The outdoor apparel retailer re-platformed from Magento to Shopify Plus to better scale its high growth.

Ecommerce accounts for 75% of outdoor apparel retailer Stio’s sales. And its online sales are growing quickly: Stio’s total annual sales grew 60% in 2018 over 2017. A year earlier, its sales jumped 51%.

And with rising online sales for the retailer—which also operates two retail stores in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with a third on the way in March in Park City, Utah—Stio last year switched to Shopify Plus’s ecommerce platform from Magento to ensure Stio.com could keep shoppers satisfied.

Stio launched in 2012 on Magento after spending the prior year building its website with digital commerce agency Blue Acorn. This platform served the retailer well for the next five years as it grew the business, but eventually it had trouble keeping up, which was a challenge because the retailer didn’t have the internal infrastructure to support constant engineering and development for the Magento platform. Stio relied on Blue Acorn’s help to keep up whenever the platform needed tweaking or maintenance.

“We grew frustrated about the ongoing development and maintenance costs to keep the lights on,” says Noah Waterhouse, chief marketing officer for Stio. “There was too much budget going into security patches and bug fixes and too much just to keep the site up rather than adding new functionalities.”

When Magento announced it was discontinuing Magento 1.14—the version of the platform Stio used—unless its users planned to sign a multi-year contract, the retailer decided to switch platforms.

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Stio shopped around for other options, including Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud, but says it found it to be as expensive and labor-intensive as what it had with Magento.

The apparel retailer eventually settled on Shopify Plus in early 2018 to re-platform the site, Waterhouse says. “When we compared migration cost proposals—the design, development and data migration project for going from Magento 1.14 to another platform—going to Shopify Plus was roughly half the cost of going to Magento 2, and less than one-third the cost of going to Salesforce Commerce Cloud,” he says. “Stio is investing similar amounts into ongoing dev work, but the budget is going to more meaningful improvements as opposed to lower impact efforts like bug fixes and security patches.”

Stio worked with web development company and digital agency Zehner over the summer of 2018 and launched the re-platformed site after four months at the beginning of October.

The timing was crucial to Stio’s bottom line. “50% of our business is in Q4 because it is seasonal and that’s compounded with holidays, so we got it in time for the rush. That was a must and they delivered on that,” Waterhouse says.

Every website migration has hiccups, but Waterhouse says it was anticlimactic once the user testing was complete and the new site was launched. “We flipped a switch, and the site worked well. Orders came in right away,” he says.

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Stio saw “tremendous” fourth-quarter growth after the launch of the new site on Shopify Plus, and it did not experience any downtime issues. Page load times also decreased by 25% compared with the pre-launch. In addition, quarterly conversion rates went up 15% on the website and up 80% for mobile web compared with the year-ago period.

“We attribute that to the Shopify migration, but also our marketing efforts,” Waterhouse says.

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