No Man Walks Alone

is rejecting fashion conformity

Magento 2

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If Humphrey Bogart were alive today, undoubtedly he would shop at No Man Walks Alone. Afterall, the retailer’s name is inspired by a line from Bogart in Sabrina. Founder Greg Lellouche says the name is a nod to men who value “original design, thoughtful details, quality of materials and craftsmanship.”

Command C has been working with No Man Walks Alone (NMWA) since 2014. Our work has resulted in strong growth for the retailer:

  • 17% revenue increase
  • 24% increase in number of transactions
  • 40% increase in mobile sales

With this foundation, we were ready to begin our biggest collaboration to date: the replatforming of NMWA from Magento 1 (M1) to Magento 2 (M2).

Background

Magento has undergone a major overhaul with version 2.x. Also, developers of third-party features, like extensions for inventory management, now direct their resources to 2.x. To keep current, retailers need to replatform to Magento 2.x (or another platform).

When Command C began the replatforming process for NMWA, we had three overarching goals:

  1. Provide NMWA with a fresh start on Magento 2. The data import from 1.x would be crucial in this.
  2. Give the NMWA team the ability to easily manage their site on the backend.
  3. Improve site performance and speed for an even stronger customer experience and to increase conversions.

Here’s how we did it.

Data Migration

Challenge: A lot of important data lived on the original NMWA site. We wanted to leverage as much data as possible to maximize ROI and the customer experience.

Solution: Command C’s data migration strategy and execution

NMWA’s Magento 1 (M1) site had a lot of crucial data to move into Magento 2 (M2). To address this, Command C developed a strategy and execution plan for flawless data import. There were products, customers, and order history to consider. Additionally, there were extensions in the old site that would be obsolete in the new one. Plus some extensions to be transferred were so dramatically different that they couldn’t share data.

We always practice migrations in a sandbox environment prior to making changes to production environments. After we set up NMWA’s sandbox, we took a first pass at mapping the old data into the new data structure. Running test imports allowed us to uncover and remove errors and be certain that our final import into the new platform was perfect.

Bonus data challenge: the NMWA site runs an embedded ERP extension. This required additional data structures on top of Magento’s core data structure. To solve for this, Command C wrote custom script for making sure that the ERP was aware of new products.

Website Administration

Challenge: Minimize administrative frustration

Solution: Eliminate duplication of tasks and streamline the backend

On Magento 1, the NMWA team was having to duplicate tasks. For instance, the way the CMS was structured required them to create content in multiple places. Command C wanted to decrease the number of times they would need to curate content when they added new brands or new products. So we helped NMWA select a theme with a blog module. Then we migrated their legacy Tumblr posts into this new module. Now the writers blog directly within Magento.

Additionally, the previous NMWA site had a page called Collective Action. Customers came to the page to vote on their favorite products and other things–and they loved it. People would look at new products, vote, and come back and re-engage with the site. In helping NMWA select a Magento 2 theme, we selected one with a portfolio module built into it. We saw that we could leverage the portfolio module to re-create this dynamic feature and keep engaging customers. Through these things, we helped transfer NMWA’s long-standing customer base to new site experience. We were also able to maximize ROI by leveraging a pre-existing theme.

Website performance

Challenge: Slow site performance for customers

Solution: Strategic analysis of extensions, advance audit of new theme, and optimize hosting environment

Slow site performance is a key sign that it’s time to replatform, and there can be many contributing factors. To determine which levers to pull, we often start with a strategic audit to identify the main causes. In the case of NMWA, we recommended a three-pronged approach:

  1. Update and streamline extensions;
  2. Audit the new theme up front to test speeds;
  3. Ensure the code was efficiently written to optimize the hosting environment.

For example, take sizing. Rather than write a custom module for sizing on their new site, NMWA now uses an integrated service for this. This reduces the number of things that have to happen on the site itself. And by off-loading these things, the site becomes streamlined and faster.

The theme audit provided us with an up front look under the hood and boosted confidence in the selection. Our updated hosting recommendations lent themselves to that of M2 and some extra resources ensure a rapid customer experience. To top it off, Magento 2 runs on a newer version of PHP and a new version of MySQRL. Everything will be faster and more secure just by the very nature of that. Yes!

Prior to our replatforming project, NMWA’s founder wrote:

The most significant result we’ve seen is a sudden increase in mobile conversions after Command C made the site more mobile-friendly. Now, that number is almost equal to that of traditional web conversions.

Now NMWA is equipped with a completely updated site. Their customers will know the benefits of replatforming through an improved, faster shopping experience. The work will pay off for the NMWA team, too, as the backend operations are optimized. As they move forward, we look forward to hearing what the NMWA team – and their sharply-dressed customers – have to say.

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No Man Walks Alone