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Headless Commerce and Travel Gear: Timeless Form, Intuitive Function

Herschel Supply Co. migrated to ShopifyPlus 2.0  to take advantage of its flexibility and exercise greater control over their ecommerce development.

Who Should Read This?

This case study will be especially relevant for those interested in the following topics:

  • ERP Integrations
  • Shopify PLUS 2.0
  • Backwards Compatibility
  • Headless Commerce
  • Website Replatforming
  • Adobe Experience Manager
  • Javascript Libraries
  • B2B Ecommerce
  • Multi-national/Currency Functionality


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.

A Flexible Platform for a Nimble Company

Herschel Supply Co. aims to inspire a certain kind of traveler. Their customers are on paths of discovery, exploring the world around them on their own, without a guide or a pre-preprogrammed itinerary. In that sense, they’re very interested in taking control of their own destinies, with travel gear that’s easy to use and keeps things simple.
These qualities, also engrained within Herschel’s own company culture, defined their approach to replatforming their ecommerce site. Looking ahead to the end of their contract with Elastic Path, they determined that they wanted more out-of-the-box functionality from their platform, rather than needing to develop and build solutions themselves. They decided on ShopifyPlus, particularly to take advantage of their integrated POS, easily expand the types of payment methods offered to customers, and quickly add new region-specific storefronts where different currencies were required. They determined that ShopifyPlus would also work well with their existing digital experience platform, Adobe Experience Manager.
As a ShopifyPlus Partner Agency, Guidance had the expertise to perform the replatforming. But more crucially, Guidance brought deep systems integration experience to the project. This was especially important because Herschel was also in the midst of an ERP transition, and had engaged CGS to implement their BlueCherry solution. Guidance served as a committed digital partner to Herschel throughout the process, helping to ensure that the decisions they made were smart, scalable, and carefully planned for every part of the journey.

One Step at a Time

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.

An Invisible Migration

Headless commerce, put simply, means that the front end (consumer-facing portion) of an ecommerce site operates separately and independently from the back end (where the data is stored and managed). This allows for greater flexibility in user experience design and functionality. With a headless commerce implementation, Herschel would be able to make updates to the look and feel of their site without needing to make concurrent changes in the back end.
In this case, however, the headless architecture enabled a transition with an ironic twist. Herschel was perfectly happy with their front-end presentation, and felt no need to change it. So the fully headless commerce implementation facilitated a “lift-and-shift” for the front end, with no effect on the ecommerce replatforming and ERP transition happening on the back end.


“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.”
- Jon Provisor, CIO at Guidance

Collaboration for the Win

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.

Hershel-screens-Group 9@3x

Everything’s Connected

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.
But which storefront within ShopifyPlus would a customer be navigating to? After all, the project involved setting up multiple storefronts for Herschel, which meant dealing with region-specific catalogs, pricing, discounts, and currencies. To solve this, Guidance developed and deployed a JavaScript library that could instruct AEM on the proper storefront to connect with, depending on the customer.

Going the Extra Mile

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.


For Herschel Supply Co., it started with redesigning the backpack, and grew to become a global accessories brand. Well into their second decade, as they expanded into new markets and developed more product categories, Herschel determined the time was right to reevaluate their ecommerce and ERP options.
Guidance partnered with Herschel to migrate their ecommerce platform to ShopifyPlus, and collaborated with their chosen ERP vendor to complete a smooth integration. Herschel’s new headless commerce solution, which Guidance customized to be backwards compatible, allowed Herschel to migrate their markets incrementally to the new platform, to support a seamless cutover and rollback strategy.
With access to more out-of-the-box functionality, and a headless commerce system that offers greater flexibility to create multiple region-specific websites and currencies, with their own catalogs, discounts, and customer bases, the new Herschel site has the foundation to expand their horizons further than ever.


  • Project Management
  • Technology
  • Data Migration
  • ERP Migration
  • Headless Commerce
  • Ecommerce Website Integrations


  • Adobe Experience Manager
  • Algolia Search
  • Blue Cherry (ERP)
  • Loop (Returns)
  • Sailthru
  • ShopifyPlus
  • Shopify POS
  • Swym (Wishlist)
  • Salesforce
  • GlobalLink / OneLink
  • ActiveMQ
  • Matrixify

Find out how top brands are breaking boundaries and exceeding sales projections with Guidance.