Loomstate, a dynamic B2B company operating in a highly competitive market, recognized the need for a transformative shift to enhance its digital capabilities. The company's migration journey from a monolithic, homegrown platform to a composable commerce solution marked a pivotal moment in its growth trajectory. Discover how the company overcame challenges, harnessed innovative solutions and unlocked the boundless potential of a composable architecture.
Loomstate — an innovative brand that supplies sustainable and fashionable work apparel — stands out for its remarkable ability to handle all aspects of its business in-house. With a small yet highly efficient development team at the helm, the company successfully manages an extensive portfolio of both B2B and B2C websites for a diverse range of customers. The complexity of this undertaking is staggering, with Loomstate seamlessly navigating a labyrinth of interconnected product catalogs, customizations and pricing structures, as well as working with a huge network of manufacturers specifically selected for their sustainability practices.
The company's ability to adapt and excel in the ever-evolving landscape of eCommerce — while still staying true to its mission to value people and the planet — is a true testament to its expertise. So, when it came to the company's eCommerce migration, it was only natural that it would undertake it all in-house. This is the story of how Loomstate accomplished such a journey and the lessons learned along the way.
Why migrate? The catalysts for change
Behind every technology migration lies a series of driving factors. For Loomstate, the decision to embark on a replatforming process stemmed from several critical pain points with its existing homegrown platform, consisting of an online portal for companies to order professional attire. Firstly, the platform was plagued by sluggish performance, making it difficult to meet customer demands efficiently. Plus, implementing new features was a time-consuming process, hindering its ability to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving market.
The high operational costs associated with its monolithic platform put a strain on Loomstate's financial resources, and the platform lacked user-friendly interfaces, hampering the overall user experience. Additionally, the performance of its eCommerce system suffered under the weight of high order and customer volumes. These challenges collectively motivated Loomstate to seek a new solution to address its growing needs for speed, flexibility, scalability and lower TCO.
We decided to migrate primarily because our platform at the time was very slow, it took a long time to implement new features, it was expensive to run, wasn’t user-friendly and the performance was less than ideal due to the high order and customer volume.
Platform Operations Manager, Loomstate
Overcoming migration challenges: A test of resilience
Loomstate urgently needed to migrate, but undertaking such an endeavor would not be without its fair share of challenges. Migrating vast amounts of data, especially sensitive order information, presented a complex hurdle. So, Loomstate made the strategic decision to embrace commercetools Composable Commerce as its new eCommerce solution due to the modularity of the architecture that would result in a smoother replatforming journey. To overcome the data migration hurdle, Loomstate devised a strategic solution by creating a custom script against commercetools' API, ensuring a seamless transfer of data while safeguarding the privacy and integrity of customer information.
Another significant challenge Loomstate faced was integrating its legacy ERP system with the new architecture. Although integrations can be completed easily with commercetools, Loomstate's limited set of APIs and lack of documentation made this integration a complex endeavor. However, Loomstate successfully navigated this obstacle by leveraging an asynchronous architecture and harnessing the events-based possibilities offered by commercetools. By embracing these innovative approaches, the company managed to establish a robust and efficient connection between its ERP and the composable commerce solution.
What's more, Loomstate had to address the integration of payment gateways and other third-party systems — a task made more challenging by the differences between its previous restrictive monolithic architecture and the comprehensive capabilities offered by commercetools. By capitalizing on the flexible and extensive SDKs provided by commercetools, and with the support of a certified partner, Loomstate was able to successfully implement the necessary integrations and ensure a smooth transition.
Hindsight is 20/20: Lessons learned for the future
As Loomstate reflects on its migration experience, the company identifies key areas where it could have taken a different approach. One area the company highlights is the frontend implementation using a CMS. Looking back, Loomstate recognizes that this approach proved to be overly complex and time-consuming. Instead, the company advises businesses to consider using commercetools Frontend to expedite and standardize the frontend development process, as well as provide an elevated look and feel to its websites. In fact, Loomstate is now utilizing commercetools Frontend to rebuild the Chipotle (one of its biggest clients) B2B customer portal.
We did our own frontend implementation — looking back, that was a mistake and way too complex. Now, we would advise to use commercetools Frontend with Vue Storefront or a similar platform to speed up and standardize the process.
Platform Operations Manager, Loomstate
Another crucial lesson the company learned pertains to its legacy ERP system. Loomstate realized that replacing its outdated ERP with a modern solution should have been carefully considered during the migration process. The limitations of its existing ERP system remain a pain point for the company, and Loomstate encourages others to thoroughly assess its ERP needs and explore more modern alternatives before initiating a migration.
Evaluating the journey: Unleashing the power of composable commerce
We were able to replatform so quickly because of the inherent configurability of commercetools, so we did not have to deal with tailoring the backend data architecture with plugins or development. Plus, data migrations were simple using ImPex and using the APIs was very straightforward.
Platform Operations Manager, Loomstate
In an impressive feat, Loomstate completed its migration to commercetools in a mere two months, resulting in significant benefits for the company's transition to a composable architecture. By embracing a composable commerce approach with a MACH® foundation, Loomstate has experienced accelerated growth and gained a competitive edge in its industry in the following ways:
Reliability and scalability: By decoupling its storefronts from the backend, Loomstate now has the freedom to tailor its stores to meet specific requirements. This flexibility empowers them to deliver unique and personalized experiences to its customers. Moreover, this decoupled architecture provides the ability to seamlessly switch out components if ever needed, ensuring the company can adapt and evolve with changing market needs.
Improved performance: The transition to a composable architecture has resulted in enhanced performance across Loomstate's commerce site. Its modularity allows for optimized resource allocation, enabling faster loading times and smoother user experiences. Customers can now navigate and interact with the site effortlessly, increasing satisfaction and engagement.
Freedom for deploying background automations: Loomstate enjoys the freedom to deploy background automations seamlessly. This flexibility simplifies the company's operations, especially when the need arises to switch service providers. It can easily integrate new tools and services into its ecosystem, driving efficiency and streamlining workflows.
Easy integration of different services: One of the key advantages of a composable architecture is its ability to connect various services effortlessly. Loomstate benefits from the seamless integration of external tools and services, allowing it to extend the capabilities of its platform and leverage best-of-breed solutions. This integration flexibility enhances its overall offering and empowers it to deliver exceptional experiences to its customers.
Improved efficiency and efficacy of development: The adoption of this new architecture has revolutionized Loomstate's development processes, resulting in improved efficiency and efficacy. The development team experiences quicker feature releases, allowing them to rapidly respond to market demands and stay ahead of the competition. Additionally, the modular and decoupled nature of composable commerce leads to fewer bugs and faster bug fixes, reducing downtime and ensuring a seamless user experience. The simpler repositories and codebase enhance code reviews and readability, enabling smoother collaboration and accelerated development cycles.
As a testament to its success, Loomstate initially engaged with commercetools partners to leverage its expertise but has since developed its own dedicated development team. Rather than relying on external parties, Loomstate has taken the reins of various development aspects itself, actively seeking out innovative solutions to optimize its operations. This internal team ensures ongoing improvements and customizations to meet the company’s evolving requirements and maintain a strong foundation for future growth.
We would advise to not only replace one tool for a newer one, but use the chance to re-think your architecture, flow of information and general architecture. There is no magic formula, but what works is a combination of the right team in place, right tools and clear architectural requirements.
Platform Operations Manager, Loomstate
Practical advice for B2Bs embarking on the composable commerce journey
Based on its firsthand experience, Loomstate shares valuable practical advice for B2Bs venturing into the realm of composable commerce. The company emphasizes the need to approach the migration as an opportunity to reimagine the entire architecture, information flow and overall requirements of the business.
It is crucial to understand that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, but success lies in a combination of the right team, suitable tools and a clear architectural vision. Loomstate highlights that its B2B composable solutions have tremendous growth potential though they are at an early stage of development, necessitating access to expert development resources for seamless implementation. By following these principles and leveraging the transformative potential of composable commerce, businesses can embark on a journey of digital transformation that propels them toward sustained success.
Embracing the future with composable commerce
Loomstate's migration journey stands as proof of the power of embracing composable commerce. By adopting commercetools, the company has unlocked a world of possibilities and paved the way for unrivaled agility, efficiency and customer-centricity. As businesses embark on their own digital transformation endeavors, Loomstate's story serves as an inspiration — a reminder of the transformative potential that lies within the realm of composable commerce.