Discover how customizable, cost-effective and reliable
BigCommerce is and why we built it that way.
increase in average order value
faster site speed
increase in conversion rate
Performance metrics compare September 18 - October 17, 2020 to September 18 - October 17, 2022.
Birdsnest, a family owned business, is all about solving women’s wardrobe dilemmas. It’s been that way ever since the company was founded in 2004 by the “big bird” herself, Jane Cay, as she is affectionately known.
Although it’s grown to be more of an online retailer, the apparel and accessories company got its start with its flagship store nestled in the Snowy Mountains of the small country town of Cooma, Australia.
“Birdsnest got its start with just this one little brick-and-mortar store. Still today, we get a significant amount of pass-through traffic from people on the way to the ski resorts,” said Marg Parris, ecommerce projects bird at Birdsnest. “It's really helpful to have the store, because it helps us stay connected with our customer to understand who she is, what her needs are, and whether our new ideas are going to be helpful to her.”
At Birdsnest, every shopper is a bird, and more than 85,000 of them have created a personalized style profile with their body shape, size, favorite colors, etc. to get the help they need to create the perfect wardrobe. This type of feedback influenced Birdsnest's decision to take its business online in 2008.
Dealing with unwieldy code
Birdsnest's first website was built in-house using Ruby on Rails. The team built out every idea they could think of to create a customized, user focused site.
“After a while the code got pretty unwieldy as we were adding in features and not necessarily slowing down to maintain the code. As a result, the site speed became really slow, and maintaining the code became cumbersome and time consuming,” Marg said.
To be free as a bird with BigCommerce
Once the decision was made to move away from its bespoke ecommerce platform, Birdsnest’s search ultimately came down to two providers: BigCommerce and Shopify.
“We work closely with other Australian ecommerce companies, and we take a lot of stock from their recommendations. BigCommerce had great recommendations among those companies that were similar to us, so that helped make our decision,” Marg said.
BigCommerce also passed “the list” test proving it to be the best solution for Birdsnest. “We had this long, long list of user stories, like ‘As a marketer, I want to be able to do this thing.’ BigCommerce had the most solutions,” Marg commented. “And, we felt like BigCommerce’s customer service and the vibe of the company were well matched to us.”
What also matches well to Birdsnest is the plug-and-play app functionality BigCommerce provides. It’s the Birdsnest’s way to customize basically everything it does, but it found using BigCommerce’s vetted apps a simple solution to acquire the functionality it desired.
“There are lots of apps and integrations we have just been able to plug in and leverage, or they are native to the platform. BigCommerce’s abandoned cart emails have been very easy to use, and the APIs are great — fun in fact,” Marg said.
In August (2022), Birdsnest began selling preloved clothing on its website thanks to the use of APIs and updates to its product information management (PIM) solution. Now, the retailer is able to use a single database for all its imagery and product information and have it available for two separate feeds for both new and “rehatched” items.
“This has been a really fun innovation for us,” Marg stated. “We’re able to send two versions of the product to BigCommerce, and it's all navigable through the main navigation, and customers can check out with both new and preloved items through the cart as normal.”
While its in-house developers supported the integration to Birdsnest’s back end, Moustache Republic, a BigCommerce Elite Partner agency, directed its attention to the front end, integrating the PIM and custom wishlist into BigCommerce. The agency also played a major role in developing its store credit app.
Swym accesses all of Birdsnest’s inventory to provide shoppers back in-stock notifications.
Shogun Page Builder drives the homepage and the majority of Birdsnest’s content pages.
Zendesk manages all customer service interactions.
“We work closely with other Australian ecommerce companies, and we take a lot of stock from their recommendations. BigCommerce had great recommendations among those companies that were similar to us, so that helped make our decision.”
“BigCommerce has proven to be a really good core platform for us and it also has been able to accommodate our innovations. The general apps cover a lot of our needs, but when we want something more custom, we can create an app, plug it in and it works very smoothly for those things we want to create on our own.”
What’s hatched in the nest
According to Marg, Birdsnest “definitely noticed an immediate improvement in site speed” compared to two years ago before the company switched to BigCommerce. Performance metrics comparing September 18 – October 17, 2020 to September 18 – October 17, 2022, show site speed 21% faster, and conversion rate and average order value (AOV) 30% and 7% higher, respectively.
“BigCommerce has proven to be a really good core platform for us and it also has been able to accommodate our innovations,” said Marg. “The general apps cover a lot of our needs, but when we want something more custom, we can create an app, plug it in and it works very smoothly for those things we want to create on our own.”
“There are lots of apps and integrations we have just been able to plug in and leverage, or they are native to the platform. BigCommerce’s abandoned cart emails have been very easy to use, and the APIs are great — fun in fact.”
Making omnichannel retail therapy
“Making sure we are talking to our customer in a way that's relevant to her in all our channels is the omnichannel experience we’re looking to provide. Is she on Facebook to shop, or is she browsing and getting style support? Although we are primarily an online business, we want to offer that personalized in-store feel wherever we can,” Marg stated.
And Birdsnest is doing a pretty good job at providing that experience too. Its physical store and warehouse are attached. Shoppers can choose from items displayed in the store or use digital tablets to shop the complete online catalog, and have the items delivered from the adjacent warehouse to their changeroom.
Recently, Birdsnest lovingly renovated two heritage townhouses in Cooma to offer boutique accommodation where people can come and visit to shop and try on clothes in Birdsnest’s glamorous Nest Lounge showroom.
With a vibrant social following on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, Birdsnest uses social media to engage with customers through Facebook Live try-on sessions with a range of model diversity and inclusive sizing to give customers the confidence about how an item will look or fit.
“What we love about BigCommerce is that you're always working to improve the platform. We trust you as a leader to keep us current with the latest technology, and where things are going in terms of ecommerce functionality. We've been really happy to partner with BigCommerce,” Marg said.
Whether it’s providing the platform or the apps and integrations that extend it, BigCommerce is happy to partner with Birdsnest as well and will continue to lead and innovate with Birdsnest’s success in mind.
Published: January 2023