Sorority Specialties is a husband-and-wife run company that has been in business for over 20 years selling licensed sorority merchandise to selected national sororities.
The founder, Lewis Dawes, started the company with a retail store at the UCLA campus after graduating from the University of Maryland, where he was an Alpha Epsilon Pi. Several years later with the birth of the internet, they closed the retail store and have been online ever since.
Lewis was looking for an alternative to Magento that had a lower total cost of ownership, and could also give him the capacity for self-management over day-to-day operations, logistics, and reporting. After doing extensive research, he determined that a SaaS platform would best suit his business needs. Due to the user-friendly navigation and back-end, Lewis ultimately decided that replatforming from Magento Open Source (formerly Community Edition) to BigCommerce would help him meet his new goals.
However, switching platforms would mean his multi-website structure, inventory management system, and custom reporting capabilities would no longer be available as native features. Still, Lewis wanted the self-sufficiency benefits of BigCommerce while maintaining the Magento features that supported his core operations. So, he turned to atmosol.
“I knew I had to leave Magento for a SaaS platform, and I wanted an agency that specializes in eCommerce.” – Lewis Dawes
As a dedicated eCommerce agency with certified BigCommerce developers, Lewis commissioned the atmosol team to build a custom solution that would bridge the feature gap.
- Replatform 6 stores from Magento Open Source (formerly CE) to 1 BigCommerce store.
- Create custom category pages for each sorority with self-manageable branding elements.
- Implement a solution for third-party fulfillment integration and custom reporting by creating a private web application to communicate with the BigCommerce stores using webhooks and APIs.
In order to make BigCommerce replicate Magento’s multi-website features, atmosol developed custom product pages for Sorority Specialties in lieu of having to manage 6 separate websites. Each product page had customized branding elements for logos and color schemes that could be updated through the BigCommerce admin panel. This allowed Lewis, or any assigned administrator, to make stylistic changes themselves.
Additionally, atmosol developed a custom private web app that would show the relevant data of the Sorority Specialties store when logged into. Then, the web app attached webhooks (using the BigCommerce Webhook API), to alert assigned administrators when a product or order changed. If the web app found a created or changed product, it would reach out, using the APIs to pull in data and store it internally. The app also processed custom product fields to make them easier to report. Lewis and other assigned administrators could go to the private web app to view and export reports from the stored data, which could be filtered by order, date, or sorority.
atmosol also created a custom integration for the third-party logistics fulfillment center. With orders that included bulk pricing discounts, products got put into a holding pattern which notified the store administrator upon being placed. From there, the administrator could decide whether to send the order to the third-party fulfillment company or to handle the order manually.
Alerts were kept up-to-date using a process to scan and sort the order list every 30 minutes. If an order included items with bulk pricing discounts, it set the order status to “On-Hold”, and the administrator received an email notification.
Another algorithm ran every 30 minutes to check if shipment information attached to all “Sent Orders”. If the order included shipment information, the process would pull it into the private app data, store it, generate a shipment associated with the original order, and attach tracking information from the third-party fulfillment company. For orders needing special attention, the web app gave tables to display orders, sync status, and manual attention orders, including bulk orders and orders that had an error when syncing.