22 March 2018

In 3,5 weeks from Magento to Shopify: the Veloretti case

“Impossible.” That was the reaction of his Magento developer, when Ferry Zonder told him he wanted to migrate veloretti.com to Shopify within three-and-a-half weeks. Since last month the new site is online, with conversion already 0,3% higher.

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Zonder, founder and owner of the online bike brand Veloretti, mentioned that same tight deadline when he contacted CODE for the job. At that point he had just terminated a Magento development process that had been dragging on for 1,5 years. A tough decision: the new Magento site was 98% finished, but it didn’t feel like a match.

Quitting Magento

“Magento is very nice if you are Zalando,” Zonder explains his choice. “But for Veloretti it is just too heavy, too cumbersome, too complicated, not user-friendly enough.” Plus, the timing was far from optimal. Magento 2.0 had just been released when Zonder wanted to move the Veloretti shop from WordPress/WooCommerce to the Magento platform. Hence, his Magento developer advised him to build the shop in Magento 1.9, because at that moment Magento 2.0 was not yet stable enough.

1,5 years later – the new site still under construction – Magento informed its users that the platform would stop support and updates for 1.9. This meant that Veloretti would soon be forced to start a lengthy Magento 2 migration process. That was the point where Zonder was done with it. “We decided to write off the investment so far and start investing in a long-term solution.”

And this time he wanted it fast. The new Veloretti platform had to go live within 25 days, and not a second more.

Bicycle shop 2.0

The ‘impossible’ deadline is typical for Zonder’s style of entrepreneurship: off the beaten track, thinking in possibilities instead of problems. It is at the base of Veloretti, the online bicycle brand he launched five years ago. By now Veloretti designs, manufactures and sells timeless city bikes in 27 countries.

Zonder wanted to produce high quality design bikes, with a friendly price tag. The only way to do this was by rigorously shortening the distribution chain, and to sell outside existing bike retail. “We deliver our bikes directly to the customer by courier, without interference from the traditional bike sellers. This keeps the price of our bikes low, without compromising on quality. And it makes our market much bigger than just the Netherlands.”

Veloretti’s distribution model depends heavily on a properly functioning eCommerce platform. When after 1,5 years of development the projected Magento website failed to live up to Veloretti’s requirements, Zonder had to come up with a better alternative.

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A ‘custom standard’ solution: Shopify & CODE

He did his research and ended up with Shopify. It suited Veloretti’s requirements, having more possibilities and better references than for instance Lightspeed. Only the transaction fees charged by Shopify were a disadvantage. With Veloretti’s high order values a commission on transactions is quite a bit of money. Nonetheless Zonder is positive: “In return you get to use a very well-designed platform!”

The next step was finding a developer who could meet his ambitious deadline. This is where CODE entered the picture: we were the only ones prepared to commit to it.

In addition to the supertight deadline, optimizing the Bike Configurator tool was an interesting puzzle. With this tool customers on the Veloretti site can see what their bike will look like, complete with the accessories they select. In the Magento version the Bike Configurator was programmed to generate a picture of all possible combinations of bikes and accessories. Result: about 29.000 images, all eating up space.

We thought this could be done in a more compact way. After some playing around with Javascript, CSS and Liquid (the programming language of Shopify) we set up the Configurator to build an image using separate layers. That way you get the same result with only a few hundred pictures. Zonder loved it: “Shopify is seen as a program without much room for tinkering, but the people at CODE know how to stretch its boundaries. They build ‘custom standard’ solutions, as it turns out there’s a lot more possible if you’re good with code.”

In general he is quite pleased with CODE. “Stable, pragmatic, fast, live up to their promises... It was a pleasure to work with them!” And the result is promising: the new site was launched a month ago, and conversion rates are already up. We at CODE are particularly proud of the smooth mobile site, by the way. Be sure to check it out, if you have your smartphone at hand: www.veloretti.com! And put together some nice bicycles in the Bike Configurator while you’re at it ;)

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Have you got an ambitious deadline as well? At CODE we don’t shy away from a juicy challenge! Call or email us, and we’ll clear some space for you in our agenda.

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About the author

CODE easily writes 100 lines of code every day, but a blog is a different story! So we leave that to Linda Bleijenberg, our copywriter. She lives around the corner and wants to be an IT wizard when she grows up. Until then, she writes blogs about what we at CODE are up to.