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Migration: My Family Vets

A bespoke Shopify Plus migration project for a successful petcare retailer.

My Family Vets came to us for a complete overhaul of their online store. Their original platform was no longer able to meet the demand, so they needed a completely new Shopify Plus store able to deliver advanced functionality and bespoke features such as product subscriptions and smart discount systems. We worked with them to develop a whole new store for their brand, resulting in an improved user experience and a dramatic boost to sales.

The Client: My Family Vets

My Family Vets is a young and dynamic brand, providing a network of vet practices spread right across the UK. They are part of the IVC Evidensia group, although the first iteration of the My Family Vets shop was built as a proof of concept – set up for the purpose of delivering just one bag of dog food to a their existing vet clinic customers.

However, customers loved it and their online store  has grown from strength to strength and quickly outgrew their original ecommerce platform.

The Challenge: What to Do When You Outgrow Your Online Store?

As My Family Vets continued to grow, eventually, they outgrew their own web presence. The original store was built on a platform called Kentico. It was perfectly functional, and it served them well in their earlier years. However the team at My Family Vets had started to put together a wish list of ideas for their store and at this point they started to consider if Kentico was still the right platform for them.

For example, some of the features they wanted to see on their new platform included:

  • Fast payment options – Apple Pay, Google Pay, and so on.
  • Smart product recommendations and upsells (for example, in the format “You may also like…” or “Customers who bought this also bought…”)
  • Functionality for users to add product reviews
  • Product subscriptions

More generally though, it had become clear that they were already reaching the limits of what their Kentico-powered store could offer them. For example, a numerical system for generating product page URLs was re-numbering their listings each time a new item was added to the catalogue – terrible for SEO – and meanwhile, there was no real structure that allowed them to display items together in collections.

On the plus side, the existing site had a nicely implemented system allowing for tiered pricing structures, membership discounts, and multi-buy offers.

So our challenge was to keep these useful features, while completely overhauling other elements of the store to leave My Family Vets with a powerful custom-designed online presence that offered all the functionality they needed, right out of the box.

The Solution: Full Store Migration to Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus migrations are one of our most in-demand services. In the process, we have developed a robust strategy for approaching these projects, and it always starts with the all-important workshopping phase.

In our workshops, we like to draw up a plan based on both the client’s “wish list,” and also any pre-migration “pain points.” We then balance these to create an actionable plan. One of the reasons we work this way is because it allows us to effectively brainstorm all the unknown questions relating to any given project. The workshop provides a clear strategy, while eliminating the potential for surprises later – and that in turn allows us to work effectively, delivering results on time and within budget.

In the case of My Family Vets, here’s how our strategy looked.

Shopify plan

The very first step is deciding on their store plan. In this case, with all the bespoke functionality that My Family Vets would need, Shopify Plus was the only way to go – giving them unlimited staff accounts, as well as granular control over aspects like discounting.

Migration management

The migration itself was no small task, involving the migration of approximately 1000 SKUs from Kentico to Shopify Plus. This included combining partial product exports with data scraps from the existing storefront, before reformatting it ready for a seamless Shopify import – so it was essential to set parameters and form a solid plan for the migration.

Laying the foundation

The first step to building the new store involved choosing a base theme. The theme provides the core functionality for the store, with plenty of out-of-the-box features that then leave us free to focus on the bespoke solutions.

Tech partners

Gaps in functionality are filled with carefully deployed apps from select and trusted partners. In this case, we used Recharge for their subscription tools, as well as a Campaign Monitor integration which would connect with My Family Vet’s existing mail services.

Bespoke functionality

Now we’re getting into the high-level functions – unique solutions to meet the needs of this specific client. For My Family Vets we used Shopify Scripts to handle the Pet Health Club Discounts for their members. This also included the creation of a bespoke app, to build a direct integration to their existing member database.

At the point of migration this database contained almost one million active members and it was vital that their was zero disruption in service for these very important customers.

Order fulfilment

Finally, we had to consider how all these new store features would communicate back to the order fulfilment process. My Family Vets had recently switched to a new fulfilment company, and so we provided support to integrate the new store to this third party shipper. 

The Result: Happy Shoppers, a Boost to Sales, and Significant Returning Trade

The My Family Vets migration project was a huge success. The new Shopify Plus store delivered all the extra functionality that had been missing from their previous set-up, with some great takeaway stats:

  • A forecast 150% revenue boost after one year on Shopify.
  • Excellent user response – with 75% of orders coming from return customers.
  • Improved search engine rankings.
  • The new subscription feature saw 40% month-on-month user adoption during the launch window.

In addition to all that, the flexible new website meant that they could simply do more… thanks to Shopify’s diverse range of tools. For example, setting up one-off landing pages became a breeze, and allowed them to offer special limited-time deals – like a Black Friday discount page. 

Most importantly, the team at My Family Vets were all thrilled with the new Shopify Plus store. As their commercial manager Robert Horne told us:

“The migration to Shopify has been a great success and the Inspira team has provided fantastic support from start to finish. We look forward to working together as we grow the website and work towards"

Written by
Mike Fryers
August 7, 2023

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