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Designerie Builds a Future with BigCommerce

26%88% 100%
increase in revenue

increase in average
order value (AOV)


increase in customers


Performance metrics compares Nov–Dec 2020 to Nov–Dec 2019.

Falling in love with French furniture

Brendan McCarthy, Owner and Managing Director of Designerie, first learned how to sell online when he launched a company selling party and seasonal decor. It wasn’t until he fell in love with a French brand of furniture, while completing his graduate degree in France, that he began the journey of launching his own online bistro furniture company. 

In 2016, McCarthy said au revoir to his first business and immediately started a new company focused exclusively on one brand of high-end Danish furniture, Sika Design. Shortly thereafter, the company evolved into the exclusive US distributor for a number of high-end European furniture brands. 

And like any scaling company, as they grew, they also found gaps in their online experience. This led McCarthy to rebrand the business to Designerie and launch a new online store on BigCommerce in 2019.

CHALLENGE

Missing the tools to create a premium online experience

During the early days of Designerie, the company’s sales had been very B2B focused, selling furniture to brick-and-mortar stores, online retail stores, interior designers, hospitality, and architects. But, they also sold direct-to-consumer out of their Minneapolis showroom.

When it came to the commercial side of the business, they found customers were interested in more than just one of the brands of products available. "It became quite cumbersome to have to send them links to five to ten different brand websites for them to then have to click through and then compile a list of the items they would want us to quote," said McCarthy.

The disjointed customer experience led McCarthy to begin the hunt for an ecommerce platform where customers could log in and find all of the products available for order in one place.

SOLUTION

Discovering the limitless potential of advanced native functionality

When McCarthy started his business, they initially chose Shopify to power their online store. But, as their business grew they needed an ecommerce solution that would allow B2B customers to place wholesale orders on the website and segment their customers into four different pricing groups, depending on the client pipeline and their annual purchase volume. Thus, they began the search for a new ecommerce solution.

“When we learned about BigCommerce, we were immediately swayed to migrate from Shopify. BigCommerce's B2B wholesale functionality for customer groups allows us to dictate customer specific pricing at a macro level and still offer B2B customers a B2C experience while shopping online,” said McCarthy.

As Designerie evaluated platforms, they also knew they needed a solution that was going to work best for the team. Many members had Magento Enterprise back-end experience but ultimately felt BigCommerce’s back end was a lot more intuitive and were attracted to the advanced native functionality.

Out-of-the-box advanced SEO capabilities weren’t the only feature that excited the team. The core product functionality made a big case for the switch. More specifically, being able to have full control of various product fields, especially with so many different product details, and the ability to add different categories and build brand pages automatically by default were big wins.

“When we were comparing Shopify Plus to BigCommerce, it was clear that BigCommerce’s B2B wholesale functionality was far superior and the ease of integration to our back-end systems made it much better across the board. You just simply don't find this level of native capabilities on Shopify Plus. My team has found it a lot easier to be able to build pages and build content within the BigCommerce UI compared to other platforms we've looked at,” said McCarthy.

Technical Features:

  • Inventory Management:
    • Cin7
  • Email:
    • Mailchimp
  • Shipping:
    • ShipperHQ


“BigCommerce's B2B wholesale functionality for customer groups allows us to dictate customer specific pricing at a macro level and still offer B2B customers a B2C experience while shopping online.”Brendan McCarthy, Owner and Managing Director, Designerie

“When we were comparing Shopify Plus to BigCommerce, it was clear that BigCommerce’s B2B wholesale functionality was far superior and the ease of integration to our back-end systems made it much better across the board. You just simply don't find this level of native capabilities on Shopify Plus.”Brendan McCarthy, Owner and Managing Director, Designerie
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RESULTS

Designing equally beautiful and functional online stores

Following their migration from Shopify, Designerie’s online sales accounted for the largest growth area of the company for 2020, and they don’t plan on slowing down in 2021.

“Being on BigCommerce has allowed us to have a very stable back-end system. We no longer have to worry about hosting. We don't have to worry about a lot of code changes happening or downtime. It is a platform that the developers we work with are very familiar and comfortable with. We can make a lot of customization changes to almost every aspect of pages, checkout experience, and more,” shares McCarthy.

Since switching to BigCommerce, the company has begun leveraging more content to create as much of a brick-and-mortar experience as possible for online shoppers. Since their products can range anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, they are cognizant of the fact that their customers are likely making purchasing decisions without ever having seen or touched the furniture. 

As the team continues to optimize their BigCommerce store, they are committed to delivering an online experience that not only makes their customers feel comfortable about committing to such a large purchase, but actually getting them to convert.

So, what was previously a lacking customer experience is now a seamless win. BigCommerce’s advanced native functionality has allowed the team to offer its B2B and B2C customers the best shopping experience and prices. This, in turn, saves McCarthy’s team a lot of time by reducing the need for customers to call in and shop on the phone and for the Designerie team to send information back and forth in countless emails.

Soon after its launch, Designerie began leveraging BigCommerce partner, ShipperHQ, to navigate some very real shipping challenges, which enabled the company to build more complex shipping logic for differentiating shipping rules for both its B2C customers and B2B environment.

And, as the company saw record-breaking growth, the team anticipates many consumers will still spend a lot of time at home and will continue to buy furniture.

“We see BigCommerce really being the partner for us as the company grows. The platform gives us a lot of flexibility and as the business evolves, and perhaps different needs change, BigCommerce is able to adapt with us as opposed to us needing to consider re-platforming because something has changed within the business” McCarthy stated.

“Being on BigCommerce has allowed us to have a very stable back-end system. We no longer have to worry about hosting. We don't have to worry about a lot of code changes happening or downtime.”Brendan McCarthy, Owner and Managing Director, Designerie




“The platform gives us a lot of flexibility and as the business evolves, and perhaps different needs change, BigCommerce is able to adapt with us as opposed to us needing to consider re-platforming because something has changed within the business.”Brendan McCarthy, Owner and Managing Director, Designerie

LOOKING AHEAD

Investing in digital solutions and customer experience

Like many, Designerie was impacted in many ways by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. While they grew sales immensely, they also lost their main source of B2B lead generation: trade shows across the United States and Europe. Having no fear, McCarthy and team quickly leveraged their BigCommerce functionality to bring the offline brand experience online.

“I've still wanted to be able to present new products that we're launching in this new virtual world. We have been able to leverage presenting all of the different brands we carry with Zoom presentations, followed by a custom landing page that we can then distribute to those who attended the presentation in a MailChimp email. We've seen wonderful engagement with people clicking through and visiting these custom landing pages we built post-Zoom presentation calls,” shares McCarthy.

Going forward, Designerie plans to grow its product offering and enhance website functionality, by upgrading its ERP system. This could very well be a massive undertaking, but McCarthy and team aren’t worried thanks to BigCommerce’s existing integrations with all of the leading ERPs.

Additionally, thanks to the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) connections from its systems into BigCommerce’s back-end system, Designerie experienced significant growth in its B2B online channels. The company saw high growth in sales with partners such as Williams-Sonoma Group’s PotteryBarn, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma Home, and other leading home furniture brands like Wayfair and One Kings Lane. This became a strong business case for Designerie to invest significantly in online sales throughout 2021.


Published: April 2021

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