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Finding a scalable, headless commerce alternative to Shopify Plus
Chilly's — a lifestyle brand serving over 30 markets worldwide — was growing rapidly and struggling with Shopify Plus’ inherent limitations when it comes to selling internationally. Their web design and development agency, Rotate°, needed an alternative ecommerce platform flexible enough to support Chilly’s exponential, global growth.
A super-flexible and reliable stack
Our partner agency Rotate° provided a software stack featuring Commerce Layer’s multi-market, multi-currency headless commerce platform and DatoCMS’s headless CMS. This enabled Chilly’s to easily sell products in various local currencies and languages, scale up in terms of volumes and markets, have creative freedom with their website design, and offer customized products.
Multi-market and multi-currency headless commerce platform, used to handle all transactional functionalities and order management.
User-friendly headless CMS, used to manage all content and build dynamic pages for new customers based on their acquisition path and purchase intent.
Cloud platform for static sites and serverless functions, used to optimize the entire development and deployment experience.
Open-source Vue.js-based framework that provides multiple different rendering modes, used to generate the static website through incremental builds.
A single, unified, future-proof hub for global commerce
Thanks to Commerce Layer’s multi-market and multi-currency features and API-first nature, Chilly's can now manage their ecommerce from a single, centralized hub and sell their bottles wherever they want, without having to worry about how large and how fast their business will grow in the future.
What we have delivered
- Multi-market management from a single account
No more store duplication and synchronization struggles. Global commerce features out-of-the-box, handled from a centralized hub.
- Performance and conversion rate improvements
Optimized user experience and improved performance thanks to decoupling backend commerce functionalities from frontend design.
- Endless flexibility, scalability, and design creativity
Perfect integration in a fully decoupled, serverless Jamstack architecture, enabling future-proof flexibility, endless scalability, and full design creativity.
- Seamless commerce platform migration
Rapid and seamless replatforming from Shopify Plus to Commerce Layer, with no service interruptions or frontend changes required.
From cool startup to hot global brand
Chilly’s was founded in 2010 with the aim of enabling people to have cold water on-the-go, without having to buy single-use plastic bottles. Their bottles were a huge success and they quickly evolved from an ambitious startup to a global lifestyle brand.
As their long-term agency partner, Rotate° provided Chilly’s with the tech support necessary to sell their products online and grow their brand. To keep the dream-come-true growth of Chilly’s business from becoming an infrastructure and maintenance nightmare for their website, Rotate° knew that they would need to migrate to a flexible, headless solution. They selected a distributed software stack and headless CMS to start and aimed to use their existing Shopify commerce platform in a headless manner.
Outgrowing Shopify Plus
At the same time that Rotate° was implementing the new commerce platform, Chilly's popularity was rising faster than even the most optimistic projections. They had passed the threshold of 30 selling countries and aimed to target the whole world.
Rotate° soon realized that using Shopify wasn’t sustainable long-term. While Shopify is the most popular ecommerce platform, it suffers from intrinsic limitations when it comes to building headless solutions and expanding your business internationally. Even Shopify Plus is structured with a single price list in a single base currency and is essentially a single-language platform. To enable multiple currencies and languages, the only workaround is to duplicate store instances, add dedicated apps to manage translations, and somehow keep everything in sync. While this can work for a handful of countries, it quickly becomes unmanageable.
Rotate° started to evaluate alternatives. They were looking for a commerce platform that was API-first by design and offered native multi-market and multi-currency features; something that could fit into the best-of-breed tech stack they’d developed and support Chilly’s enormous growth long-term.
Going global, without the headaches
As a headless commerce platform designed for global brands, Commerce Layer was a logical choice. Within a single Commerce Layer account, you can define as many markets as you want, each with a localized price list, in the local currency, and various other market-related configurations.
Rotate° simply had to match each existing Shopify instance with a market in Commerce Layer to eliminate the need for store duplication and dramatically simplify their commerce infrastructure. No more apps to install. No need for content and inventory synchronization across stores. No more currency risks due to FX rate roundings or changes.
Now Chilly's can manage their business effortlessly, serving over 35 countries, selling products in various currencies and languages, and following each order from shopping cart to delivery from a single, centralized hub.
Customizable ecommerce for customizable bottles
The transactional platform is the key element of every ecommerce project, and changing it usually involves a long and complex process in terms of development and resources. In this case, the replatforming was cost-saving, could take place without service interruptions or frontend changes, and took less than three months in total. No hassle and no annoying dependency on any other side of the business.
This was possible thanks to Rotate°’s choice of a future-proof, fully decoupled, serverless Jamstack architecture and Commerce Layer’s headless nature. Because Commerce Layer separates the front end of a website’s design from the backend logic and follows a best-of-breed approach, it perfectly integrated with the other tools and services and enabled Rotate° to use their current website design and their current CMS.
Switching commerce platforms was just a matter of replacing the old Shopify elements with Commerce Layer equivalents which better matched the growing brand's needs. Commerce Layer’s team helped Rotate° with the migration of all data from Shopify, making the switch even easier. Rotate° was able to focus on the branding, business, and creative sides of the website separate from the commerce part, and has the freedom to make adjustments in the future to enjoy creative flexibility and achieve the brand's goals.
Ready for whatever comes next
By using Commerce Layer’s headless solution, Chilly’s ecommerce became easier to use, maintain, and scale, while Rotate° was able to get the best out of the serverless architecture they built and experience a significant boost in performance.
In fact, shortly after the commerce platform migration, Chilly’s was able to launch a major redesign of their website without needing any changes on the transactional side. They were also able to handle the elevated online sales faced during the pandemic and huge spikes that came with their Black Friday and Christmas campaigns without any service interruptions.
The future of ecommerce is headless and global, and Chilly's is here to prove it.