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Performance metrics compare January 2022 over December 2021 for the Motorola Defy phone.
Tough. Durable. Stands up to punishment. It’s not the typical way most people would describe a smartphone unless you happen to be someone who works, lives or plays outdoors.
Rugged phones are what those in the know call them. Construction workers, healthcare professionals, military servicemembers and extreme adventure seekers are the type of people these phones are meant for. They are built to withstand drops, water submersion, extreme temperatures, sand, dust, high altitudes and more.
And, the market for these rough and tough phones is growing. Just ask UK manufacturer Bullitt Group, pioneers of rugged mobile and manufacturer and seller of Cat phones (Caterpillar). “Our customers are actively looking for a device that lasts longer, they want to keep their phones for longer than a typical replacement cycle, and for that they need it to be more durable, so we are seeing a growth in both the B2C and B2B rugged market,” said Bullitt Group Ecommerce Director Ryan Stapleton.
This growth is the catalyst for how Bullitt Group scales its business leveraging multi-storefront. Multi-storefront enables a merchant to have one store, catalog, etc. and leverage unique storefronts for different brands, languages and currencies.
Hanging up on Magento and Shopify
Imagine selling across Europe and having multiple, country-specific versions of a storefront and needing to manage each separately instead of through a single control panel. That was Bullitt Group’s experience as the manufacturer and seller of Cat rugged phones. The company managed over 20 storefronts when it was on Magento and later on Shopify.
As a headless-first company using WordPress, neither platform provided the type of experience Bullitt Group needed to grow and scale its business.
“The headless integration on Magento was difficult to manage. One of the biggest issues we had with the platform was having to look through multiple different storefronts or instances trying to find customer orders, or trying to manage promotions, or anything like that,” Stapleton said.
“When it came to Shopify we did find a way to run most of Europe through a single instance, but it wasn't a particularly nice integration,” Stapleton said. “We were constantly having to duplicate products to change pricing, there were some issues with translations and languages, and there were inherent issues with the way Shopify interacted with our CMS [content management system], WordPress.”
It became obvious to Stapleton that it was time to make a change.
BigCommerce: Not a tough call to make
Stapleton wanted an ecommerce system that was easy to manage, simple for things like customer service and one that provided a way to implement everything in as few instances as possible. The company looked at BigCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Shopify and also considered building its own custom headless solution. But in the end, BigCommerce was selected and Bullitt Group built out all 26 of its Cat storefronts on 3 instances of BigCommerce completely in-house. “It [BigCommerce] was inherently easier to us,” Stapleton said.
One of the main reasons Bullitt Group switched to BigCommerce was not so much for its CMS and storefront offering, but actually the multi-storefront capabilities behind it. “We needed a system where we didn’t have to flip back and forth between multiple different instances to change things. BigCommerce was that system,” said Stapleton.
Bullitt Group was able to connect multiple unique storefronts to a single store in order to power localized experiences for its shoppers. Using multi-storefront meant that Bullitt Group could manage everything from promotions, product listings and pricing to invoicing in a customer's native language.
“With Shopify, we were limited on the number of languages we could use and the number of API calls we could make. So for us it just made sense to have everything inside of one platform and be able to move things forward quickly, which is very important in this quick and constantly changing world of rugged smartphones,” said Stapleton.
Bullitt Group did not have the need to use many apps, but the company decided to use both Mailchimp and Hubspot to stay in touch with its B2C and B2B customers, respectively.
Several of BigCommerce’s specialized services have been involved in Bullitt Group’s pre-launch and post-launch success, including:
“We needed a system where we didn’t have to flip back and forth between multiple different instances to change things. BigCommerce was that system.”
Evidence of what a good connection can do
Today, not only does Bullitt Group run 26 storefronts of the Cat rugged phones on 3 BigCommerce instances, it also operates 28 storefronts—one for each European country—of the Motorola Defy rugged phone on 1 BigCommerce instance.
Facebook integrations are live and in operation on both the Cat and Motorola instances. And, as of this writing, the Instagram integration is active on Motorola and will soon be for Cat as well.
How is Bullitt Group able to do this? BigCommerce enables the company to manage all of its different storefronts and variations of languages, etc. through WordPress. And, with BigCommerce, one cart and checkout is embedded into WordPress and used across all the Cat sites and likewise for the Motorola sites.
“In terms of localization, we can detect browser language and also in-app handset language. If someone is browsing from one of our phones and their language is set to Spanish, for example, then checkout will dynamically change to Spanish for them as well,” Stapleton said.
The future 411
In the near future, Bullitt Group plans to roll out progressive web apps built inside its brand of Cat phones to allow customers to shop within the app. “That would not have been a possibility with Shopify, it's something that we do see possible with BigCommerce and it's something we already have in development moving forward,” said Stapleton.
BigCommerce is onboard to partner with Bullitt Group in expanding its multi-storefront prowess in new and innovative ways.
“That [progressive web apps] would not have been a possibility with Shopify, it's something that we do see possible with BigCommerce and it's something we already have in development moving forward.”
Published: March 2022