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Case Study: How a 33-year old hat company built a fast, SEO-friendly Magento site in less than 2 weeks

How Otto built a new Magento site in just 14 days

Otto International

Otto International is a wholesale cap & apparel company – their site features hundreds of items and offers customizations including private label service. The website generates around 30% of their sales.  But after 33 years in business and 10 years using the same website, Otto was ready for something new.

The Situation

Ottocap.com’s speed and structural SEO capabilities were lagging contemporary standards. The team decided to move to Magento from the decade-old custom solution. Since stock Magento is designed for B2C e-commerce with simple shipping and pricing structures, the transition would be more than just a quick theming job.  Otto is primarily B2B, integrates with an enterprise-level ERP, and has complex pricing and shipping formulas.  

The Solution

Vice President Jennifer Lee knew “We needed the new site to launch right away” and the first step was to find partners that could make it happen. An Otto team member recommended eBoundHost for consideration based on past experience. After the IT department interviewed multiple hosts including eBoundHost, Otto selected us for the Magento server environment and optimization.

Otto had an existing relationship with the development agency FAYA Corporation. Because of the urgent need to upgrade, FAYA suggested a 2-week development timeline – fast by most standards – and the project got started.

Development speed and reliability were top priorities – Lee said “The Magento site itself needs to have a good developer that can handle our requests quickly, and also make sure the site is working properly.”

A proper server environment (with regard to both technical and business goals) is critical to every development process, doubly so when the site is meant to be done in 14 days. eBoundHost configured and deployed the staging, development and production servers in parallel, within a matter of minutes of receiving and confirming the specifications from the dev team.

As development proceeded, and after launch, eBoundHost actively managed the environment (including monitoring, backups, optimization, updates, patching, security, and version control) to forestall problems and keep the site running smoothly. By locking in requirements and staying on top of the environment, we gave FAYA the tools to do what they do best – write code quickly.

Otto itself added the final ingredient – close and attentive client involvement. Otto didn’t just ask for a quick turnaround, but committed to it internally as well; Lee said “there was a lot of testing on our end, they actually finished faster [than 2 weeks] because we were testing to make sure everything was OK.”

The site – including a complex shipping algorithm and customized pricing models was ready to go live in an eye-popping 14 days.

The Results

Even though the development went at a blistering pace, haste didn’t make waste: “Once FAYA put up the website, and it was hosted on eBoundHost, everything went smoothly!” There have been “no hiccups” since launching, and Otto has “…seen some increases month-to-month in terms of search appearance, clicks, and account sign-ups.” The transition was “better than what we expected. Linking to our ERP system worked well, everything was good for us.”

Otto has a few pieces of advice for site owners who might want to emulate their 2-week revamp: “With a good hosting company, make sure [your] website will never go down. …Magento site itself needs to have a good developer that can handle [your] requests quickly and also make sure the site is working properly” And don’t neglect “Raw performance – speed is probably #1 for most of the online users nowadays.”

Conclusion

the eBoundHost team is proud to have been part of the this impressively fast and smooth transition. Where a typical Magento project can take hundreds of developer hours, Otto’s blazing-fast process holds some key lessons if you’re planning a new Magento site of your own:

  • Start with clear, specific requirements and goals for the site
    • Otto sought to have a fast, SEO-friendly site that supported specific customizations and integrations that were already clearly defined.
  • Find a highly capable developer
    • From past experience, Otto could be confident that FAYA was up to the task. If you choose an unknown developer based solely on lowball estimates, you might get even less than you pay for.  Ask your hosting company for a recommendation if need be.
  • Find a reliable, fast host
    • Otto IT vetted several hosting companies to find one that could be relied upon to deliver speed and uptime.  In today’s hosting market, big names aren’t a magic bullet and it pays to do your homework.
  • Have a knowledgeable resource own the project
    • Otto has technical team members to guide the project and provide feedback.  If you don’t have technical expertise in-house, find a developer that you can rely on, or a sysadmin that can bring these skills to the table.
  • Stay engaged and test thoroughly
    • Otto worked tightly with FAYA to quickly test functionality and give feedback to the development team. The faster you respond to your developer and evaluate choices, the faster the project goes.

Otto continues to add features and develop the site, and with no major issues so far, their transition to a modern platform is a great example of how Magento development can be.




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