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Composable Commerce



Case Study: Swanky Migrates Sue Ryder’s Charity Ecommerce Store From Magento to Shopify

UK charity Sue Ryder came to Swanky looking to migrate its ecommerce store from Magento to Shopify ahead of the busy Christmas period. Find out how we delivered a swift and seamless migration, whilst improving UX and simplifying store management.

Written By
Catherine Lambert

Brand overview

Sue Ryder is a charity providing expert end of life care and bereavement support across the UK. To support its valuable work, the charity has a network of around 400 charity shops across the country, as well as an online store. It sells donated, refurbished and carefully selected new items, from clothing and furniture to books and music. The charity ecommerce store is linked to the main charity website, which gives detailed information on the work of Sue Ryder and how visitors can help.

Migration from Magento to Shopify

The team at Sue Ryder approached Swanky because they were looking to migrate their charity ecommerce store from Magento to Shopify. They wanted an ecommerce solution that would simplify operations and reduce costs, whilst also enabling them to sell on more marketplaces.

Migrating your entire store content to a new platform can be an unnerving experience for any business. If not carried out properly, it can cause major problems, from missing or duplicated products to plummeting SEO ranking.

Magento product data can be incredibly complex, and using native import functionality on Shopify runs the risk of overwriting data or losing product data during transfer. As such, Sue Ryder used Matrixify to migrate product and customer data, as well as 301 redirects. This tool offers the flexibility needed to treat complex data, allowing us to add data to metafields and edit columns in order to map fields accurately.

A swift and seamless site launch

Sue Ryder needed to migrate as quickly as possible, to reduce overheads and to have the new store ready in time for the Christmas period.

Swanky delivered a swift migration to Shopify within the desired timeframe, giving the charity the benefit of the improved conversion rate and average order value that the new site has generated, in time for the festive season.

Our Quality Assurance team worked closely with Sue Ryder’s team to ensure everything on the new site was running smoothly before the launch date. As a result, the site went live without any need for post-launch support, allowing Sue Ryder’s ecommerce team to focus on their customers instead.

An effective but low cost Shopify tech stack

A key driver for Sue Ryder migrating from Magento to Shopify was to help the charity reduce the costs associated with its ecommerce store.

Building an effective tech stack around your Shopify store doesn’t have to be eye-wateringly expensive. For charities, budgets can be particularly tight, so it’s important to make sure every penny spent on your technology counts.

One of the challenges with running a Magento store is the significant cost overhead involved, including hosting, bug fixing, routine maintenance and regular platform and security upgrades. Shopify addresses this problem and it’s one of the key benefits of Shopify compared to Magento.

Within our discovery phase, Swanky helped the Sue Ryder team to identify the essential integrations they would need to ensure the store was easy to run and had all the key functionality, without adding any unnecessary third party apps. The chosen tech stack focuses on essential tools to handle search and filter, GDPR compliance, social logins, back-ups and order processing:

  • Matrixify
  • Searchanise
  • Rewind Backups
  • ShipStation
  • Pandectes GDPR compliance

Applying new branding to the site

During this migration project, Sue Ryder refreshed its brand guidelines, and so one of our goals was to effectively apply the new branding throughout the Shopify store.

To help Sue Ryder keep its costs low by reducing the need for ongoing custom development, Swanky’s design team found innovative ways to incorporate the new branding across the store.

For example, we embedded aspects of the charity’s brand identity into on-site imagery, overlaying images with the iconic coloured blobs, as well as adding these to the footer. This has resulted in a store that remains true to the Sue Ryder brand, whilst allowing the charity to manage its store more easily and cost-effectively.

Sue Ryder Charity Ecommerce Store

Enabling donations

Since the aim of Sue Ryder’s ecommerce store is to raise money for its charitable work, the new online shop we created gives customers the option of adding a donation to their purchase. Utilising Shopify’s tipping functionality, the customer is offered the possibility of adding a percentage of their purchase total to their order at checkout. The Sue Ryder team were able to select the exact percentages they wished, in addition to letting customers amend this to the amount of their choice.

The donation option on Sue Ryder's payment page

By presenting donations as a percentage of the customer’s order value, the additional donation feels more affordable for the customer. The exact figure is not rounded up to a whole number, thereby creating the perception of being a smaller, more digestible addition to their total cost. This strategy can be particularly effective in encouraging charitable contributions without deterring customers from completing their purchases.

Building customer confidence

Despite an increasing trend for purchasing pre-loved items online, customers still require additional reassurance when buying these sorts of goods as part of a digital shopping experience. Increasing customer trust in buying pre-loved goods was a key goal of this project, as Sue Ryder increased its stock of donated items.

The store is designed to look immediately familiar as an ecommerce site, so that customers feel confident upon landing that they are buying from a legitimate store.

Flexible content sections and messaging throughout the customer journey give Sue Ryder’s team space for additional content around the work of charity and the value of buying from their store, as well as explaining how an online charity shop works.

We designed a banner for the homepage that highlighted key aspects of the site, such as free delivery, customer service and secure payments – all things that help to boost consumers’ confidence in a brand and a website. Listing payment methods in the footer of the store also reassures customers that they can purchase using whatever payment method they find most convenient.

Streamlining back-end systems to simplify operations

One of the issues of the Magento store was the heavy lift for Sue Ryder’s internal team to manage operations and keep the store updated.

As part of their new tech stack, Sue Ryder implemented ShipStation into the new Shopify store. This app assists with processing orders, printing labels and scheduling shipping, thereby reducing workload for the charity’s in-house team.

In addition, the flexible new Shopify store design now makes it easy for Sue Ryder’s content team to make changes to the site, update content and continually make improvements, without the need for costly and time-consuming custom development that would be required with a Magento store.

Enhanced user experience (UX)

Swanky uses a data-led, mobile first design approach to inform the best UX/UI in all our store designs.

One key goal for Sue Ryder’s site, in addition to making it more accessible for mobile users, was to ease navigation around the site, creating a more appealing experience for users to browse through the products. Due to the nature of the donated items the charity sells, Sue Ryder’s product range is incredibly varied, encompassing everything from refurbished white goods to vintage clothing, and from Christmas cards to wedding dresses.

There were a number of different ways Swanky designed the site to streamline the customer journey. These included:

  • introducing clear categories, with a dropdown menu, so customers can more easily understand the product range and locate items of interest;
  • showcasing featured collections on the homepage to help customers visualise different areas of the product range;
  • highlighting seasonal items and promotions in a carousel, to promote particular collections throughout the year;
  • presenting key information for conversion decisions above the fold to convert more browsers into buyers; and
  • enhancing search and filter functionality.

Search functionality is an essential element of any ecommerce store, as a way to speed up the purchasing journey and boost conversions. We positioned the open search feature, powered by Searchanise, in prime position across the top of every page, prompting customers to search for the items they want, reducing the time to purchase.

Along the side of collection pages, the filter functionality means customers can quickly narrow down the wide variety of options to find something to their taste.

Search and filter functionality on Sue Ryder's charity ecommerce store

Increasing average order value

Since many of the products on Sue Ryder’s charity ecommerce store are low cost, increasing order value is an important factor in driving revenue across the site.

At checkout, a progress bar shows customers how much more they need to spend before they can qualify for free shipping. This is paired with a product recommendations carousel along the left hand side, making it easy for customers to add additional items to their order in one click.

Encouraging customers to add to their cart


Sue Ryder now has a flexible and intuitive ecommerce store to drive revenue and support its valuable work across the UK.

The team there are delighted with the results of their new Shopify store, citing significant improvements across multiple commercial metrics in just a short space of time.

Conversion rate has improved dramatically since the launch of the new store, and is now over 3x higher than on the organisation’s Magento site.

Both average order value and sales volume have also increased, generating more profit for this fantastic charity, so they can do more work supporting those at the end of life or bereaved.

Are you a charity looking to enhance your ecommerce store?

Are you looking to replatform your charity ecommerce store onto Shopify? Swanky have built Shopify stores for a variety of charities, including the Red Cross, the Eden Project and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, among others. We understand the unique challenges of a charity online store, and can help you promote your organisation with an ecommerce site that stays true to your values.

At Swanky, we are passionate about doing our part to help others, particularly when it comes to protecting the planet. In 2022, we launched our own ecommerce store – WoolShip – to sell biodegradable packaging alternatives to single use plastic. We also partner with Ecologi, an initiative to foster a climate positive workforce.

If you’d like to discuss how you can boost the performance of your charity ecommerce store, get in touch with one of our team today.

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