Discover how customizable, cost-effective and reliable
BigCommerce is and why we built it that way.
Performance metrics compare March 2022 over January 2022.
It was 2006, when brothers, twins in fact, launched Mr. Mechanic, an auto repair shop with a major focus on VW Vanagons. This shop became the first business brothers Mike and Greg Labate would start together, but it was not their last.
Twelve years later, in 2018, the entrepreneurial itch for something new got the best of Mike and Greg. That something new turned out to be Van Cafe, a company that manufactures and sells aftermarket OEM Vanagon parts and accessories out of Santa Cruz, California. It wasn’t long before the twins moved the warehouse just down the road from Mr. Mechanic in Fort Collins, Colorado and began manufacturing their own Vanagon parts and accessories.
“We manufacture a number of VW van accessories and in the process have created some of the top-selling ladders, bumpers, swing away carriers and other accessories, including the first DIY Subaru Conversion Kit on the market. And now we're getting into the roof rack and ladder industry for Sprinter vans and the larger Ford Transit and Dodge Promaster camper vans,” said Director of Sales and Marketing Ingrid Getzan.
Selling to other van companies, upfitters and everyday van enthusiasts, the Labate brothers have operated Van Cafe as a digitally native company from day one.
Exhausted with Volusion pollution
Van Cafe had been operating on an older, legacy version of Volusion. According to Ingrid, it needed quite a bit of updating and it didn’t have the capabilities the company was looking for, including one very important feature, a working integration with its ERP system, Acumatica.
“We use Acumatica for purchasing, accounting, manufacturing schedule management, and more. Literally, we use it to run pretty much our whole business. Finding an ecommerce platform that could integrate with our ERP system drove our decision for who we were going to use as our next provider. Volusion didn’t have the capabilities we needed, but BigCommerce did,” Getzan said.
"Finding an ecommerce platform that could integrate with our ERP system drove our decision for who we were going to use as our next provider. Volusion didn’t have the capabilities we needed, but BigCommerce did.”
Ingrid Getzan Director of sales and marketing, van cafe
BigCommerce + Acumatica fuels the business
Before deciding to go with BigCommerce, Van Cafe did look at Shopify and one or two lesser known platforms. “Shopify is a rather basic platform. There’s not a lot of flexibility for customization, their platform and themes are pretty outdated and the cost is expensive for what is offered. I'm really happy we went with BigCommerce,” Getzan said.
And speaking of outdated, Van Cafe had been operating on older solutions to run its business – QuickBooks and Volusion. The company evaluated its options and chose Acumatica and BigCommerce as modern platforms to power its site, and automotive aftermarket experts PC Bennett Solutions as its deployment partner and web designer.
Van Cafe launched on BigCommerce in January 2022, and having the BigCommerce Acumatica ERP connector installed made it possible for the company’s customer data, inventory, products and third-party apps to seamlessly integrate into BigCommerce. “Just the complexity of the company itself, in how we set up and operate everything with manufacturing, purchasing, inventory and ecommerce is a testament to the BigCommerce Acumatica ERP connector,” Getzan stated.
The ERP facilitates Van Cafe’s connection and engagement with its customers through third-party apps like Klaviyo for email marketing. “We are pretty sophisticated in our outreach to customers. We’re using Klaviyo to send out a lot of different flows and drip campaigns based on customer segmentation in the auto industry,” Getzan said.
ShipStation for shipping and order fulfillment, Advanced Shipping Manager for real-time shipping rates and Kit Builder for product inventory management are a few other integrations Van Cafe uses to provide its customers a more thoughtful shopping experience.
“In addition to the third-party apps we use, I do like Ads and Listings on Google. It’s an app that’s native to BigCommerce. It allows us to sync our products to Google’s Merchant Center,” Getzan said.
“Being able to do a lot of customizations on BigCommerce including promotions in our navigation area and on our product pages is just one thing we’re excited to be able to do.”
INGRID GETZAN DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING, VAN CAFE
It’s like getting 100 miles to the gallon
Van Cafe manages over 2,500 SKUs and Acumatica’s ERP being connected to BigCommerce allows the company to stay abreast of its inventory needs. “As a manufacturing company there are a lot of parts we order from vendors. The BigCommerce Acumatica ERP connector gives us a really clean look at our inventory projections and allows for the growth we are projecting,” Getzan said.
And Van Cafe’s growth is solid. In comparing April 11, 2022 performance metrics over February 11, 2022, the company has seen a 24% increase in orders, a 77% increase in AOV and a 119% increase in revenue.
Settling in for the ride
What’s on the road ahead for Van Cafe? In a word: growth. From expanding into the camper van space to the marketing that supports the overall success of the company, 2022 will be a year of intentional growth for Van Cafe.
“This year we're looking to bring our marketing really into the mix of the business. Being able to do a lot of customizations on BigCommerce including promotions in our navigation area and on our product pages is just one thing we’re excited to be able to do,” Getzan said.
Expanding its digital reach is another area of growth for Van Cafe. And this year, the company will begin to look for ways to connect Facebook, Instagram and YouTube into its ecommerce marketing and business growth strategies.
As Van Cafe road tests its ecommerce marketing on growth strategies, BigCommerce will provide the uptime, security, roadmap and power to allow the company to settle in for a long, comfortable ride to growth and success.
Published: April 2022