This case study will be especially relevant for those interested in the following topics:
Herschel Supply Company previously relied on Elastic Path for its ecommerce solution.
As their business became global, they needed to keep pace while maintaining their focus on design innovation and expanding their product offerings. They turned to Guidance,
a ShopifyPlus Partner Agency, to help them make the journey as seamless as possible,
with a backwards-compatible headless commerce solution.
As kids, brothers Jamie and Lyndon Cormack would visit their grandparents in
Herschel, Saskatchewan, Canada – a rural community of just 30 people. Their parents had moved to the city from there, and the two boys found happiness in both settings.
That’s the feeling they wanted to capture when they created Herschel Supply Co.
in 2009. They set out to develop timeless travel utility items that spoke to their
generation – classic, but with a modern twist.
Herschel operates in multiple countries, which requires the use of multiple storefronts (one per currency type) in ShopifyPlus. To minimize the risks associated with ecommerce platform migration, Guidance took a two-pronged approach. First, the team established a solution whereby Adobe Experience Manager could support headless commerce regardless of whether Herschel was using Elastic Path or ShopifyPlus. This backward compatibility allowed both ecommerce platforms to be configured on a per-site basis.
Second, Guidance implemented a cutover and rollback plan, starting with Herschel’s smallest markets. As each storefront moved from Elastic Path to ShopifyPlus, Guidance monitored the cutovers to ensure a smooth transition. Working from smallest to largest, Guidance managed a systematic replatforming with no noticeable disruption in service from the consumer perspective.
“Shopify Plus 2.0 provided Herschel with advanced commerce functionality and point-of-sale (POS) capabilities. Our team did an amazing job, which set Herschel up with a future-proof commerce solution.”
Working with the client as a true partner for the success of a project is a hallmark of the Guidance experience. Occasionally, clients also choose to work directly with other external providers and ask Guidance to work with them on parallel projects. In this case, Herschel had contracted with CGS to transition to their BlueCherry ERP product. Because this transition happened concurrently with the ecommerce replatforming project, Guidance managed another instance of backwards compatibility and ensured the ERP would work with Elastic Path while it was still the platform in use. Guidance also consulted with CGS and provided technical analysis to help prepare Herschel’s BlueCherry installation for use with ShopifyPlus and complete the project.
Additionally, headless commerce created a wishlist challenge, as Herschel’s provider, Swym, didn’t yet have a solution for a headless commerce implementation. In consultation with Guidance, Swym developed new APIs for integration with AEM. Guidance also oversaw the API integrations for Loop Returns and Algolia site search into Herschel’s storefronts.
ERP, DX, and ecommerce solutions all need to be able to pass data back and forth efficiently. In the case of BlueCherry, there’s an out-of-the-box connector to ShopifyPlus that, unfortunately, wasn’t robust enough to handle Herschel’s needs. As the ERP vendor, CGS worked to develop a customer connector. Guidance, as part of its ecommerce replatforming work, consulted with CGS and provided necessary technical analysis to prepare BlueCherry for its integration with ShopifyPlus. This included providing the requirements for representing Herschel’s product catalog in ShopifyPlus, and parceling out product catalog data to multiple storefronts in configurations that would fall within ShopifyPlus’s 100-variant limit per product.
The product catalog information also needed to be synchronized in real time across the ERP, DX, and ShopifyPlus. This is where the systems integration rubber really hits the road. In addition to connecting the product catalog from BlueCherry ERP to ShopifyPlus, product IDs in ShopifyPlus also needed to be passed through to AEM. Guidance helped manage that workflow so all systems would stay aligned, using the product ID as a common key, and backfilling them via APIs from ShopifyPlus to BlueCherry, which would then backfill the product IDs to AEM.
For user experience purposes, Guidance employed Shopify’s GraphQL Storefront API to enable multi-path single sign-on (SSO) functionality. Multi-path SSO allows a user to access more than one application without having to login multiple times. It also centralizes and simplifies user administration. For Herschel, this meant a customer could authenticate on AEM and have that authentication carry through to ShopifyPlus, creating a seamless experience as they navigated between the two systems.
Choosing ShopifyPlus led to some downstream challenges for Herschel, considering other solutions they’d had in place for their ecommerce experience. One of these issues involved Herschel’s legacy gift cards, which had too many digits and couldn’t be supported by ShopifyPlus. As a result, all outstanding gift cards needed to be exchanged, which required updating the codes in AEM and reissuing them. Guidance built a workflow to notify customers of the exchange, and to help manage the customer experience during the checkout flow if they tried to use the old version of their gift card.
Guidance implemented a backwards compatible headless commerce solution, allowing Herschel to migrate incrementally from their old ecommerce platform to ShopifyPlus.
With more out-of-the-box functionality, the ability to easily add global storefronts, and a parallel integration with a new ERP, Herschel is poised for new heights of success.