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Solo Stove launched on BigCommerce
Revenue for Solo Brands Inc.
IPO NYSE: DTC
Ecommerce in 2010 would be almost unrecognizable to the modern consumer. In an era before custom content management systems (CSM) and product and inventory management (PIM) solutions, there was a simple one-page website — specifically, a form for your very own Solo Stove.
That’s how Jeff and Spencer Jan first took orders for their outdoor cooking product, Solo Stove, in 2010. A simple form fill would lead them to call a customer back to complete the order over the phone. Of course, 12 years later and they’re doing business a bit differently.
With almost 350 employees and multiple warehouses and fulfillment centers, Solo Stove has transformed into a thriving enterprise company, selling directly to customers across the US, Canada and Europe.
Since we first checked in with them in 2018, the company has grown by leaps and bounds, while still continuously making improvements to its customer experience — and using BigCommerce as the technological foundation for its growth.
Global expansion sparks need for greater customization
When Solo Stove first began its search for an ecommerce platform, the company quickly landed on BigCommerce for its ease of use and out-of-the box features. So easy in fact, that with limited knowledge of web design, John Merris, CEO of Solo Stove, was able to build product and category pages to launch a new product.
“I've always been a fan of BigCommerce,” said John. “The platform strikes the perfect balance of simple, customizable and scalable. And when I say simple, what I mean is, it provides the tools my team needs to respond to customer demands — unlike some platforms that either confine you to a box or are so complex they break easily. Thanks to BigCommerce, we scaled our business from our very first order to now an enterprise brand, and the platform is able to grow with us as we need it to.”
Today, Solo Stove’s vast inventory and warehouse system consists of three warehouses in the U.S., one in Canada, one in Europe, and a soon-to-open warehouse in Australia. “At the end of 2018, we decided to open a warehouse to do all of our own fulfillment — which ended up being a massive differentiator that not only enabled us to provide a better experience for our customers by delivering the product faster and more accurately, but we could also do it more affordably,” John said.
As Solo Stove scaled its global operations, the need for customization became even more apparent. This led the company to a headless commerce solution in which the front-end presentation layer of the website is decoupled from the back-end commerce platform.
"Thanks to BigCommerce, we scaled our business from our very first order to now an enterprise brand, and the platform is able to grow with us as we need it to.”
Headless commerce ignites a better customer experience
“We initially went headless with our Europe website because we needed to transact in different currencies and display translations,” explained Joe Bagazinski, Senior Website Product Manager at Solo Stove. “The headless storefront that we were able to spin up was extremely customizable, but still had the back-end familiarity of BigCommerce.”
And with the success of its European site, the company is now transitioning its US site to headless. “We’re trying to do a lot of more advanced things that we believe the customers would really enjoy, like a delivery expectation on the product page,” explains Joe. “So as we implement the US headless site, it’ll be the same process, where we won’t need to train on new systems, and we’ll be able to optimize the front-end experience without needing to change anything on the back-end.”
Down the road, Solo Stove has plans to take advantage of BigCommerce Multi-Storefront. “Because you can have a headless store and a Stencil store managed through one BigCommerce dashboard, Multi-Storefront allows us to spin up a site quickly and take advantage of new growth opportunities,” said Joe.
Using omnichannel tools available from BigCommerce, the company has been able to expand its digital footprint as well, selling and advertising across social media and marketplace channels.
For social commerce, Solo Stove uses the BigCommerce native Meta (Instagram and Facebook) integration. The brand is also venturing into new territory, setting up the BigCommerce TikTok integration, and are already impressed. “That integration was really simple to set up and launch,” Joe commented.
When it comes to marketplaces, Solo Stove is finding success using Amazon, eBay, and Walmart. But, managing all that product data would be nearly impossible without a robust product information management (PIM) system. Solo Stove uses Jasper, a BigCommerce partner, to centralize product data, localize product descriptions and support multiple currencies on their different stores across the world — and across sales channels.
Making products available wherever shoppers are is only one piece of the puzzle. Solo Stove also leverages several BigCommerce apps to improve customer experience — like Narvar for shipping and returns.
“With Narvar, we are able to offer customers the ability to initiate their own returns. Order data is passed through APIs to Narvar so that customers can generate their own shipping labels and use a QR code to find the nearest UPS drop-off location,” explained Joe. “Adding this service has been a really good value add for customers, as well as our customer service department.”
Another app that’s having a big impact is Dynamic Yield — which Solo Stove uses for personalization and A/B testing. “Personalization is really important, and as we get more customer data, the more we can tailor the shopping experience for each customer,” stated Joe.
“The headless storefront that we were able to spin up was extremely customizable, but still had the back-end familiarity of BigCommerce.”
Dynamic Yield, a personalization technology stack that helps marketers automatically personalize each customer interaction across the web.
Yotpo, reviews, referrals and user generated content brought to your site with ease.
Klaviyio, a communication tool that allows users to deliver experiences across email, SMS and more.
Narvar, which allows companies to deliver engaging, on-brand shipment tracking communications and messaging.
“Because you can have a headless store and a Stencil store managed through one BigCommerce dashboard, Multi-Storefront allows us to spin up a site quickly and take advantage of new growth opportunities.”
“When I started and we were a $30 million company, BigCommerce was the right solution for us. Now that we are a $300 million dollar company, BigCommerce is still the right solution for us — and I feel like the support has only gotten better.”
From a small spark to a blazing enterprise business
Solo Stove has grown immensely since we last checked in in 2018, thanks to their innovation, ambition, suite of products and the technological foundation laid out by BigCommerce. The brand has seen increases across revenue, conversion rates, traffic and orders.
“When I started and we were a $30 million company, BigCommerce was the right solution for us,” said Joe. “Now that we are a $300 million dollar company, BigCommerce is still the right solution for us — and I feel like the support has only gotten better.”
Adding fuel to the fire with BigCommerce
What does the future look like for Solo Stove? One word: growth. With a continued focus on international expansion and new brands, the team plans to continue expanding, whether it’s internationally, on social channels, marketplaces or in retail stores.
But of course, Solo Stove won’t forget its direct-to-consumer roots. As the company looks to the future, digital commerce is going to continue to be important — and BigCommerce will be right there to help facilitate that growth.
“While we were innovating, BigCommerce was innovating with us,” John explained. “For Solo Stove, BigCommerce has been a trusted partner that's helped us to scale and drive enterprise-level digital commerce, allowing us to do exactly what we are passionate about — reconnecting to what matters most and putting good moments and lasting memories in the lives of millions of people.
“For Solo Stove, BigCommerce has been a trusted partner that's helped us to scale and drive enterprise-level digital commerce."
Published: September 2022