Altitude Sports - Case Study

Expanding Merchandising and Catalog Capabilities

Moving from an all-in-one platform to an efficient modular approach to enhance site performance and give Altitude Sports control over product, pricing, payments, and more.

A flatlay of a lime green background with an iPad showing the home page TheLastHunt website, surrounded by running shoes, sports sunglasses, a yoga mat, and hiking gloves.

Altitude Sports isn’t afraid of a challenge. An outdoor e-commerce clothing company that sells a wide range of sports outerwear, outdoor equipment and urban wear, their brand is built on the idea of facing challenges and pushing past them. But when their existing commerce platform was imposing limits, instead of helping them reach beyond them, they knew it was time for a change. So they reassessed their approach to technology and user experience, teaming up with Orium to take the next steps in building a modern tech stack.

A person in hiking attire stepping onto a rock in a forrested trail.

The Challenge

Altitude Sports was among Canada’s first outdoor goods retailers with an online shopping experience, launching Altitude-sports.com in the late 1990s. The company grew steadily, evolving and maturing the online shopping experience and launching two more brands: online discount store TheLastHunt.com in 2010 and private label Vallier.com in 2019.

As their offerings expanded, Altitude Sports’ existing all-in-one solution was no longer able to meet the needs of a multifaceted, multi-brand company. Order management, inventory, payments, fraud checks, returns, refunds, price matches, and more were either served, owned, or highly coupled to their monolith’s capabilities and functionality, and they had an increasingly large number of homegrown solutions to work-around the limitations of their platform. The effort and cost to maintain that work was becoming prohibitive.

Site performance was suffering and commercialization and marketing were dependent on developer support for promotions. In fact, highly custom HTML-based templates meant their development team was required to support most changes on the front end, which also meant they were struggling to make improvements to their existing experiences.

They turned to Orium to help them bring efficient, scalable solutions to market that would serve changing customer needs and evolve their user experience options for merchandising.

Screenshots of TheLastHunt's ordering journey showing the order summary, the checkout process, and the customer's order history.

The Strategy

Altitude Sports was facing increasingly high barriers to being able to manage and control their sites, the content on them, and the customer experiences they were delivering. They needed a solution that would enable better scalability, adaptability, and control for their promotions and marketing while streamlining both the tech stack and product catalog to ensure they could manage cross-site content and product syndication. Most of all, they needed a solution that could adapt as needed and deliver results efficiently for their next phase of growth.

To address these challenges, Orium needed to move Altitude Sports off its monolithic platform and onto modular and adaptable solutions. A successful transition to composability would allow for cross-site content and product syndication, providing the Altitude Sports team with the proven solutions to enable them to respond to customer needs and market changes with agility.

To evolve beyond the constraints of their monolithic platform and embrace a future where flexibility and scalability were truly possible, Orium and Altitude Sports set out a phased plan for shifting their existing commerce system to headless and composable technologies.

Step one was to create proofs of concept so Altitude Sports could get a better understanding of how the sites and solutions could work together, validating solution architecture, informing backlog estimates, and reducing risk. From there, the teams would adopt a phased approach to implementation, electing to first launch The Last Hunt on a fully composable platform, and then leverage that work to bring composability to the remaining two properties at a future date.

A person holding a smartphone looking at a Speedo bathing suit's product detail page.

The Solution

At the core of this project was a truly collaborative co-delivery model, combining Orium's expertise with Altitude's vision. Working from a single, shared backlog, the teams were in lock-step throughout the project, cross-pollinating on plans and aligning on implementations to ensure they were working together to achieve Altitude’s goals and bring a modern digital commerce experience to their organization and customers. The teams sought opportunities for unification, collaborating in real-time on shared design files and working shoulder-to-shoulder to make changes and adjustments throughout the design process with data-driven decision-making at the heart of everything.

They selected commercetools for their core commerce functions, and alongside a new Algolia implementation, these new composable solutions gave Altitude Sports control over their product inventory, catalog, and cart. The teams then built frameworks for product categorization and data models, creating an accurate single source of truth across platforms. These standardized frameworks are also adaptable for their new headless CMS,Contentful, and can be used in multiple search indexes— key for sharing products between the brands.

Midway through the project, the teams recognized the need for a new order management system (OMS) that would enable Altitude to move off their monolithic solution entirely. Orium and Altitude Sports worked strategically to integrate Fluent Commerce’s advanced OMS, enabling critical scalability and effective product management. This move helps Altitude manage their unique products more effectively and marks a significant leap towards a more robust and flexible retail operation.

TheLastHunt.com’s upgraded commerce experience was then deployed on cloud-based hosting platform, Vercel using commercetools Connect. Pairing with Vercel has unleashed an optimized, high-performance site with improved uptime, responsiveness, and SEO features.

One of our core beliefs is ‘form that functions’. It means everything needs to serve a purpose and it’s part of what drives us to provide the easiest shopping experience ever. Orium helped us create a new commerce experience with solutions that will scale with us in the future, aligned to the capabilities we need to serve our customers best.

Paquin, CTO, Altitude Sports

A man smiling in a lunge position on a sidewalk, wearing lime green running shoes with a small water bottle next to him.

Outcomes & Next Steps

The investment Altitude Sports put into TheLastHunt.com establishes a foundation for the future of their commerce operations.

With a shift to product-based solutions, the team can leverage headless and composable solutions with fast iterative feedback cycles, ensuring every platform chosen serves a purpose and bringing their commerce capabilities in alignment with their core brand beliefs. Altitude Sports can now establish a culture of testing and performance improvement to support their brand evolution, delivering highly performant site experiences in line with consumer expectations.

As Altitude Sports continues to work towards the future, the team has the flexibility to improve bundling, personalization, and loyalty programs to enhance customer lifetime value and build upon their success.