Scalable Magento Enterprise Solution Opens Doors for OpenYard

Technologies: Magento Enterprise Edition

Type: Ecommerce

By September 2013, customer-driven sporting goods retailer OpenYard had seen unprecedented growth within their industry. Established upon an ecommerce platform founded on in-house solutions, the company’s success was the result of founder Justin Pfister’s tenacity for applying his IT competence and bootstrapping the company’s ecommerce solution himself.

“It had been our competitive advantage, because IT solutions have a fairly high cost to them—especially expensive to maintain, because you need an IT staff on hand,” said Pfister.

But Pfister quickly discovered that maintaining an ecommerce solution while adjusting to the changing needs of his customers—not to mention the new and growingly essential developments in the IT industry—was, while within his scope as a developer, drawing his valuable attention away from the other essential components of running his business.

“It was making OpenYard an IT company with only one customer—itself,” said Pfister. “All the time we could have been spending on customer growth and marketing—anything that was going to be positive from a business perspective—was getting sideswiped by IT development. I enjoyed it, but I needed to take the mature business route.”

Pfister set out with the goal of focusing his attention on the core of his business, which was selling sporting equipment.

Discovering Magento

His original ecommerce platform was coded from scratch without any frameworks. Since Pfister was not using any of the latest object-oriented coding standards, he found it extremely hard to maintain. It was during the process of developing a new ecommerce platform, one in which he discovered the flexibility of object-oriented coding standards, that he discovered Magento.

“I played with it, I installed it—but the decision I was making was about doing things right,” said Pfister. “And if I’m going to start using a third-party software, I want to make sure I am running it with experts I can count on.”

Pfister accessed Magento’s website in search of a service provider with the flexibility to incorporate him in the development and decision making associated with his solution. He found in OSF a provider that would respect his input and utilize his IT experience to build the solution best-suited for his business goals.

Placing Trust in OSF

  • “We were able to share and benefit from each other’s knowledge base and grow together. The experience seemed really healthy.”
    Justin PfisterFounder of OpenYard
Pfister embraced OSF and trusted them with developing the next generation of his website. “They knew what Magento sites were using,” he said. “They seemed to know all of the best-in-class solutions that would have taken two years’ time with Magento alone.”

OSF’s team consisted of one Magento developer, one front-end developer and one QA. Using Magento Enterprise Edition, the team built the layout on a responsive theme that supports multiple integrations—a very affordable alternative to a custom build. The key was implementing the right combination of Magento modules that would not interfere with each other—adding layers of functionality without creating the major conflicts that make for a buggy site.

“When I talked to the OSF developers, they had valuable industry-specific experience that we could utilize and combine with our specific experience at Openyard,” said Pfister. “We were able to share and benefit from each other’s knowledge base and grow together. The experience seemed really healthy.”

In Pfister’s estimate, he had been spending at least 60% - 70% of his time on IT. His partnership with OSF allowed him to spend more time on other crucial areas of his business, like marketing and customer service. “We’re almost all business now, as opposed to development.”

And the growth rate of traffic to the site indicates a bright future for OpenYard: “The trajectory is better. We just had our best month ever—and we’re on track to having a better month than that this month,” said Pfister. “It comes down to making good decisions, and the new site has proven itself.”

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