+42%Average Order Value Increase
+190%Faster Load Times
Carl's Place Experience
“If you’re not on ecommerce now, you’re about 10-20 years behind. Relying on standard retail or dealer channels is great and has worked for decades, but if one of your competitors is selling direct online, they are making it much easier for customers to connect directly and are making more money than you on top of it. Stop what you’re doing and get to work on an ecommerce platform now.”
Carl’s Place is a manufacturing company headquartered in Milton, WI that specializes in fabric manufacturing for entertainment screens. Their products support a wide range of industries, such as home theaters, outdoor theaters, golf simulators and commercial projector screens. Carl’s Place was founded in 2006 when owner Carl Markestad began selling fabric out of his college apartment. “I needed a piece of fabric for a project when I realized I could only purchase an industrial roll. After spending some time online, I recognized this was a common problem, so I set up a simple online store and the rest is history.”
As their online business continued to see year-over-year growth, by 2018, Carl knew it was time to upgrade their website from an outdated, proprietary system to a modern ecommerce solution. He decided on the Magento 2 platform because of its ability to bridge the gap between the manufacturing process and ecommerce functionality. Unfortunately for Carl’s Place’s, their initial systems integrator didn’t have a lot of Magento experience, leaving them with a buggy site that made it difficult for customers to find what they were looking for and effectively checkout.
Carl’s Place has always relied on their customers to help grow their business. The expansion of their product offering is a direct result of customers requesting new types of fabric for different endeavors. Shortly after launching the new site, their customers were quick to voice their frustration; products were difficult to find, links across the site were broken and pages regularly took longer than ten seconds to load.
When Carl’s Place decided to bring in Swarming as their new partner, our first priority was understanding the overall state of the Carl’s Place web infrastructure. We do this by performing what we call a “Site Audit.” According to Swarming Technology Founder Ian Baxter, “With an advanced platform like Magento 2, it’s impossible to diagnose problems without a complete understanding of the current site architecture. The Site Audit gives our team the opportunity to review what a previous developer missed and gives us a strategy to move forward." After completing the Magento Site Audit, we were able to provide Carl’s Place with recommendations of issues that needed to be addressed and used those recommendations to create a list of ongoing tasks, also known as a backlog. The Swarming team utilized that backlog while working with the team at Carl’s Place to create a development roadmap specifically aligned to their business needs.
Instead of taking an “everything at once” approach, Carl’s Place decided it made most sense for their budget to take a phased approach that would incrementally change how the website functioned. They signed on for a six-month Continuous Development retainer and partnered with our team to understand what was identified in the audit and help set a priority list. Our first priority was decreasing page load times across the website. It isn’t uncommon for agencies without certified Magento developers to have issues optimizing Magento 2 websites, and the Carl’s Place website was a case where this was evident. After focusing on the hosting configuration and site optimization in the first month, we were immediately able to recognize the site was instantly generating more traffic. The next priority was streamlining the user experience on the site. Based on the analytics, we saw users were actually spending a lot of time on the site, but most of them never made it to checkout. After fixing the broken links and creating a better user experience, the Swarming team found that customers were spending less time on the site, but converting at a much higher rate. Overall, the Carl’s Place website is a testament on how partnering with Swarming’s Continuous Development team can rescue a project that’s gone off the rails and put it down a path of long term success.