Solving your Tech Stack issues by replatforming with Ashley Hubbard from Grenson Shoes (episode 367)

Ashley Hubbard is in charge of eCommerce at Grenson Shoes a heritage British brand with a young heart. The business was founded over 150 years ago, as well as the DTC website, they wholesale to top department stores such as Mr. Porter, Matches Fashion, and Selfridges, they also have their own physical stores across London.

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About Ashley

Ashley started working for a software company in the early 2000s, which supplied systems to universities and conference centers worldwide.

He eventually thought of moving to the client-side, and joined a company that owned and operated nightclubs and bars in the UK. With a customer demographic of 18 to 24-year olds who were digitally-inclined, Ashley had a lot of ideas he got to implement.

They developed an in-app ordering system for all their venues for iOS and Android, in addition to managing ticket sales, advance bookings, and more.

For Ashley, it was a great experience for anyone going into the digital industry because of the multitude of data sources.

Replatforming For Grenson Shoes

The replatforming that happened at Grenson Shoes happened because of expiring technology. It was also a tough decision for them to make because they were actually satisfied with the platform they were using at the time, and replatforming had its own consequences. It was also difficult knowing they had to continue running the business while getting on an unknown platform.

A lot of vendors offered their platforms but it quickly came down to choosing between Magento and BigCommerce because of multi-currency and multi-site requirements among other needs. They eventually went with BigCommerce because Ashley says, their platform felt like it was built to be a cloud-based application as a Saas model. And as a fashion brand, getting on BigCommerce’s platform seemed like the best option for them.

Ashley adds that with replatforming, it’s best to get clear on your requirements and needs at the very start to know if they’re possible with your vendor.

Going Headless Or Not

Ashley says he tried to plan for things to be as open and interconnected as possible. They wanted to achieve strong brand creative on the front-end while making sure they weren’t limited elsewhere.

And while going headless seemed like a good possibility, they ended up not doing it because of the fact that BigCommerce allowed them to create their own templates, and build logic into those templates.

They also built a custom middleware that handles the transformation of data between third-party systems into a format for BigCommerce to utilize.

Getting Into Marketplaces

Ashley says that if you want to become part of marketplaces, make sure you’re on the right ones.

Do your research because even though a marketplace may be popular, there could be internal issues such as poor customer service or returns management, and that will reflect on you as well.

Looking Forward

With the new platform, Ashley is excited about click rate optimization and conversion optimization, and the way the platform allows them to act quickly on pain points and issues.

He’s also looking forward to optimizing their site traffic by converting existing visitors and increasing sales even further.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Get into on-page SEO and organic channels because if you get them right, you can rank against marketplaces.

Tool Top Tip

  • Semrush online visibility management platform for SEO research and more

Growth Top Tip

  • Identify where your customers are (social media channel or marketplace) and what’s the most cost-effective way for you to reach them.

Interview Links

Related episodes

  • 262: Fashion replatforming, customer service and the impact of PR with Needle & Thread’s Mark Liddington
  • 333: Expanding to £4m a year via international marketplaces with Trevor Ginn from Hello Baby Direct
  • 350: Operations is ALL about enabling growth with Lovepop’s Dan Nephew

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