Government, Non-Profit & Education

For Monash University, experience was everything

The Australian university upgraded to Magento Commerce, and after go-live enjoyed $17 million in online sales.
+ 240% SKUs (from 1,400 to over 3,300)
$17m Online Sales Since Go-Live
50,000 Online Orders

Wanted: Unified commerce

They say college is the most significant time of one’s life. And Australia’s largest university is known for delivering superior experiences for their students, academic staff, and stakeholders. Monash University was established in Melbourne, Australia, in 1958 and currently boasts 17,469 staff and 78,257 student enrollments. Their Clayton Campus is home to some of the largest and most sophisticated research facilities in the world, and it prides itself on being at the forefront of technology and innovation.

Unified Commerce - Monash University

However their webstores needed improvement. Monash University was working with a fragmented eCommerce landscape of disparate web pages, eCommerce platforms, and POS systems. Each sold separate products and services, and each came with a different login. Staff and students could not purchase textbooks, lab supplies, and online course materials at a single storefront, or in a single transaction. The result was an outdated customer experience that did not match Monash University’s high standards. Maintenance of this fragmented operation was also suboptimal and time consuming, leading to patchy product catalogues, and eventually, decreasing student usage. The university needed to simplify their operations under one central eCommerce platform. They needed Magento Commerce.

We now have a unified marketplace with a single storefront that enables different faculties and departments to manage products, pricing, and orders. is fully responsive, optimizing the browsing and shopping experience across all devices.

Melinda Cotton
Finance Manager, Monash University

Everything under one roof

Monash University chose Magento Commerce for its flexibility, extendability, scalability – and its sprawling extension marketplace. Magento also met Monash University’s requirements: to provide students and staff with a consistent and intuitive online shopping experience. It would enable them to purchase all their Monash University related requirements, merchandise, sports gear, books, seminars, and tickets, securely, all from one site, and with just one transaction. A Magento Commerce 2 marketplace platform would also be a global first for an educational institution.

The university’s solution partner, Balance Internet, started work on moving their operations to Magento Commerce 2. First, they led discovery workshops and interviews with 40 stakeholders across 15 business units to understand the digital transformation requirements. Then they built a fully-integrated platform that would provide a superior experience for all users, primarily students and staff, by connecting the platform with Salesforce CRM with real-time API integration for up-to-the-minute product information.

Unified Commerce - Monash University

Melinda Cotton, Finance Manager, at Monash University explained: “Balance Internet extended and customized the native Magento platform to enable a single sign-on with Monash Accounts ID, internal fund transfers and traditional payment methods like credit card and PayPal. They also ensured SAP-ERP-WCAG compliance and created a marketplace module to enable different faculties and their departments to manage products, pricing, and orders.”

With full backend autonomy, each business unit can now manage and sell their products and services, while providing students with an intuitive, superior ‘single shopping cart’ user experience. Students can search for a wide range of physical and virtual/downloadable products and services including merchandise, subscriptions, courses and course notes, training materials, books, and field trips. Then they simply checkout from a single shopping cart in one secure transaction. Access to all this is easy, via a single sign-on with a Monash Accounts ID. The university also offers students and staff a range of payment options through the Braintree Payment Gateway.

On the backend, Monash faculty or business units can use the Marketplace module to easily list and manage merchandise products and inventory, then control order and fulfilment of items purchased via the central platform. Another interesting feature is the ability for students to access book lists, then purchase their chosen publication in one transaction from the bookstore, alongside other merchandise and faculty products – all in one cart.

Phenomenal results

Today, Monash University has one, unified online marketplace with a single storefront that enables faculties and departments to manage products, pricing, and orders. It’s a seamless experience across all devices, and students and staff can securely transact at any time on any device no matter where they are – at home or abroad. The platform has empowered Monash University to expand their range of products and services while streamlining operational efficiencies. It has also made the university a finalist in the 2019 Magento Imagine Awards for ‘Best Digital Commerce Experience.’

Unified Commerce - Monash University

The marketplace concept has given Monash University a competitive advantage against other Australian universities. Not only does it create internal operation and cost efficiencies, but it also enables the business units to grow sales and improve student and staff engagement. The platform has also positioned Monash University as the leader in online customer engagement and innovation across the Australian education sector – keeping the university at the forefront of technology leadership. The platform’s ease of use has seen a 240 percent rise in the number of SKUs added to the university’s catalogue, and in the two years since their relaunch, they have experienced an astonishing $17 million increase in online sales.

Students and staff can securely transact with Monash University any time on any device no matter where they are – at home or abroad.

Melinda Cotton
Finance Manager, Monash University