major media appearance.

    A Shark Tank nightmare: Immediately after their appearance on a re-run of Shark Tank in 2014, the Bombas site suffered a major crash that cost the company $15,000 in lost sales and countless potential new customers. The founders knew it was time to find a new ecommerce platform partner.

    Peace of mind with the right partner: After making the switch from Magento to Shopify Plus, Bombas has saved six figures in operational costs every year. The company has also been in hyper-growth mode ever since:

    • In 2017, Bombas generated $50 million in annual revenue
    • 60% of that revenue is generated on Black Friday alone
    • The Bombas site stayed up during all of Black Friday Cyber Monday

    From an infrastructure standpoint, Shopify Plus has our back. They really knock it out of the park, and we feel incredibly confident that, as we continue to scale, our website’s going to be up and running.

    Adam Weinstock, Bombas’ chief technology officer

    Want to learn more?

    Our most-detailed guide to date walks through ecommerce migration and replatforming from start to finish. Instead of a surface-level sales pitch, it includes everything you need to know about large-to-enterprise migration.

    Ecommerce migration guide: cover and sample pages

    Access the guide today

    About the Author

    Andrea Wahbe is a freelance B2B marketing strategist and corporate storyteller who writes about Canadian SMEs, marketing, and digital media trends. Follow her on Twitter.