Food & Beverage
Sell Food Online: The Sweet Success of Sugarfina's Rapid Online Growth
The candy startup had outgrown their webstore to sell food online.
Inspired by a third-date screening of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Rosie O’Neill and her fiancé Josh Resnick co-founded Sugarfina in August 2012. An entrepreneur with a serious sweet-tooth, O’Neill imagined her luxury confectionary brand as a “candy boutique for grown-ups,” and by 2016, the company was making nearly $25 million in revenue. By 2017, Los Angeles-based Sugarfina boasted 24 stores across the US and Canada, all stocking their best-selling Champagne Bears®, But First, Rosé Roses, and Tequila Grapefruit Sours.
“Sugarfina has been growing really fast, more than triple every year,” O’Neill told Forbes, “But growth is both a blessing and a curse. Growth is hard. Things break and go wrong all the time.” Sugarfina’s staggering growth also saw them quickly outgrow their website, originally built on Magento Open Source, and unable to effectively sell food online. The free commerce platform is perfect for small businesses, but by 2017 Sugarfina was ready to take their eCommerce business to the next level, raising $35 million in financing. Eager to offer a superior online shopping experience, Sugarfina sought to improve their page load times, offer innovative new features, and undergo global expansion.
After a successful experience with Magento Open Source, we knew that Magento Commerce Cloud 2 was the right platform to support our growth.Rosie O'Neill
An eCommerce store fit for a confectionary giant.
Sugarfina wanted their new site to match the luxury experience that their customers receive in Sugarfina store. They needed to create a number of custom features, and knew from the start that upgrading to Magento Commerce 2 was the right move to accomplish their goals. To make sure the project was seamless, they worked with Corra, a Global Elite Magento partner that has worked with the Magento ecommerce platform for nearly a decade, specializing in creating the high-quality lifestyle experiences that Sugarfina was seeking.
Together they would create an innovative new website... but there was also a timeline: “The site had to be live for Thanksgiving and the busy holiday period,” recalled Dannica Hutton, Corra’s Solution Strategist. “But we really wanted to launch before the Halloween candy season.”
Corra started by adding functionality to the site’s checkout. Sugarfina customers love to send candies as gifts to friends and colleagues, so they added multiple gift-wrapping options: now customers can choose from multiple greeting cards, handwritten notes, or even a ‘wrap it yourself’ option. Next, they improved product search with a visual site search tool from Celebros. Now, when ‘chocolate’ is typed into the search bar, all the site’s chocolate candies zoom onto the screen. Sugarfina, whose mission statement is “spread sweetness,” added other attractive touches, including an easy-to-use store locator that matched their new design.
The most interactive new function by far was the ‘Design Your Own Candy Bento Box®’ personalization experience. In Sugarfina boutiques, shoppers can create their own gift box filled with their favorite candies, an engaging and highly-customizable experience. With Magento Commerce, Sugarfina was able to replicate the in-store experience online, by allowing their customers to fill a virtual Sugarfina box with whatever candy their heart desires. On the back-end, customized bento box orders appear as bundled products, and warehouse workers pick and pack the products before shipping.
Meanwhile, the problem of Sugarfina’s static home page was fixed by implementing 10 customizable widgets. Now the team can dramatically change the overall appearance of the site with ease, adding new promotions for big candy-selling periods like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Sell food online with astonishing results.
The new Sugarfina site was finished earlier than expected and launched in time for October’s Halloween celebrations – Sugarfina shoppers purchased their Zombie Brains and Sugar Skulls with ease. “With Magento Commerce Cloud, page load times were greatly improved,” said Hutton, Corra’s Solution Strategist. “As soon as the site launched, Sugarfina started to see a lot of positive feedback from their fans on social.”
Customers were able to enjoy more content than ever, with Something Sweet, a brand new WordPress-powered blog that Corra skinned with a look-a-like header and footer from the webstore. During the busy Black Friday period, the team was thrilled to see their hard work and investment pay off: Black Friday sales were 15 percent higher than the previous year’s. For co-founder Rosie O’Neill, the new site marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Sugarfina.
The brand launched their US and Canadian stores on one Magento Commerce license and have just finished building a UK store. Before she had a creative team, O’Neill once did all this creative work herself, from photography to web design. But now her candy business is in safe hands, and ready to grow as big as Willy Wonka’s.