Milligram runs sales promos in minutes, not hours, after migrating its online store

Previous platform

Magento

Industry

Home goods

Use case

Customization, Replatforming and upgrades

A few of Milligram's stationery products laid out on a table.

You do not visit Milligram to buy a regular ballpoint pen. You visit to discover stationery and lifestyle products by the world’s best brands. Led by a passion for design and stationery, friends Scott Druce and Matt Harris launched the business in 2007 under the name NoteMaker. Since then, the brand has grown to include four brick-and-mortar stores and over 100 employees.

Milligram - photo 1

In 2017, the business rebranded to Milligram to signify the brand’s new phase of growth as it turned ten. To support its refreshed ambitions, Milligram realized it needed to stretch beyond its existing online store, which had reached the limits of its capacity and came with loads of technical debt. With Shopify Plus, Milligram has enjoyed being able to:

  • Launch promos in minutes, not hours
  • Consolidate its content and ecommerce onto one site
  • Improve its search bar conversion rate from 4.16% to almost 8%

Challenge

Sometimes a business outgrows its online store. This happened to Milligram twice.

The brand started its life on Shopify and moved to another ecommerce platform in a quest to grow. “Our CEO was really sad to move away from Shopify,” says Phil Miles, Milligrams’ digital manager. “But it was felt to be the right decision at the time.”

Seven years on, the brand’s second ecommerce solution was becoming problematic. With Milligram scaling fast and opening brick-and-mortar stores, its site was slow with clunky, back-end problems.

“Our site wasn’t built for that kind of growth and complexity,” says Miles. “The technical and operational wheels were falling off. We had issues with our database running on the backend of our website. It would get overwhelmed and crash, or updates would take much longer than usual.”

Its online store also didn’t have the capacity to offer the highly engaged, expert service that customers enjoyed in-store.

“Our blog page was hosted on WordPress, so customers who wanted to read our material would have to leave our site,” says Meaghan Andrews, Milligram’s marketing manager. “We wanted to massively expand our content and deliver it to customers in a seamless way. We wanted them to read our blogs and still be able to access their shopping carts.”

We needed a platform that would be easy to manage and help us sell our products as effectively as possible. Our old store was getting in the way of our selling process.

Phil MilesDigital Manager, Milligram

Solution

Milligram migrated to Shopify Plus, and chose to build its online store with Shopify Plus Agency Partner Convert Digital. Druce, Millgram’s CEO, loved his initial experience with Shopify, and felt that choosing Shopify Plus was a no-brainer.

Convert Digital wanted to transfer learnings about what had and hadn’t worked for the brand’s web design in the past.

For example, a great search function was very important to a multi-brand store like Milligram. Data showed customers who used the search function had a healthy 4.16% conversion rate. The team knew a better search bar would improve this even further.

Milligram - photo 2

Once the site was ready to be migrated, it was time to begin. “It was one of the smoothest migrations I’ve worked on,” says Miles. Andrews and the rest of her marketing team felt the same. “We immediately noticed how easy it was to use the platform day-to-day,” she says. “You didn’t need to know code or anything technical to run promos, or easily upload products into the system. This allowed us to share responsibilities across a wider group of people.”

Migrating to Shopify Plus was like coming home.

Phil MilesDigital Manager, Milligram

Results

Milligram can now offer customers the same engaging and personalized shopping experience online as it does in store. And all content is now housed on the same site as the brand’s ecommerce, which allows shoppers to engage with Milligram while keeping their shopping carts active. Better design has also improved the Milligram search bar function, which now has a conversion rate of close to 8%. 

Milligram - photo 3

The ease of use Shopify Plus provides has also allowed the team to remain agile, something that was vital in 2020 when COVID-19 caused the brand to close its brick-and-mortar stores. 

When Milligram’s online store suddenly became its sole channel to serve customers, being able to quickly alter promotions and backend details like stock availability were even more important to delivering the right shopping experience.

We can now run a promo within half an hour. This process used to take us half a day. The quick turnarounds are a true testament to how easy Shopify Plus is to use.

Meaghan AndrewsMarketing Manager, Milligram

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