Swanky has worked with numerous jewellery companies over the past decade and garnered much experience of what Shopify jewellery store best practice looks like. So when Essential Jewellery (ESJ) approached us for support, we knew there was a lot of expertise we could bring to this design and migration project.
The result is a store that equips ESJ with the tools they need to scale their brand. And the business has already seen the positive impact of this with a 32% YoY increase in sales and revenue (April 2022 vs. April 2023).
This was a project of creativity and aspiration, as well as data and optimisation – let’s dive into the details.
Essential Jewellery: Brand overview
As a family-run jewellery business, ESJ has brought high-quality, affordable jewellery to British high streets since 1990. In this time the brand has opened seven store locations across the country and become known for a unique in-person shopping experience.
When the COVID pandemic rolled in, the business, like thousands of others, was forced to change. The brand pivoted its business model towards ecommerce and it saw great success in this; loyal customers and those who were familiar with the brand turned to its online store to make purchases.
During this time, the company learnt how valuable an online presence can be. Once their brick and mortar stores reopened, the team were able to reassess their business model and decided to invest in and optimise their online store. This would be an asset to complement their current business strategy and give them the opportunity to grow and adapt to market demands.
ESJ came to Swanky with the aim of creating an online store that would complement their existing business, diversify revenue streams, and increase their brand’s online presence.
The brand was facing two key challenges.
Firstly, ESJ was using Magento to platform their previous site. This wasn’t working for them because it was slow, expensive and clunky – all familiar problems for Magento users worldwide. The platform typically requires significant developer support for the smallest of on-site changes that need to be made, thus increasing the total cost of ownership and decreasing the flexibility of the platform. Constant upgrades can also make Magento stores more vulnerable to security issues.
When asked about why Shopify was a better fit, Alex Andrew, Ecommerce Manager at ESJ, said, “Magento wasn’t keeping up with the ever-growing industry of online sales. It had very little flexibility for a backend user, unless you hold a high-level understanding of coding. Shopify, on the other hand, has been a dream to work with. Creating new elements on pages and managing orders has been made available to anyone on our team”.
Secondly, the brand’s visual identity was limited across their digital channels. ESJ had previously focused on their in-store experience to provide their brand identity. However, with the move to a hybrid brand presence, it was now necessary for their brand identity to be clearly communicable online. Such clarity had also been hampered by the limitations of their Magento site.
Turning a brand’s physical presence and identity into an ecommerce store takes time and skill. In coming to Swanky for this project, ESJ chose to spend the time, and employ our skill, to update their branding and visuals.
How Swanky helped
Migration from Magento to Shopify Plus
Migrating a site from Magento to Shopify Plus is a familiar task for Swanky, because numerous brands have identified Shopify as a platform that better suits their needs.
This is largely because, as mentioned above, Magento can often limit a brand, whilst Shopify expands a brand’s ecommerce presence through flexibility and usability – both for customers and retailers.
Shopify also offers a much more scalable and reliable solution for users compared to Magento, with a richer ecosystem of apps and third-party integrations available.
Our comparison of Magento vs Shopify provides a comprehensive round-up of how the two platforms differ across key elements such as hosting, security, support, flexibility and cost.
Given our experience in migrations, we were able to provide a smooth transition from Magento to Shopify for ESJ.
Developing a comprehensive brand identity
Early on in the discovery process we identified the need for a more comprehensive visual brand identity to inform the look and feel of this site.
Thus began the work by our design team to take a light touch approach and build out the branding and visual identity of ESJ’s online store. In order to achieve success in this, Lead Designer, Mark Halliwell, took time to listen to the client and understand what they needed, both for the present moment and for the future.
Mark was then able to draw on these conversations with ESJ, and our team’s experience of designing other jewellery ecommerce stores, to create something that was a perfect fit. After sharing his designs with the ESJ team, little feedback was needed – demonstrating that he and the design team had thoroughly understood the client’s aims and requirements, and delivered on these exceptionally well.
The design work included a versatile colour palette that demonstrated the luxe and elegance of ESJ’s products. The combination of white and cream in particular gives an expansive feel on the category pages and allows the products to be placed centre stage.
Lifestyle photography is especially important for jewellery ecommerce stores, because it serves to inspire customers in their product discovery journey. For this reason, the store is designed to place imagery at the forefront – allowing ESJ’s stunning photography to steal the limelight.
The font choice for ESJ’s store further enhances the store’s sense of elegance through the use of a simple serif option. This also has a sense of tradition to it, emphasising the heritage that ESJ has on British high streets.
By creating and implementing a more comprehensive and refined visual identity for ESJ we have built a Shopify Plus jewellery store that can grow, adapt and shine as they need it to in the coming years.
Alex at ESJ commented, “The entire design process was handled fantastically. We opted for a completely updated look and feel that Swanky created, with reviews and input from us at each stage. We have never had such great communication with, and confidence in, an agency before.”
Below you can see before and after photos showing how our design work elevated one of ESJ’s category pages:
Here you can also see the before and after of the site’s homepage (above the fold):
A transformational new Shopify site
This new store will open up so many doors for Essential Jewellery. Before, their site would require developer support to make even small changes – costing time and money that could be better spent elsewhere, like on exciting growth campaigns.
Now with a Shopify Plus store, the brand can ideate and implement changes within minutes, not weeks. This offers infinite flexibility and opportunity for growth.
Couple this versatility with their refined brand identity, and this jewellery brand can reap the rewards of both an in-person and online presence.
The ESJ team were really pleased with the final result, with Alex noting, “Since moving over to Shopify, our autonomy has increased beyond what we thought was possible. This is especially noticeable in how much easier it is for customers to navigate our site. Shopify as a platform, and the work that Swanky has done, has helped us see a fantastic reduction in customers leaving the site frustrated. If we ever do find something we can improve on, we can often implement the change ourselves.”
Thinking of migrating from Magento to Shopify?
Shopify offers versatility and extensibility in abundance. It’s the ecommerce platform for any brand wanting to create an online presence that will grow with them.
So, if you are currently feeling frustrated with the constraints of a platform like Magento, much like Essential Jewellery were, we’d recommend you consider migrating to Shopify.
You can read more about the benefits of Shopify over Magento here.
Or start a conversation with us today to learn more about our ecommerce migration service.