Third & GroveThird & Grove
Apr 29, 2020 - Justin Emond

Using Shopify to Rebound from Dramatic Revenue Loss

How a Leading Stationery Brand Used Shopify to Deal with a Coronavirus-Induced Existential Crisis

Coronavirus is turning into the event of our era, and certainly the most disruptive economic event since the Great Depression. The disruption to conducting business, our daily lives, consumer behavior, and logistics is just starting to be felt. In the context of eCommerce, for brands reliant on retail sales the pain is especially acute.

We rushed the publication of this case study -- the project is still underway -- to demonstrate not the outcome of the effort but what digital agility really looks like.  This is a make or break moment for brands. Merchant teams that adapt quickly to this new reality and have technology that can keep up will roar out of recession. The rest will be left behind.

Read on to see how dramatic difference platform selection makes.

The company: A mid-market provider of terrific stationery and related products for events and celebrations. Revenue sources include retail wholesale channels, online Amazon sales, and direct to consumer sales on branded domains.

The market position: Several established direct-to-consumer brands, and one emerging brand.

The opportunity: Increase engagement and development velocity on the D2C eCommerce platform.

The problem: Coronavirus caused a dramatic reduction in revenue as retail channel revenue largely disappeared. With major staff furloughs and revenue shortfalls, the brand has limited capital and human resources to invest in a major eCommerce re-platform. 

The objective: Build new sources of revenue to mitigate anticipated and sustained retail revenue traffic declines throughout 2020.

The current technology: Magento, on-premises eCommerce solution.

The solution:

In February we started work with the brand on a re-platform of their aging installation of Magento to Shopify Plus. Their eCommerce experience has custom functionality (production personalization, common in the stationary space) and required custom integrations to their backend ERP system for inventory and fulfillment. The timeline was four months. This is a pretty typical digital commerce project for a mid-market brand today.

By the second month of the project (March), the world had changed. With reduced staff and dramatically lower revenue, the project could not continue as originally planned. But because the brand had invested in Shopify Plus an alternative to canceling the project was viable.

We threw away the project plan and created an alternative approach for launching a new eCommerce site altogether, for selling a core subset of their SKUs, in a one month project instead of four.

The end result will be a compelling eCommerce experience for a fraction of the original budget, and a new stream of revenue. All achieved in weeks, not months. This dramatic pivot was only possible because Shopify Plus, as a cloud platform, has a unique mix of customizability and a robust app ecosystem that lets brands get to market fast.

Hustle, indeed, is a strategy. And a strategy that is all the more crucial in a time when we are living day by day, hour by hour.