In 1958, Chuck Levin opened what would later become one of the largest independently owned music stores in the United States. Throughout its long history, Chuck’s impressive single location just outside Washington, D.C. has been enjoying obsessive customer loyalty at a level many retailers fantasize about.
While the legendary bricks and mortar store had achieved healthy sales volumes and strong P&L performance for many years, its online channel was greatly suffering. It’s typical for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to avoid large scale technology projects simply due to fear of the unknown, and our role as a vested technology partner is to mitigate these fears and transform the technophobia into opportunity.
Our job involves developing lasting and valuable capital assets by helping organizations invest in systems and automation. This requires handholding. It involves operating closely with stakeholders side-by-side from a position of trust; making sure we always have their best interest at heart. The mandate is to become ambassadors of their investment, and to devise and oversee a solid initial 3 Year ROI plan.
Online commerce in the modern landscape also involves healthy capital expenditure, a lot of time and energy, patience, and above all: passion. Often these projects induce an uncomfortable level of risk for our clients, however, if carefully planned & executed with the right partners, these endeavors always prove to be incredibly mutually rewarding.
In early 2014 we were engaged by Chuck Levin’s to produce a rich & robust commerce platform that could power their online retail channel. To do this we needed to foster some solid new partnerships. We spent a great deal of time vetting a number of competing industry solution providers and the result was a great partnership between two platform offerings we’ve concluded are simply the best-in-class.
Online Shopping Platform – Bigcommerce
Having become utterly disenfranchised with the over-engineered bloatware that is the Magento Enterprise platform, we elected the more elegant Bigcommerce as our new lightweight yet fully sophisticated SaaS shopping cart partner. This was done in favor of: Shopify, Volusion and LemonStand. Each of these other offerings had similar price points, feature sets and overall value propositions. Our decision was based upon many factors, but to summarize the most relevant, they were as such:
- Modern, powerful, feature rich API – This was vital to the success of deployment and integration with our middleware ERP and PIM systems (PIM = Product Information Management). Our PIM needed to rely heavily on the Bigcommerce API and communicated together perpetually in a high volume capacity (i.e. 150,000+ SKUs) to master products automatically with speed and accuracy. During the prototyping phase our engineers really gave their API a beating; slamming it with load tests, integrity tests & experiments in fault tolerance. We concluded that Bigcommerce simply had the best API available for our needs.
- Strong Onboarding Program – From the onset our project was taken seriously and met with excitement by every Bigcommerce team member we spoke with. The initial overall support we received is something we’ll talk your ear off about to the point of boredom. Yes, it’s that good. Mirrored in excellence to that of another of our valued partners: Nextopia. More about their offering is found below.
- Legendary Customer Support – In contrast to the often poor and expensive $$ support we typically receive from Magento, each time our developers spoke to a Bigcommerce support representative it was an extremely positive experience. Our service plan was merely at the non-enterprise tier, and one might expect their support tickets to be handled in lower priority as a consequence of that. Instead, resolution to each issue was handled ridiculously fast by quality individuals who were astute and had a positive and pleasant attitude.
Enterprise Search with Nextopia
Quick and professional integration, incredibly powerful yet easy to use admin console, awesome customer support, & great overall product search performance. These are just some of the reasons we elected Nextopia as our valued search partner and why they continue to form an integral component of our overall commerce suite.
Nextopia is an excellent enhancement to the limited built in search functionality found in Bigcommerce. It adds sophisticated & powerful product search capability, making use of all the latest attributing/faceting trends. The platform allows customers to browse, categorize, filter and ultimately find the products they’re looking for quickly; leading to a notable increase in sales conversions.
From the onset with the Nextopia onboarding team, the integration between our respective development resources was seamless, and their account team did an excellent service of building confidence with our mutual client. The training and Q/A sessions we received at critical points throughout the process were both thorough and relevant.
Integrating Nextopia code hooks into our Bigcommerce templates was utterly painless, and their additional involvement in the project to create responsive templates from initial page concepts was performed on time and was exceptional in quality.
We had an opportunity to meet some of the Nextopia leadership at IRCE in Chicago last summer and while we were already incredibly impressed with the platform itself, then even more so could we appreciate the attitude, culture, and vision of this highly successful Canadian company.
Success Built Upon Solid Partnerships
Having quality industry partners that share a passion for obsessive support and overall customer satisfaction, who employ a results based and pragmatic perspective, whose leadership are driven, personable and accountable, are all extremely important to the overall success of each of our campaigns.
Since launching in October of 2014 the performance and interoperability between the Bigcommerce and the Nextopia platforms has been absolutely flawless, running at full speed during the peak holiday season. Partnering with Bigcommerce and Nextopia has thus been a winning combination for us and we greatly look forward to our next project together.
About Jasper Studios
We’re an enterprise omnichannel retail solution provider. We partner with world-class clientele to produce modern full-stack online commerce experiences. Our scope of engagement typically includes; discovery & planning, brand & identity design, online store development and integration of our suite of enterprise toolsets which further includes; shopping cart frameworks, inventory management systems, procurement tools, CRM/Call Center management workstations, HD 360° product photography solutions, fulfillment and logistics integration, ERP/DRP/CRM accounting platforms, sophisticated search integration, and online ad & remarketing campaigns.
We’re passionate about fostering solid partnerships with astute clients who are ready to make the necessary investment in their online business. We’re equally committed to the overall success of each partner we align ourselves with, and each solution we help to procure.