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Case Studies







  • B2B
  • 17 Apr 2024 · 8 min read

Case Study: Natural Instinct’s B2B Migration From Magento Enterprise to Shopify Plus

This case study explores how we migrated leading pet food retailer Natural Instinct from Adobe Commerce (Magento Enterprise) B2B to Shopify Plus, crafting a more flexible and cost-effective ecommerce store that will empower the brand to scale its B2B and DTC operations.

Written By
Hannah Smiddy


  • We migrated Natural Instinct’s pet food website from Magento Enterprise B2B to Shopify Plus.
  • This required the transfer of hundreds of thousands of records, as well as the intricate configuration of these items to align with the unique structure of B2B data in Shopify.
  • The new store leverages Shopify’s native B2B functionality, as well as custom development including bespoke credit and in-cart weight check solutions.
  • As part of the project, we built an endpoint connector to enable an integration via Patchworks between Sage and Shopify.
  • We consulted on a Shopify tech stack, including Klaviyo, Gorgias, Feefo and Shopify Bundles.

Natural Instinct: Brand overview

UK-based raw pet food brand Natural Instinct has been providing natural, balanced meals for dogs and cats since 2010. From weaning paste to working dog food, supplements to frozen bones, the company’s nutritious and inclusive product range is hugely popular with both pet owners and their furry friends.

Natural Instinct leverages a hybrid business model, selling to:

  • an established network of over 500 stockists nationwide, via traditional B2B sales;
  • registered breeders, who purchase stock in bulk and receive wholesale pricing benefits; and
  • end consumers directly (DTC).

Project goal: An accelerated migration from a costly Magento B2B setup

Magento Enterprise B2B (now Adobe Commerce B2B) is specifically designed for large B2B retailers with more custom ecommerce requirements. It provides a comprehensive range of advanced features to address the challenges and requirements of online B2B sales. However, with this advanced functionality comes a significant price tag – and greater time-to-deployment.

Frustrated by their costly Magento Enterprise B2B website, the Natural Instinct team approached Swanky with a view to migrating to Shopify Plus, which they saw as a more cost-effective ecommerce solution.

Whilst Shopify has not traditionally been considered as a platform able to accommodate a B2B retailer of Natural Instinct’s scale, the team there were confident that this migration was the right move for their business.

Shopify’s native B2B functionality may still be in its relative infancy compared to that of Magento Enterprise, but it is evolving quickly following its overhaul in 2022. The pace of innovation around B2B on Shopify is extremely promising, with consistent product and feature development signalling a clear commitment from Shopify to improve the experience for B2B retailers and buyers.

The latest features announced in Shopify Winter Editions 2024 provided further confidence that the platform is increasingly suitable for larger retailers like Natural Instinct.

This rapid evolution of B2B on Shopify, combined with the significant cost savings available, as well as other benefits of Shopify (such as reduced technical debt, a rich app ecosystem, and increased agility), cemented their decision to migrate from Magento Enterprise.

“The relentless ongoing licence charges, security patch management and development complications would result in higher costs and longer deployment times at every stage of our  Magento journey.  There is simply no comparison between platforms and Shopify Plus was the clear winner.” 

Phil Keen, Managing Director, Natural Instinct

Natural Instinct needed to launch on Shopify before its annual Magento licence expired – thereby avoiding a very significant licence renewal fee.

This initial phase of our engagement with Natural Instinct would therefore take an accelerated ‘MVP-first’ approach. The focus would be on seamlessly replatforming from Magento, ensuring all records and functionality were transferred to and replicated on Shopify ready for the hard launch deadline.

How Swanky helped

1. A bespoke B2B data migration from Magento to Shopify

There were a number of complexities to navigate in this project, one of the biggest being the differences in how B2B data is configured in Magento vs. Shopify. This disparity required a sophisticated approach to the extraction of data from Magento and its subsequent configuration in the Shopify environment.

Jamie McCleave, Enterprise Lead Developer at Swanky, explains further:

“In Magento, B2B data is structured around a single customer and company record, establishing a 1:1 relationship. In contrast, Shopify spreads similar data across multiple points, leading to a 1:3 setup. This structural difference means we couldn’t directly transfer data from Magento to Shopify; instead, we had to deconstruct each Magento record and redistribute its elements across various Shopify data points.  

“In the absence of any documentation on this process, we had to create a method for migrating this B2B data to Shopify and then configuring it to fit the new platform. 

“This was a complex and challenging enterprise-level project, unique in its requirements, but we leveraged our teams’ knowledge of both Magento and Shopify to successfully migrate and configure a large amount of data, fast.” 

Another challenge for our team to overcome surrounded the amount of data that needed to be migrated by the deadline. The project entailed a significant data migration, including the transfer of hundreds of thousands of customer and order records, multiple product catalogues, various discount groups and shipping rates, and a hybrid DTC element.


2. Leveraging Shopify’s native B2B functionality

Natural Instinct’s new Shopify site serves both B2B and DTC customers with a single-store setup. The store makes use of some of the platform’s native B2B functionality, including:

B2B catalogues

The site leverages Shopify’s native catalogue pricing for selling to B2B stockists. This gives the Natural Instinct team control over the availability of products for B2B customers, and means that buyers can log into their account and see specific products with custom pricing.

Net payment terms

This allows the automatic assignment of payment terms in the admin. For customers, they can check out with the payment terms that have been assigned and can keep track of any upcoming payments in their account.

Draft ordering

Draft ordering for B2B – which was only launched by Shopify during the development phase of this project – is also being used on the Natural Instinct site.

Orders that stockists send directly to the team by phone or email, instead of via the website, can be created as draft orders. Once the customer and company has been assigned to the order, then the pricing, payment terms and checkout options will automatically reflect the settings for that company.

Easy reordering

This native feature of B2B on Shopify empowers B2B customers to reorder in just a few clicks. A “Buy Again” button in the order history page enables buyers to duplicate past orders, then make edits based on their current needs.

This simplifies the buying process for buyers placing frequent orders, which can help to encourage recurring sales and nurture long-term B2B customer relationships.

You can read more about the native B2B capabilities of the platform in our article on the evolution of Shopify’s B2B functionality.


3. Expanding native functionality with custom development

As well as leveraging Shopify’s native B2B functionality, the project also required some custom development to expand these capabilities. We detail two of these bespoke solutions below.

Custom credit solution

As discussed, Natural Instinct leverages net payments for its B2B customers. These customers have a line of credit that can be used in conjunction with net payments. When a B2B customer comes close to reaching their credit limit, their purchasing options are reviewed.

At the time the website was being built, Shopify’s native store credit functionality was still in developer preview and unavailable for use. Therefore, we built our own interim credit solution that would satisfy Natural Instinct’s requirements in the meantime.

This custom solution uses Shopify Flows and external functions to deduct from a company’s unique base credit when an order is made. It tags any customers who have 20% or less of their credit amount remaining. These customers are added to a segment for the Natural Instinct team to review. They can choose to follow up on outstanding payments, or hide a customer’s net payment terms so that upfront payment is required on their next order.

Discussing Swanky’s plans to make use of Shopify credit in the future, Lead Developer Jamie commented:

“We created a cost-effective solution that takes a programmatic approach for credit calculations / order processing and a manual approach for reviewing and resetting company accounts, in line with Natural Instinct’s current process.

“Our ultimate goal is to move to Shopify credit once it becomes publicly available, hence the initial approach. The solution meets our client’s needs in the interim, whilst reducing technical debt in the project and making it an easy transfer to native store credit when this functionality is released.”

Bespoke weight check solution

Natural Instinct’s frozen produce has to be shipped separately from non-frozen items, in a specific container suitable for frozen food. Because of this, customers looking to purchase frozen products are required to buy at least 5kg per order.

We built a custom weight check solution and integrated this at cart level to ensure that frozen product weight thresholds are met with each order.

In the example below, only 3kg of frozen produce has been added to the cart, and so the customer is unable to proceed to the checkout. Once the amount exceeds 5kg, the order can be progressed and shipping can be arranged.

ShipperHQ then uses table rates and shipping groups to identify the correct box for shipping. Once the most suitable box has been selected, an API call to Shiptheory generates the correct labels for shipping.


4. Connecting Sage and Shopify via a new Patchworks connector

The Natural Instinct team leverages the Sage business management system. Prior to our engagement, they were using an SFTP file upload system to transfer data from their ecommerce store to the Sage system.

In order to streamline this process, we built a brand new endpoint connector via Patchworks to enable a seamless integration between Sage and Shopify.

Thanks to this new integration, the Natural Instinct team can now effortlessly sync orders, inventory and customer data between the two systems, reducing the risk of admin errors and ensuring more accurate reporting. This frees up time and resources which can be directed to other, revenue-generating activities.

This also enhances the customer experience by ensuring accurate stock levels and frictionless order processing.


5. Shopify tech stack consultation and implementation

We leveraged our unique experience in crafting petcare ecommerce solutions to consult on and implement a best-in-breed Shopify tech stack for Natural Instinct. This included:

  • Klaviyo – For email and SMS marketing, including automated messaging flows and targeted campaigns.
  • Gorgias – A popular all-in-one helpdesk solution for ecommerce brands.
  • Feefo – A leading verified review platform for capturing and showcasing customer feedback.
  • Shopify Bundles – An app that allows store owners to create fixed or multipack bundles directly from the Shopify Admin, with no coding required.
  • ShipperHQ – A widely used tool for managing the shipping experience at checkout, providing granular control over the rates and options displayed to customers.
  • Shiptheory – A cloud-based shipping management platform that automates repetitive tasks such as booking shipments and printing shipping labels.


The result: A new Shopify store to accelerate B2B & DTC growth

The Natural Instinct team now has a fast, flexible and intuitive ecommerce store that combines all the powerful hallmarks of Shopify’s DTC offering with a rapidly-evolving suite of B2B features.

This, together with a significantly lower total cost of ownership than their previous Magento Enterprise setup, puts Natural Instinct at the beginning of an exciting journey as it looks to scale.

Natural Instinct’s Managing Director, Phil Keen, explains further:

“Our new Shopify Plus store finally allows us the freedom to focus on the important things for our customers, enhancing their experience when using the Natural Instinct site.  We can now invest and develop with a customer-first approach rather than wasting money on complicated and underperforming tech.  

“A website should be an asset and I’m pleased to say that with Shopify and Swanky delivering what we were missing, it finally is!”

Next steps for Natural Instinct and Swanky

Now that Natural Instinct is live on Shopify, we look forward to continuing our collaboration with the team. During the next phase of this project, we will be:

  • exploring improvements to the look and feel of the site;
  • consulting on new solutions for the brand’s tech stack – with a particular focus on retention marketing; and
  • leveraging data and insights to optimise the customer experience.

Reflecting on the migration and next steps, Amy Dougan, Head of Delivery at Swanky, said:

“This B2B migration was undeniably intricate, featuring our inaugural Sage integration with Patchworks. Despite a demanding schedule, we managed to deliver this project swiftly.

“Beneath the surface of this Shopify store lies robust functionality tailored to Natural Instinct’s business requirements. The team eagerly anticipates revamping the frontend to align with these advancements!”

Check out Natural Instinct’s Shopify store.

Migrate your B2B store to Shopify with Swanky

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Get in touch with our solutions team to discuss your B2B migration.

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