Fashion, Apparel & Accessories
Mobile Friendly How Shinola Runs Like Clockwork on Magento
Shinola needed an eCommerce platform as robust and original as its products.
Established in 1877 as a shoe polish company in New York, the Shinola brand was later immortalized by the popular World War II phrase: “You don’t know shit from Shinola.” Then, in 2011, the company was re-imagined as a maker of modern watches, bicycles, journals, jewelry, leather goods, and turntables of the highest quality. The company also had a sincere interest in—and devotion to—creating American jobs in industries where manufacturing had left its shores. Since its inception, Shinola has manufactured 624,775 watches, sewn 275,000 leather watch straps, and created over 600 jobs including 201 meaningful manufacturing jobs.
By opening a factory in Detroit, the brand became synonymous with the rebirth of the ‘Rust Belt’. The story of Shinola and its products, wrote Forbes, “may be a blueprint for how to save elements of American industry.” Shinola needed a mobile friendly eCommerce platform to match their brave ambitions. Magento was there from day one, powering the brand’s first online sales.
“We made 2,500 units of our original watches,” recalls Ryan Shaltry, a Senior Technical Architect and Developer at Shinola. “We sold those watches in eight days. Launching our site on Magento was crucial to making those sales.” Just like Shinola’s timepieces, which are assembled by hand at their Detroit factory, Shinola wanted the power to totally customize their web store, and most importantly, grow their business.
We chose Magento for its flexibility, and power, and its adoption by the commerce community, and it was a relatively low-cost point-of-entry for us.Ryan Shaltry
Senior Technical Architect and Developer, Shinola
A mobile friendly experience.
With an on-site team including four Magento-certified developers, the Shinola site was built from the ground up. “In total we have a couple hundred Magento extensions running,” says Shaltry. One of these customizations allows a customer to create a personal product inventory alert: “When a new product comes in, we often sell out by the end of the week. We found that our customers are willing to wait, sign up for a stock alert, and get an email when it’s back in stock.” The extension, facilitated by the Bronto automated marketing system, doesn’t require customers to sign in, yet ensures Shinola never misses a sale. And when the brand expands its product ranges—which it has, dozens of times, to include products such as wall clocks and power supply cords—updating the site is fast and easy.
When Shinola realized that half of its visitors come from mobile phones or tablets, they wanted to boost conversion rates on those channels. “Desktop conversions were never an issue, but it’s a whole different ball game when you’re dealing with a mobile customer,” says Shaltry. The aim was to build a mobile friendly website with a robust front end experience that when used on a mobile device, feels like an app. Shinola needed to deliver faster page load times without page reloads, so they developed a cart with a slide out view that doesn’t interrupt the shopping experience.
When Shinola was ready to expand into foreign markets, Magento was there to support their global expansion efforts with multiple stores in different countries. “Right now if you go to our site you can experience it in French or German,” says Shaltry. Shinola uses Tigers, a fulfilment company based in Amsterdam, to ship larger quantities of goods to various EU locations. Having a European hub helps Shinola bypass lengthy customs processes, and speeds up delivery times for their international customers. With a dynamic, omnichannel eCommerce platform and products ready to ship all over the world, Shinola was ready for its business to explode. And few could have predicted just how big Shinola could grow.
Staggering growth, exponential uplift.
Since launching in 2011, Shinola has seen significant growth. Today there are 19 Shinola stores with locations in the US, Canada, and the UK. Barack Obama, then President, became a fan of Shinola after his visit to the Detroit factory, and later gifted a custom-made watch to British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Shinola continues to expand its product range and innovate its digital customer experience. Magento enables Shinola to be ready to sell anything, anywhere, no matter what direction the company heads in next. “We’ll continue to diversify in categories that feel unexpected,” Shinola CMO Bridget Russo recently told a reporter. “Hopefully, in time, people will look at Shinola and think of Apple—a great American brand.”