Interview: ShoeBacca.com

Interview with ShoeBacca.com

“ We were really attracted to the feature rich administration panel and Ajax product display [in Magento] ... This is clearly THE cutting edge shopping cart system available. To sum it up in one word IMPRESSIVE. ”

John Brenner, Focus Media LLC

Tell us a bit about yourself and ShoeBacca.com?

I formed Focus Media LLC about a year ago as a boutique development and SEO company. During that process, I was introduced to the owners of ShoeBacca.com as they had a substantial eBay presence but no web property of their own. We wanted to deliver a really fun different type of site with extremely cool advanced features. That led us to Magento.

What technologies are currently implemented / integrated in the frontend and behind-the-scenes?

First and foremost, I would like to give a huge thanks to Amanda Nelson from 7 Design Group for her amazing design. From the front-end the only additional technology is Adobe’s Scene7 image viewer. For the backend, we have employed Joomla for additional CMS control, and ServiceObjects for AMAZING address validation and address correction.

Why did you choose Magento for the project?

We were really attracted to the feature rich administration panel and Ajax product display. The closer for me personally was the seamless one page checkout which I love.

What other solutions did you consider and/or evaluate?

We looked at ZenCart as an alternative but found it lacking in too many areas. The only other option we considered was building our own shopping cart with virtually no features.

What are your plans for the future with the site?

Foremost is product development, throughout the beta process we will be adding youth products and apparel. We will also be taking advantage of the promotional capabilities in Magento. Lastly and most importantly, we will be running huge promotions and giving away a lot of shoes!

Any recommendations for people evaluating Magento?

As this site [ShoeBacca.com] is enterprise level, we are running 2 web servers with load balancing and a separate DB server. We saw tremendous increases in page load times when we moved the DB to a dedicated server. Of course anything you can do to increase caching is great.

Any final words of wisdom?

I would like to thank the entire Magento team for the hard work you all have done. This is clearly the cutting edge shopping cart system available. To sum it up in one word IMPRESSIVE. I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by a wonderful team of developers and designers and that is always the recipe for success!

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User Comments

|22 comments
  1. rvelton

    1rvelton |posted January 10 2008

    Dang that site is incredibly slow. I really hope Magento can get these problems fixed. Even on my test site the load times are not ideal.

  2. RoyRubin

    2RoyRubin from Los Angeles, CA|posted January 10 2008

    We actually have not noticed an issue with speed in this case. It runs very fast for us.

  3. Ron Seigel

    3Ron Seigel from Ottawa, ON|posted January 10 2008

    Runs plenty fast from here too. Some people just need something to complain about I guess… rolleyes

  4. Josue4ever

    4Josue4ever from Mexico DF|posted January 10 2008

    Very nice design… And even when magento is still beta

  5. warren

    5warren |posted January 10 2008

    "We saw tremendous increases in page load times when we moved the DB to a dedicated server. Of course anything you can do to increase caching is great.”

    You mean the site got significantly slower when you moved the DB to a dedicated server

    increased page load times

    ...or…

    you got a performance boost when you moved it to a dedicated server

    decreased page load times

  6. warren

    6warren |posted January 10 2008

    Speed is ok here in the UK, but the inital site loading is still a little slow;

    I had a peek at the source and see that the css and js is still in multiple files and uncompressed. I would like to think that a significant performance boost will be had if the css and js files could be reduced to one each and each compressed.

    Roy, is this somthing that could be handled directly by magento with a referesh and repack option in the back end. Reducing the number of open threads to the server could help quite a bit.

  7. RoyRubin

    7RoyRubin from Los Angeles, CA|posted January 10 2008

    @warren - We are working on a lighter interface package which will be optimized. This is in addition to working on improving the performance.

  8. afmaury

    8afmaury |posted January 10 2008

    John mentioned a number of technologies that are used here. How far beyond Magento’s capabilities do these other technologies go? I am specifically interested in regards to how they are using Joomla, NetSuite, and Channel Advisor.

  9. Daniel Nitz

    9Daniel Nitz from Mainz, Germany|posted January 11 2008

    "I am specifically interested in regards to how they are using Joomla, NetSuite, and Channel Advisor.”

    Ya, I would like to know that too.

  10. bacca

    10bacca |posted January 11 2008

    Hi everyone,
    Thank you for your responses.

    As far as the page load times.
    The load much faster with the dedicated DB server. Sorry for the confusion.

    We decided to use Joomla for much of the SEO content on the site.
    http://www.shoebacca.com/resources/
    As well as “base” content such as contact us, etc.
    We felt this would allow a simple way of letting our copywriters and some other staff have access to edit pages on the fly.

    Netsuite is handling the pricing, products descriptions and CRM. Once an order has been completed, all transactional emails, order fulfillment etc, come from NetSuite.
    We have set cronjobs to push NS data to the Magento tables and Order Info to NS.

    Channel Advisor handles the inventory control as we distrubute products on several channels.

    I hope this answers your questions.

  11. afmaury

    11afmaury |posted January 11 2008

    I had a pretty good idea of what those other services are used for - although I am a little unsure of what Channel Advisor does that NetSuite couldn’t do.

    I was more interested to know how much more those things do than Magento currently has built in. I don’t know much about those other technologies other than what the do. Do they provide many more features than Magento? What I am getting at really is: how necessary is it to add other technologies to Magento?

  12. bacca

    12bacca |posted January 11 2008

    I think that would be a better question for Roy.
    In our case, we were already using those technolgies when we picked magento.

    As far as Channel Advisor goes, although NetSuite is an extremely robust CRM, it’s management of the EBay channel did not fulfill our needs.

  13. RoyRubin

    13RoyRubin from Los Angeles, CA|posted January 11 2008

    @afmaury - The integrated applications that ShoeBacca.com is using complement Magento and serve different functions of the business process.

  14. afmaury

    14afmaury |posted January 11 2008

    I understand they complement Magento, but Magento has some kind of CMS, inventory tracking, order fulfillment, etc built in already. Would you say that these complementing technologies are necessary for what ShoeBacca or another site is doing? Or would Magento handle much of this alone?

  15. RoyRubin

    15RoyRubin from Los Angeles, CA|posted January 11 2008

    @afmaury - Is it necessary? For some business it is and for some it is not. It really depends on your volume and business process. The applications that ShoeBacca.com has chosen to integrate provide additional functionality beyond what Magento is able to offer out of the box.

  16. afmaury

    16afmaury |posted January 12 2008

    I understand that it will vary for each business and that these applications provide additional functions. I am trying to understand more about how far beyond Magento’s capabilities these go.

    I have tested out Magento a bit just recently, and am very impressed with both the front and back end. However, I don’t know much about the capabilities of some of those other technologies, and therefore don’t know what may be missing/lacking in Magento.

    I don’t expect Magento to do absolutely everything but would like to know where it may need other applications’ assistance.

  17. andwhite1

    17andwhite1 |posted January 14 2008

    Great beta site.  I know you know this already but your back button is broken.  Drill down and refine to a group of shows using the left menu.  Pick a shoe and view it.  Hit the browser back button.  All the menu refinements are gone. or even weirder, sometimes I end up on an older set of refinements.

    As you are using http://www.endless.com as a guide, you will see that the above scenario doesn’t occur on their site.

    I think your solution was the continue shopping button at the top, but that is pretty cluncky and non-user friendly. Great site so far though…

  18. Ron Seigel

    18Ron Seigel from Ottawa, ON|posted January 14 2008

    Ouch! Looks like they used endless as more than just a “guide”. Some stuff was copied pretty much exactly.

  19. Tony

    19Tony from Seattle, WA|posted January 18 2008

    @bacca = There was a comment that you made regarding how you were integrating NS and Magento together. I’m currently in talks with a company that is a manufacture so this is very relevant to me. You had made mention that:

    “Netsuite is handling the pricing, products descriptions and CRM. Once an order has been completed, all transactional emails, order fulfillment etc, come from NetSuite.
    We have set cronjobs to push NS data to the Magento tables and Order Info to NS.”

    I’m curious to know what data where you pushing back and forth exactly and did this process cause any duplicate efforts or did it streamline the process. Currently the company I’m in talks with has their shopping cart set up with OSCommerce and they have to manually input the orders in from the emails they receive.

    How much work did it take to integrate the two together (or actually three)? Was is relatively easy or was it complex with a lot of bashing your head against the screen?

    Thanks!

  20. pilch

    20pilch from Westcountry, UK|posted August 20 2008

    @Tony & @bacca.

    How are things working out 8 months down the line and going back to what Tony mentioned, I too would love to know more about the intricacies involved with offsetting using Magento with NS etc.

    Regards,

    Rich.

  21. becca05

    21becca05 |posted September 22 2008

    Im also interested about the last comment - if you had to develop again would you go with magento - same developers etc?

  22. Rick Watson

    22Rick Watson |posted February 9 2009

    Hi this is Rick from ChannelAdvisor.  We have quite a number of Netsuite customers that also use our products, there is a standard integration between our two products already pre-built.

    Primarily these customers are using one of the following offerings from CA:
    eBay, Amazon.com, Buy.com, Overstock, 70+ comparison shopping engines, and/or paid search management.

    Netsuite doesn’t really cover these areas.

    Feel free to reach out if you’d like more info.


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