Case Study

Scalable Commerce for a Made-to-Order Marketplace

Modernizing the customer experience with a composable tech stack that’s focused on the cart and checkout.

A flatlay with a teal grid background. A laptop is open and displaying the Spoonflower website. Around the laptop are fabric swatches, a cell phone, a cup of coffee, and a journal.

Spoonflower is an online-only consumer marketplace offering ready-to-print home decor designs from independent artists worldwide. With over 8 million products and over 1 billion possible product variations in the catalog, Spoonflower’s growth was outpacing what their homegrown systems could handle. In response to scalability needs, Spoonflower enlisted Orium’s expertise to help them move to a composable commerce stack.

Two coworkers are in an office, standing and looking at a laptop screen.

The Challenge

Spoonflower offers a completely customizable approach to purchasing fabrics, wallpaper, and home decor. Goods are printed from user-uploaded or independent artist designs, creating a staggering number of possible product combinations. With an ever-expanding catalog, Spoonflower needed to move away from their custom-built commerce solutions and build a sustainable ecommerce experience that could flex, adapt, and grow with their business.

Scale, maintainability, and flexibility for future growth had all become increasingly large challenges for the Spoonflower team, and though the time had come to move to a more modern tech stack, Spoonflower needed a solution that continued to offer them the control they needed for their unique custom design offerings.

With a move off of a challenging-to-maintain homegrown solution and on to a MACH-based commerce platform, the team could make staged improvements to key parts of the user experience, including modernizing the cart and checkout to ensure reliability at the moment of conversion, and an upgraded CMS to support better content management and improve SEO.

A person sitting on the end of a grey couch. They are opening a cardboard box package and smiling at the contents inside.

The Strategy

Spoonflower’s long-term goal was to move off of a high-effort, homegrown system and leverage the best-in-class solutions available to them on a composable commerce architecture. By taking a staged approach to retiring and replacing existing technologies, Spoonflower would be able to address high-impact areas quickly while building the foundations for ongoing improvements across the entire system in the years to come. The move to a MACH technology approach would also give Spoonflower the control they wanted by keeping the front- and back-ends separate and providing the ability to add or swap integrations as needed.

Though CMS had been initially identified as the starting point for the staged improvement, cart and checkout emerged as the top priority during discovery. The team selected commercetools as the new commerce platform, which would provide the stable, scalable base needed to rebuild Spoonflower’s cart and checkout experience. By using headless technology, Spoonflower could leverage commercetools on the backend and Netlify driven by content in Contentful for the frontend.

With an improved commerce core, Spoonflower would be able to upgrade payment options using best-of-breed solutions to better serve their global audience. Plus, the move to a MACH-based approach would also enable the CMS improvements they had initially planned. With Contentful identified as the CMS of choice, Spoonflower could replace their existing content management systems and lay the foundations for improved SEO and content control across the site experience.

Three samples of Spoonflower wallpaper designs for accent walls in a home, and two samples of colourful geometric designs for clothing.

The Solution

With Spoonflower’s growing catalog and product assortment, cart and checkout were becoming more complicated as well. By transitioning to a composable tech stack, Spoonflower was able to use commercetools in the backend for a faster and reliable cart and checkout while deploying the frontend on Netlify to allow their team to make changes to the UX as the brand evolves. For the user, this solution presents a seamless experience from design and product selection through to the purchase, modernizing the overall experience and improving satisfaction. Behind the scenes, this gives Spoonflower greater control over their UX, cart, and checkout, as separate components of the composable stack.

For a scaling global brand, there are two key concerns when it comes to checkout: taxes and payment methods.

The composable architecture allowed industry-leading solutions to be integrated into the commercetools engine, Spoonflower has reliable payment and tax solutions that allow customers to complete a transaction in whatever way works best for them: using a credit card or PayPal account, in installments with Afterpay’s Buy Now Pay Later method, using their Spoondollar rewards (loyalty credits), or even a combination of payment approaches.

Beyond the cart and checkout improvements, Orium also created a stage 1 deployment of Contentful, building out core structures for continued growth in the months to come. Contentful will give Spoonflower significant improvements to support content production, including improved SEO capabilities, streamlined cross-functional teamwork including role-based restrictions for content editors, upgraded site performance, and a better frontend experience overall.

A person sitting at a kitchen table with their iPad on the surface, a green coffee mug in one hand, and a credit card in the other.

Outcomes & Next Steps

By shifting to a composable commerce tech stack, Spoonflower now has a foundation for scalable growth, with greater control over its cart and checkout experience and a CMS solution that can flex with their needs. Working together, Orium and Spoonflower engineering successfully moved Spoonflower’s cart and checkout to commercetools in advance of Singles’ Day—the biggest global shopping day of the year—providing users with a faster and more reliable pathway to conversion.

The Spoonflower team is now looking to the future, experimenting with ways to use their new CMS to improve the customer experience and website optimization. Using the foundation in place, they will focus on designing product detail pages, keywords, and hashtags for categorization of products and artist designs in their database. In turn, they’ll be able to improve their SEO scores and launch new products combined with an ever-growing design catalog with ease.