How Gymshark outgrew Magento and replatformed to scale internationally
At the age of 19, Ben Francis founded Gymshark, a leading fitness apparel and accessories brand, in a U.K garage in 2012. The company has cultivated a highly engaged social media following and recently migrated from Magento to Shopify Plus after a disastrous Black Friday to post the following results:
- £41 million in sales during 2017
- One of the fastest growing global fitness and apparel brands
- 3 million social media followers in 131 countries
Ben FrancisFounder, Gymshark
“It’s a good thing we went onto Magento because otherwise we’d probably take a lot of what Shopify Plus does for granted.”
The accelerated growth Gymshark was experiencing from its inception through 2015 required a platform that could handle significant spikes in traffic and grow in lockstep with the brand. But Ben and the Gymshark team quickly regretted their decision to choose Magento as their commerce platform, in part, because of the length of time it took to get up and running.
“It took six to eight months just to build the site,” Ben recalls. “By the time the site was finished we had doubled in size and had already outgrown the site.”
The situation quickly went from bad to worse as the Magento site that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build and maintain crashed on the grandest stage of all for a retailer; Black Friday. The site, according to Ben, was down for eight hours and cost Gymshark an estimated £100,000.
Ben FrancisFounder, Gymshark
“That was supposed to be a huge day for us but we let our customers down. It didn’t matter that it was Magento’s fault, it’s our brand and customers blamed us which really hurt.”
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Ten months after entering into a relationship with Magento, Gymshark replatformed with Shopify Plus knowing the platform can scale on demand and grow with Gymshark as the company sets its sights on additional international expansion. In fact, Gymshark fosters immersive online-offline customer experiences by using Shopify’s POS system to help organize world tours where Gymshark customers can meet their fitness idols and make purchases in person at expos and special events.
“It’s a customer experience second to none,” says Daniel Knight, Gymshark’s brand manager. “It bridges the gap between the digital and physical worlds and creates emotional customer experiences that can’t be had online alone.”
Gymshark is also using Shopify Scripts, which offers merchants the ability to write their own custom code on Shopify Plus’ servers, to customize the checkout and surprise customers with freebies that earn loyalty.
“Scripts allows us to customize the checkout and offer customers who make a particular purchase a complimentary gift,” Ben says. “It’s something that would’ve taken a lot of money and weeks to accomplish on Magento. But with Shopify, we can do what we want almost immediately and be confident it’s going to work.”
Since migrating to Shopify Plus, the Gymshark team are able to focus solely on growing the brand and experimenting with innovative new products like fitness apparel that can provide athletes additional energy or next generation wearables that may prevent injuries.
Trusting that Shopify Plus can scale no matter how rapidly Gymshark grows helped the company reach £41 million in sales during 2017, generate three million social media followers in 131 countries, and become one of the fastest growing global fitness and apparel brands globally.
“We have the same morals and values as we did when we were a small company,” Ben says. “Each of these customers is a human being and deserves to be treated the way I’d wanted to be treated.”
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