Buy or Build: Juggling Business & Technology Priorities
March 24, 2014
Jules Pieri and Joanne Domeniconi founded The Daily Grommet in 2008 to help people discover innovative and inventive products that also had great stories. True to its name, The Daily Grommet would share one product (nicknamed a “Grommet”) each day with a video that focused on its story as much as its features. In Pieri’s words, “When you understand why a product came to be, or why people love it, it makes it all the more meaningful to own, or to use.”
When they first launched, The Grommet (they dropped the “Daily” as their business grew) couldn’t find a web platform that could support their unique selling approach, and, in particular, all of the videos they were creating, so they built something in-house. Unfortunately, their in-house site proved difficult to maintain and required a developer’s hand in every update, even for something as simple as an image change. It was inflexible and impractical, and it was standing in the way of their growth.
Rather than trying to rebuild their site, The Grommet chose to look for a credible existing platform. “We already have to compete on too many levels. I’d rather benefit from a platform that is handling [the technology], rather than doing everything ourselves,” said Pieri. The Grommet narrowed the field to Magento Enterprise Edition because, “[It] had all the good commerce functionality but was flexible enough to integrate the media assets that were essential to our business.” They also liked that is was supported by a large community that was creating cost-effective extensions (such as Listrak, Zendesk, Litle, and MediaForge's retargeting plugin), something no other platform offered.
As their business grew, The Grommet wanted to update their Enterprise Edition site to address their growing mobile traffic, so they decided implement a responsive theme. “We have a pretty small development team, and our mobile traffic was growing quite a bit, so we needed to address that,” says June Hsiao, Senior Director of Product Management. “It really didn't make sense for such a small team to support a separate mobile site or to build an app for all the different devices.”
For their redesign, The Grommet turned to Magento Gold Solution Partner Gorilla Group. “We were looking for an agency that specialized in [Magento Enterprise Edition], someone who knew how to work with Magento templates and knew the product structure,” says Hsiao. “We looked at a variety of firms. Local was preferable, but [Gorilla Group]’s experience with responsive design was a plus to us.”
Since their redesign, The Grommet has seen a 40% increase in conversions and a whopping 450% increase in year-over-year sales. The new responsive design is also driving a steady rise in their mobile business, and The Grommet is looking forward to future integrations with third-parties like Salesforce to help them grow further. For Hsiao, the best feature of their new site is that they can now focus on their business and not on making their site work. “I think the big advantage of going with Magento Enterprise Edition is that it allowed us to concentrate on what we do best, which is to tell stories, and to really highlight our Makers,” says Hsiao.