by Fatema Mulla
Love Shopping Direct is a growing business specialising in DIY and electrical supplies. Based in Birmingham, the family run business has been expanding both their online and offline presence over the past 10+ years.
Now with four stores selling everything from high quality bulbs to professional dehumidifiers, the business has seen impressive growth over recent years.
But with eCommerce stores spread across Magento and bespoke implementations, Love Shopping Direct came to Statement to help replatform all of their transactional sites to Shopify Plus.
This would unify all on-site experiences and also make it easier for the team to monitor and maintain operations across their different sites.
Read more about how we worked with them to migrate from multiple platforms to Shopify Plus...
Tell us a little about your stores and your business.
Love Shopping Direct runs four eCommerce stores spanning lighting and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) and also have an expanding marketplaces presence.
All of our LSD sites are highly specialised, each serving their own particular market niche; www.energybulbs.co.uk was an early pioneer into Energy Saving Light Bulb (CFL – Compact Fluorescent) technology in 2007 and delivered amazing growth in its early years, and now serves as the businesses’ flagship site, despite the supplanting of CFL technology with LED as the most advanced lighting technology commercially available.
www.airconcentre.co.uk covers the HVAC market, and has to be prepared to handle a huge amount of orders in a short space of time over warm summers and cold, damp winters.
www.ledbulbs.co.uk was another site where we were quick to capitalise on new technology and establish a strong brand name as the market for both LED Bulbs, and later integrated LED fittings.
www.meacodehumidifiers.co.uk is a long standing licenced online distributor of Meaco products, one of the most highly esteemed dehumidifiers brands in the market, winning multiple awards from bodies such as Which? Magazine and more.
What were the challenges you were facing in the business that led to the decision to replatform?
There were a number of factors that led to the replatform decision. Previous replatforming attempts had not worked out well so the leadership were wary of how large and treacherous the problem was.
Product data was another factor, with data being in different formats on different sites and in need of centralising.
Timescales were also difficult to account for, keeping in mind the small size of the eCommerce team and the fact that a particularly cold winter or hot summer can easily drag resources from around the business to focus on the key goals of making sure products got out the door in time to meet our tight next day delivery schedules and ensuring our customers remained happy.
We also had to contend with the hottest UK summer on record and Airconcentre’s largest number of dispatched units in its 10 year history.
Why Shopify Plus?
We considered a number of options, including bespoke builds and Magento 2. The business as a whole decided that the idea of being tied to one development agency long-term wasn’t in LSD’s best interests and a platform that would allow us to switch between development agencies over time without having to go back to the drawing board with the platform entirely was the best approach.
We looked at Magento 2 options, and though the platform could handle the level of complexity that we were looking to throw at it, the ballpark figures we were talking about were way higher than the business could sustain.
The number of moving parts (server hosting, patching development etc) and ongoing support required for Magento made us very wary, especially given our previous Magento 1 experience.
Shopify wasn’t on our original radar, but once it had been suggested by one of the board members, the team split to do some individual research and we found multiple; clean, slick, well designed sites that ran on the Shopify Plus platform.
We then engaged with Shopify Plus’ sales team, the quotes were reasonable, the functionality was in some ways restricted, but for everything we considered a core feature that we had to replicate, there was a workaround either involving; liquid coding, Shopify Scripts or Shopify’s app ecosystem.
We interviewed several potential development partners, and Statement really stood out as it felt like they’d really pushed the Shopify platform to its outer limits.
A lot of the Shopify sites that you see are very slick looking fashion based sites with large high resolution images and bold colours, that’s not what we required.
Our product range is much more on a ‘need’ basis than a ‘want’, customers need to be able to find us, understand their problem, quickly work out which product solves that problem, compare it to other similar products and make a decision.
Statement had the strongest experience of building highly technical sites and were the best fit for our replatforming partner. They also had a great background in the lighting industry, which sold us that they could bring life to a dry, functional product range.
Since migrating to Shopify Plus, what benefits have you seen?
We’ve seen solid improvements in conversion rate since launch, which after a deep dive into the data, we attribute to how much easier it is to find products on our new site and how much better we do at catering to all levels of the purchase funnel.
We’ve been able to pull together a best-in-class technology stack which largely wouldn’t have been possible without the ease with which Shopify connects to all of the partners we wanted to work with. Our product publishing speed has increased hugely, and through working tightly with Statement, we’ve managed to build a strong promotional engine, whereby the discounts a customer is eligible for are displayed and messages re-enforced at all key points of the checkout journey.
This means that when we enter heavy promotion periods such as Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, we can light the site up with our highlighted discounts and featured products without the hours of development work that it would’ve previously taken. This paid dividends during the Black Friday period last year.
What advice would you give to an eCommerce business looking to migrate, and thinking about Shopify Plus?
I would say to any other business considering Shopify Plus to ensure that you fully utilise the knowledge of the Shopify team; with half of our previous platforms sitting on Magento, we were used to not having a direct line to have our questions answered and instead relying on part developer instinct, part internet-forum every time we had a problem that needed solving or an improvement we wanted to make to the site.
However with Shopify Plus, we built a gigantic list of features and graded them with a traffic light system; red for absolute must haves, amber for nice to haves and greens for luxuries. Shopify told us in plain English what the platform could and couldn’t handle and it provided us a great base to kick on finding someone who could fill in the gaps where the platform could plausibly handle our request, but with added development work.
What’s next for Love Shopping Direct?
We’ve got one more site to move onto Shopify Plus, we’re confident that we’ll have that completed by Q1 2019, then we can really kick on with expanding our product range, our content plans and start scouting exciting new areas of eCommerce for us such as personalisation, attribution and voice.
Love Shopping Direct have successfully migrated all of their individual stores from differing platforms to the enterprise level Shopify Plus solution - with the exception of one last site which is due to be launched before Q2 of 2019.
The business has seen a great number of benefits due to the migration, and are confident they will be able to move their efforts going forward onto plans centred around further growth and expansion.
If you want to find out more about how we worked with Love Shopping Direct to move their eCommerce stores from multiple platforms over to Shopify Plus, just get in touch with our friendly team and we’ll be happy to help.