Established back in 1983, Black Sheep Wools is the largest knitting and stitching shop in the UK. Loved by knitters all over the World, this family business has a fabulous reputation and sits at the heart of the UK’s knitting and needlecraft scene.
They also operate an eCommerce site which is a key sales channel for the business. Using the Magento platform, it was becoming increasingly expensive to run and maintain, and traffic was stagnating. We were tasked with moving the site from the Magento platform to Shopify, to reduce operating costs, and to help to reverse the decline in traffic.
What We Did
Magento To Shopify Migration
Custom Shopify Design
Implementation of Digital Downloads
A Colourful Coat For The Black Sheep
One of the best parts of the project was the chance to give the site a total design overhaul. Black Sheep gave us a fantastic open brief which meant we only had to keep their logo as a starting point. In response, we’ve progressed the site by creating a modern, colourful design which uses lots of lovely product photography throughout. The new site features a flexible new colour palette, complementary font choices, and lots of white space to give all of the elements space to breathe.
Moving the site to Shopify from Magento didn’t come without a few challenges. The old site had been live for a number of years and that meant a lot of products, data and content to migrate.
One of the biggest challenges we faced was moving all of the product data. There were over 20,000 products on the site, and all of them had to be imported, tagged and re-categorised on the new site. Black Sheep Wools use Linnworks for order and inventory management, so we wrote a custom integration to handle the data transfer between the two.
The standard Linnworks App only has limited features and doesn’t handle product descriptions, category information etc… We created a custom integration using both Linnworks and Shopify APIs that allowed for the transfer of all product data between the two platforms. This means that Shopify product listings can be updated by the client directly from Linnworks.
Although the previous site wasn’t performing as well as required in the Google rankings, it was still well established and indexed. It was absolutely vital that the new site launch didn’t have a further negative impact. We put together a comprehensive plan to help Google to quickly re-index the site, generated thousands of 301 redirects for products, collections and blog content.
Digital Downloads With SendOwl
Black Sheep have over 1,000 knitting patterns for sale as digital downloads. Shopify doesn’t offer digital downloads as standard, so we used the SendOwl App to handle the downloads, and hosted the files on an external server. This was robust enough to handle the large number of PDF downloads, and also worked out significantly cheaper than using SendOwl’s standard offering.
A large percentage of Black Sheep’s traffic comes from mobile and tablet devices so we spent a lot of time ensuring that the site worked as well on smart phones as it does on desktop computers. We paid special attention to key areas of the buying process such as the product detail page, and the user interface of the mobile product filters on listings pages. Every detail was considered. The result is a site that encourages browsing and exploration, whilst making purchasing quick and easy for customers.