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Ideal Drape Makers hits Shopify Ceiling

How a home and garden retailer saw a 41% increase in growth by switching to BigCommerce


41% 318% 57,950
increase in revenue increase in conversion rateSKUs (and growing)
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The Ideal Drape Makers success story

Ideal Drape Makers occupies an industry that's still locked in the early 1990s. Many of their competitors have been slow to take up new technology. They might have platforms and systems for inventory management and sales, but beyond that, not much has changed in the fabric distribution and retail world in the last 20 years.

When an unexpected death spurred the family to rally around a loved one’s business and take it to new levels, Ideal Drape Makers quickly became one of the largest online fabric resellers on the planet.

With only half a dozen employees and hardly a dime to their budget, this small family business went through every trial possible to find an ecommerce solution that fit their unique needs and rapidly scaling growth. 

After months of frustration and wasted dollars on Shopify, Nancy Vamvakas put stock in BigCommerce and hasn’t looked back since.


I like having a single platform where you have all of the features already built in that you need and a single support point of contact. Nancy Vamvakas, Owner of Ideal Drape Makers.

Wix and Shopify are missing vital ecommerce features

As told to BigCommerce by Nancy Vamvakas, Owner of Ideal Drape Makers.

In the early days, all we had was a static Wix website. We were getting about 300 visitors to it a month, which is nothing. Plus, all we had it attached to was an email. There was no ecommerce component at all.

To solve for that, we started with Shopify. I was only on there for about two months. That’s how long it took me to play around with it, learn it and then discover, after I was already paying, that it wasn’t going to do what I needed it to.

Shopify was missing vital features and functionality that honestly just come out-of-the-box with BigCommerce.


Out-of-the-box faceted search for 60,000 products

As told to BigCommerce by Nancy Vamvakas, Owner of Ideal Drape Makers.

One of the big reasons I was sold on BigCommerce after I grew frustrated with Shopify was the faceted search feature. That is what really makes our ecommerce site work. We have close to 60,000 products listed at the moment on BigCommerce –– and in the next several months, we’ll continue onboarding fabrics and hope to break the 100,000 product mark.

The advantage of our BigCommerce site is that customers can just come to this one webstore, compare the products between 50 to 60 brands, and just plain and simple slice and dice their selections using the faceted search feature. Without that, our site just wouldn't be a shop worth going to. With fabric selection the customer expect sites to do the heavy-lifting for them, and BigCommerce delivers that for us.

The fact that BigCommerce’s faceted search dynamically and automatically updates on the fly makes it just that much better and enables a truly great visitor experience. Shopify really doesn’t have anything like that –– at least not out-of-the-box.

When a customer is trying to search through a product catalog of 60,000 fabrics, using that faceted filtering technology, where you get a dynamic real-time filtering to narrow down fabric selections, is just really powerful stuff.

Learn more about faceted search


The real BigCommerce vs. Shopify difference

As told to BigCommerce by Nancy Vamvakas, Owner of Ideal Drape Makers.

That’s the other thing with Shopify –– they run a slightly different business model in comparison to BigCommerce.

I was first attracted to Shopify because on the surface, it looks to be really cheap. But by the time you add on all the widgets from their marketplace that you need, it becomes much more expensive than BigCommerce ever is.

For me, I like having a single platform where you have all of the features already built in that you need and a single support point of contact. Then you can add on marketing tools from the marketplace.


Shopify was missing vital features and functionality that honestly just come out-of-the-box with BigCommerce. Nancy Vamvakas, Owner of Ideal Drape Makers.
The fact that BigCommerce’s faceted search dynamically and automatically updates on the fly makes it just that much better and enables a truly great visitor experience. Shopify really doesn’t have anything like that –– at least not out-of-the-box. Nancy Vamvakas, Owner of Ideal Drape Makers.
Ideal Drape Makers Mid

Powerful segmentation and personalization enables massive increase in conversion

41% 318% 57,950
increase in revenue increase in conversion rateSKUs (and growing)

Segmented coupons and discounts for B2C and B2B customers


As told to BigCommerce by Nancy Vamvakas, Owner of Ideal Drape Makers.

We use BigCommerce’s JustUno plugin for our banner advertising and our popups. We run a promotion where every month we'll have set discounts via coupons and cart-level discounts. Those are out-of-the-box, too, with BigCommerce and very easy to implement.

We offer quantity discounts for just about everyone using the cart-level discounts on the back end, and we use Customer Groups to set up various discounts for different groups of customers. That's been working very successfully.

For instance, for our trade customers that are wanting a consistent discount without having to shop around or browse the site, we put them in a specific customer group that shows their personalized discount for their products — only to them. They just have to log in to see those, rather than browse as a guest.


Bootstrapping a CRM with Zapier and BigCommerce

As told to BigCommerce by Nancy Vamvakas, Owner of Ideal Drape Makers.

We're still very much in startup mode and integrations with Zapier and BigCommerce have been budget and time savers.

It was important for us from day one to use Zapier and get a good CRM process. It is one thing to have a popular website, but if you don't have the support infrastructure behind it, you're pretty much sunk.

We use PipeDrive as our CRM of record. When a customer comes in to BigCommerce, the API integration with Zapier pushes that information to PipeDrive –– which allows us to build out a sales pipeline. The main source of our leads is BigCommerce, which is why the Zapier and the API integration is so important.

See how Zapier powers hundreds of BigCommerce integrations


Automatic geo-currency display for 20+ international regions

As told to BigCommerce by Nancy Vamvakas, Owner of Ideal Drape Makers.

One of the automatic features from BigCommerce that I love is that depending on which country you come in from, the site will show you product prices in your own currency.

I've got probably 20 currencies active at the moment –– which means that’s 20 regions or countries that can just surf in and see exactly how much fabric is going to cost in their own currency.

This is something that BigCommerce just does natively, whereas with Shopify you've got to pay to make that happen. You can get one of the plugins, but it is going to cost you $30 a month just to have that automatic geo-currency display. That’s just one example.


SMS notifications for sales reps and customers lead to ‘Best of HOUZZ’ award 2 years running

As told to BigCommerce by Nancy Vamvakas, Owner of Ideal Drape Makers.

As soon as I assign a deal to one of our sales reps, the Zapier sync with BigCommerce makes sure that rep gets an SMS message telling them there's a new deal waiting on their attention. And, the customer gets an acknowledgement via SMS that we've received their order, and have started to process it.

As the deal moves forward, we have various Zapier and BigCommerce syncs to make sure the customer gets SMS updates or emails to them informing them of where their order is in the process.

We also use Slack as a visual notification system. That’s where I can make sure everything is triggering correctly.

The integrations with Zapier and BigCommerce aren’t only about saving time. They are also so important because they give us a consistency in the way our processes work so that we're able to communicate to the customer throughout the sales cycle and keep them informed every step of the way.

According to some of the reviews we've been getting, that part of the process is incredibly valuable to our customers. It’s how we’ve earned the ‘BEST OF HOUZZ’ Service award for the last two years running.


Why Ideal Drapes would recommend BigCommerce

As told to BigCommerce by Nancy Vamvakas, Owner of Ideal Drape Makers.

For people starting out, my advice is that when people say ecommerce isn’t for the faint-hearted –– well that’s wrong. If you are somebody with moderate IT experience who's capable of creating a Wix site and who has a great product or service, then ecommerce is worth the investment in terms of time and money.

Truth is, you only need moderate IT skills to launch a BigCommerce store. It’s really pretty easy. Plus, there are a ton of great resources on support.bigcommerce.com.

Most importantly and what I value highly, is the 24/7 ability to just pick up a phone and talk to the support team. They are really terrific guys. It’s always a 5-minute phone call and I get everything I need. The BigCommerce support team is invaluable as we continue on our ecommerce journey.


One of the automatic features from BigCommerce that I love is that depending on which country you come in from, the site will show you product prices in your own currency. Nancy Vamvakas, Owner of Ideal Drape Makers.

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