About Tico Coffee Roasters and our online setup
Tico Coffee Roasters is a boutique coffee roaster, that craft roast sustainable, exclusive and unique Grand Cru coffees in very small batches and imports only the finest teas guaranteeing product freshness and consistency.
Our focus as a business has been mainly around Wholesale, but over the last few years we also have established a large following through our Online Retail on our own website - https://www.ticoroasters.com - as well as on our presence on Amazon.
Reasons for the Move from Magento to Shopify
We have been using Magento for several years and have been happy with it, but what we have learned over the last few years is requires significant effort and programming to keep the system updated and smooth running.
As a small company we cannot afford to have a significant IT staff around, working on coding and integrations, and as such we were looking at a simpler alternative. One that would not be much more expensive and that would allow us to maintain most of our setup without hiring a team of IT experts.
One other thing that we were constantly worried about, is that our setup seemed fragile as we had several integrations to various applications that we had to maintain and sometimes we were just hoping that things don't break.
We just wanted a robust system that we can rely on especially with the growth we have been going through.
And lastly we had hosted the Magento system on our own servers and were getting worried about page load times as we were not using a Content Delivery Network, but directly hosting our site. So our goal was that the new system will give us consistent performance and a better and more modern user experience.
Requirements for the new system
Now you might think as a small company there should not be too many requirements, but as we do wholesale and retail it was actually much more complicated than that.
We are selling subscriptions so we needed a way to automatically capture our monthly coffee and tea subscriptions. With Magento we used the Paypal Express checkout feature that allows for recurring payments, but had the limitation that only one item can be in the cart. So our hope was that with Shopify we can overcome this challenge and have a better experience when it comes to subscriptions.
For our wholesale customers we had established multiple pricing levels and so had to see how do we combine Wholesale and Retail into a single system. All our whoesale customers today do not use online ordering so our goal here was to not change that process and still allow us to manually enter their orders in the system.
Selling on multiple channels was another key criteria for us. We wanted to expand our reach beyond our own webstore and Amazon and add newer sales channels like a Facebook store and Pinterest Buyable Pins.
And then one additional criteria we had to solve, our retail location is using Square for the in store purchases and so far we had to manually sync inventory at the end of the day. We wanted to get that automated and ideally synced in real-time.
Original Setup using Magento
In our original setup we were using Magento only for our online presence at https://www.ticoroasters.com. In order to manage our Wholesale business and inventory as well as our inventory sync we were using Tradegecko as the central hub for our inventory management. Our accounting system used is Xero, for our shipping management we use Shipstation and for CRM we are using Insightly.
To connect all these stores we had to find a solution that can be the central hub where all the integrations come together. We found that for this setup our best choice was Tradegecko as it had integration into Amazon and Magento, but also let us integrate Xero as our accounting system. As Xero has a direct integration with Insightly, that allowed us to track all the customer interactions and make sure we have a holistic view when answering customer calls.
To sync our inventory between Square and Tradegecko we had created a daily email process that is sending a store sales report to our admin and then the Admin will manually update the store inventory with the sales at the end of the day.
New Setup using Shopify
Our new setup is significantly simplified. We are now using Shopify as our central Hub where our online orders and Whoesale orders come together. Shopify is directly integrated with Xero and Shipstation and manages also our oventory.
We are anciously waiting for the Amazon integration as this then will allow us to do all from a single central hub. In the meantime we continue to use Tradegecko for the inventory sync with Amazon, but hopefully shortly our setup is even further simplified.
For the automatic sync between Xero and Shopify we are using Shopseen and that is now allowing us to have a real time update between the selling locations.
Application Add-Ons used in Shopify
Magento Importer - allows to get the products and customers imported from Magento into Shopify
- Recurring Billing - seelling and managing subscriptions in Shopify
- In-Store Pickup - allow customers to select pickup from physical location without charge dunring checkout
- Infinite Options - create custom product options (in our case customization on finished product - like ginding coffee)
- Xero Accounting - accounting software
- Shipstation - Shipment management system that creates labels and manages shipments
- Shopseen - inventory synchronization between Square and Shopify
- Mailchimp for Shopify - connects Shopify store with MailChimp account to add customers to Mailchimp and create targeted email campaigns based in buying behavior
- Shopify Product Reviews - customer product review feature for products being sold
- Shopify Google Shopping - automatically sync Shopify store with Google Merchant Center
- Shopify Order Printer - print customized invoices, labels, receipts, packing slips, and more
- Shopify Wordpress Product Embed - generate shortcodes for products and embed them into WordPress posts
We picked a time for the migration that typically is a little more quiet, the days between Christmas Day and January 1st. The migration was very smooth as there is an import tool that allows to get all products from Magento moved to Shopify - Magento Importer. In our case the entire process took a few minutes.
We had to go back though to every product to adjust the formatting of the product description and upload custom pictures we used in the description text, but that was a good way for us also to update our web appearance and get better pictures for our products.
So at the end, the entire store was up and running in a few hours. We had all the basic features we needed. But then we started to run into some challenges.
How do we manage our monthly subscriptions? How do we deal with customizable products (especially as we grind our coffee on demand and do not track ground coffee and whole bean inventory seperately)? And how do we get free pick-up enabled but not as the default option?
But for all that there were add-ons or slight process adjustments and then all was going smooth. We now have even a better solution in place than what we had before in our Magento store.
Overall we now have a much better customer experience, a more modern look and feel to our store and can offer our customer a bunch of new features (like modifying their subscriptions, selecting the pick-up time, or purchase on the channel they want (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or our stores).
- Do not get stuck in thinking you have to replicate your old processes 1:1 - think how you can leverage the new system capabilities or add-ons to improve your business processes
- Shopify is highly customizable - use Google search and the Shopify support site and forums to find solutions on how to customize your store - there is a solution for everything
- Shopify integrates to most common applications and tools, but be open to change some if you want a better integration (like in our case we decided to not use Tradegecko anymore as our central hub and actually might phase it out completely once the Amazon integration wth Shopify is available)
We will continue to make tweaks and adjustments but for now we are very happy with our new setup. We will keep updating or blog when we make changes, so stay tuned ...