With a passion for design, genuine quality and exceptional customer service for modern work uniforms, Cargo Crew’s digital commerce strategy had to meet the same high standards as their products. Here’s why composable commerce is the perfect fit for a company that never stops innovating — and the stunning results achieved after successfully migrating off a legacy platform.
Do you remember when work uniforms were dull garments that staff loathed to wear? That’s not a reality anymore, thanks to visionary entrepreneur Felicity Rodgers. Back in 2002, the founder and creative director at Cargo Crew decided to invest a tax return payment of AUD $2,000 into a compelling idea: Make beautiful and made-to-measure work garments that staff are proud to wear. The Modern Uniform was born.
From humble beginnings in a small flat to a 4500sq/m HQ in Bundoora, Australia, Felicity and her team reshaped the modern uniform industry with an aesthetic that elevates brands such as Nando’s, Beacon Lighting, Renault, Birkenstock, ME Bank and even Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop (yes, Gwyneth Paltrow!). Today, the B2B leader carries over 250 styles worn by over 65,000 crews in 80+ countries.
In addition to Cargo Crew’s excellence in its products and services, these tremendous success results stem from a strong focus on eCommerce. Contrary to many B2B-focused organizations, the company invested early in digital and reaped the benefits of a self-service portal for brands to browse, customize and order work uniforms.
To take eCommerce to the next level, Cargo Crew implemented composable commerce and reaped a bounty of benefits that range from increased online revenue by 34% and conversion rate by 15%, to reduced development costs of up to AUD $700,000 and time-to-market for a new site to two weeks.
Why a legacy platform is now out of style
As Cargo Crew continued growing rapidly, its legacy platform (Magento 1, now known as Adobe Commerce) wasn’t able to keep up with ambitious plans that included international expansion, hyper-personalization and digital scalability.
With the legacy commerce platform, every new site launch required an AUD $20,000 investment and 2 to 3 months of implementation time, which majorly limited Cargo Crew's ability to launch bespoke sites and experiment with new features. The slow development cycles and feature rollouts became unsustainable for a company that needs to stay on top of market trends and customer expectations in order to differentiate and grow.
With plans to serve global markets, Cargo Crew also struggled to scale and localize effectively in terms of region, language and currency on a legacy solution. Finally, its slow-to-update and inflexible architecture hindered the company’s plans to offer market-leading B2B experiences online, limiting its ability to attract larger customers.
A new ensemble for growth: Composable commerce
With a customer-first approach and desire to build the Cargo Crew brand and experience, its digital journey evolved over three website builds starting in 2011. As the company outgrew its legacy platform a few years later, a 12-month investigation of tech platforms followed in 2021, culminating with the decision to replatform to a composable architecture with commercetools and various best-of-breed experts, including Algolia and Klaviyo.
Cargo Crew engaged the complete commerce consultants at Overdose to orchestrate all the best-of-breed solutions with a powerful B2B Accelerator consisting of various components and functionalities deployed to the cloud as microservices and pre-built extensions for additional features. The B2B Accelerator has also leveraged a headless CMS for Cargo Crew to create customer-specific B2B portals, each with its own multi-site instance.
Powered with a flexible and scalable commerce solution, Cargo Crew started to build custom B2B websites allowing clients to streamline the complex uniform supply chain process and facilitate easy 24/7 ordering of curated uniform ranges, including categories, images, pricing and catalog. This tailored site enables clients to purchase uniforms in bulk and personalize products with embroidery, monograms, emojis and logos. With the latest frontend technology Next.js, the company can also deliver rich and ultra-fast user experiences.
Migrating to a new cloud infrastructure for composable commerce has had a significant impact on the performance and scalability of our online store, and ultimately our business success. The freedom to innovate is one of the key benefits we've experienced. With a composable commerce infrastructure, we can experiment with new technologies and features without being limited by the constraints of a monolithic platform. This has allowed us to quickly and easily develop new products, services, or features that meet the changing needs of our customers without having to go through a lengthy development process.
Co-Founder and Operations Director, Cargo Crew
Additional benefits of this B2B eCommerce platform include informing staff and managers of new uniform additions, lookbooks or ordering reminders. This engages and inspires workers on how to wear their uniforms and ensures consistency across the brand. For example, the retailer Beacon Lighting rolled out a completely new uniform to 110 stores with Cargo Crew, using the customized portal to teach staff members how to wear and style their new uniforms.
With a composable architecture, Cargo Crew can now fully customize and personalize customer experiences without the effort or costs associated with a legacy platform. Since migrating to commercetools Composable Commerce in 2021, the company accelerated time-to-market for new releases and features, including the launch of 30 websites. The online portals have gathered tremendously positive feedback across Cargo Crew’s growing roster of clients, including the consumer electronics retail chain The Good Guys — which rolled out modern work uniforms to 3,500 staff across 106 stores — and Australia’s premium chocolateria, San Churro.
Through shared content and development of free multi-site, flexible accounts that support B2C, B2B and B2B2C, our technology allows us to ‘play small, market-wide.’ We have created scale within our business by being able to quickly launch and customize a web of eCommerce sites across our complex business.
Co-Founder and Operations Director, Cargo Crew
What key features drive an efficient B2B ordering for Cargo Crew?
Tapping into a composable commerce solution has enabled Cargo Crew to implement a wide range of features that make digital customer experiences smoother. Here’s a collection of the most important functionalities implemented so far, powered by a best-of-breed tech stack:
Flexible rules to personalize the uniform range and menu by login and a user profile.
Tiered, customer group and customer-specific pricing.
A variety of payment options, such as B2B-specific payments on a 30-day account.
Full search and browse merchandising through Algolia.
Customizable content and email flows to effectively handle brand communications and updates to their team, including client uniform guides.
Ability to merchandise core products with customer-specific imagery for their users.
Bulk ordering multiple sizes for a whole team.
Attaching orders to team members when ordering on their behalf.
Fully brandable portals, including applying custom CSS styles when heavy customization is required.
In addition, with a cloud-native infrastructure powered by Microsoft Azure, the company can easily handle large amounts of traffic, customers and orders without compromising on performance or user experience.
A statement of success: The results composable commerce brought in
Since replatforming to composable commerce in 2021, Cargo Crew has seen significant uplift in revenue and conversion and an exceptional return on investment and growth — even during COVID-19 lockdowns when the hospitality customer base was stagnant.
The company won large corporate clients due to a market-leading technology that makes product discovery, customization, ordering and engagement easier than ever. With a multi-site platform hosted in one commerce engine, it’s possible to roll out new eCommerce sites quickly and without needing a developer. Beyond customer acquisition, Cargo Crew is now primed to deliver phenomenal customer experiences that increase customer satisfaction and retention rates.
Within a short time, Cargo Crew experienced the benefits of composable commerce, from revenue boost to lower operational costs.
These numbers are a testament to the freedom Cargo Crew now has to innovate at scale, responding to changing customer needs and tackling new opportunities as they arise.
This has helped the company better compete with Tier-1 competitors and maintain its market lead with an equally feature-rich, but more affordable solution for prospective enterprise customers.
With composable commerce, Cargo Crew is positioned to grow even further, as its online portals now represent 73% of total transactions and 38% of business revenue. The company is also working on an employee entitlements program, so brands have the ability to set up credits and employee entitlements in their dedicated customer portal in an automated manner via the Overdose B2B Accelerator. Plus, as part of its cross-border eCommerce goals, the company launched a B2C website in the US.
With such a positive outlook, the company is well on track to surpass 50% of total revenue in FY 2023, powered by an estimated bespoke 45 customer portals by the end of the year.
Are you a B2B company looking into migrating off a legacy platform to commercetools Composable Commerce? Download our B2B migration guide and learn the benefits of going composable and how to replatform.