WooCommerce Tech Stack: Grundens’ Global Web Manager

The Grundens fishing apparel business isn’t like your average eCommerce store. The Swedish brand has been providing gear direct to professionals for over 100 years. They recently expanded into direct-to consumer sales.

Despite – or perhaps because of – the recent coronavirus epidemic, business has been very good. To learn more about Brandon Grundens Global web Manager, we sat down virtually.

Q. Tell us about the Grundéns brand.

In the early 1900s, a fisherman started the company to make oilskins that would keep other fishermen dry and warm. The company’s philosophy is that fishermen are responsible for the protection of the ocean and should take this responsibility seriously.

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Fishing is a lifestyle for many people. It’s not just something people do, it’s a way of life. It is a distinctive characteristic. It’s also a form of therapy for many who fish recreationally.

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Two brothers from Washington were fishermen and became the US’s master distributors of Grundens. Grundens USA was built by them to be a $24-million+ company. In 2007, I was hired as a contractor to help with the expansion and growth of Grundens USA. Mike, and David Jackson were the owners. They had previously fished the Bering Sea, but needed assistance with their web presence.

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They decided to grow in 2017, and hired me as their Global Web Manager. It was exciting, as there was so many things I wanted to do that I couldn’t do as a contractor. We’ve seen tremendous growth over the years as we have expanded our product range from commercial fishing gear to footwear and recreational fishing gear.

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This pandemic has caused us to grow, and many other eCommerce companies, too. In the last eight to ten week, we’ve seen a 30-40 percent increase in sales. These are passionate people who love the outdoors and would be great for any outdoor brand. People are clamoring to be back on the water. They aren’t willing to wait any longer to get back on the water.

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Q. Q. Tell us about your tech stack. Let’s get started with WooCommerce.

Before I joined WooCommerce, there were a few platforms that I used. In the beginning, the company’s requirements were simple. We had an online catalog that only served the North American commercial fishing market. When we launched a direct to consumer offering in 2015, I introduced them WooCommerce.

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The company was unsure how to approach direct-to-consumer channels (DTC) at that time and didn’t want any large investments. Because WooCommerce was flexible and would allow us to scale, we chose it. It offered some functionality that we like in other DTC platforms but was very affordable. WooCommerce has been an integral part of our business and has performed very well since then.

WooCommerce is easy to integrate with WordPress. It all works well. You can integrate WooCommerce pieces into your site content, and vice versa. It is a powerful tool that works well with WordPress. It can also be used with many other plugins.

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Yotpo is a great platform for reviewing. It is a solid customer review platform and it didn’t cost any extra to sign up.

Klaviyo is a tool for email advertising. It is not only an ERP (enterprise resource management app), but almost all features can be used to create CRMs. It allows you to create robust customer profiles, segment your customers to increase clicks and gauge open rates. Conversion tracking is also amazing. These tools have greatly increased conversions and revenue and helped us to gather valuable data.

Microsoft’s Dynamics NAAV is an ERP that can be used for finance, CRM, and supply chain management. In May 2017, we implemented this. We needed more finance staff because the company was expanding rapidly. We have a wholesale channel which sells to brick-and-mortar and Amazon. Additionally, we use WooCommerce to provide direct to consumer channels. We created a connector to allow WooCommerce to talk to NAV. NAV can reach out to WooCommerce to grab order details and send back stock details.

I recommend ShipStation for new stores. Although we don’t currently use it, it has been invaluable in previous projects. ShipStation integrates to the site to automate fulfillment and alleviate a lot of the problems.

W3 Total cache is a great tool for SEO U/X performance. It allowed us to take our merchandising experience up a notch.

FacetWP allows you to filter and search for WordPress and WooCommerce. Customers can search for values such as SPF numbers for shirts, or a particular color swatch. This plugin is great for eCommerce shops that want more flexibility.

InstantSearch has great search and merchandising features. This service is great for finding insights and speedy delivery of search results.

Avalara automates tax calculations. We wanted a global solution that could be used to calculate taxes and the European VAT tax. Avalara collects and sends payments. This is important for us as we have a small finance department. It is easy to use and integrates seamlessly with WooCommerce.

Amazon Payment is its own payment processor. It just runs. It’s easy to use if you are already logged in to Amazon. It is used by over a third of our customers.

We offer Apple Pay and Authorize.Net credit cards.

Our director of IT introduced Microsoft Teams to us for internal communication. It has been an integral part our internal work process. However, I have many external meetings throughout the day with every video conference platform so my computer is constantly updated with those.

Q. What do you value about WooCommerce?

Looking back, one of the best things about WooCommerce is its ability to easily and cheaply add third-party services like review platforms and payment processors. Premium extensions have saved us a lot in custom development time and money.

Q. So do you fish?

I love the outdoors, and I hope to be able get out there more often. Fly fishing is something I want to do more of. Fly fishing is such a relaxing and cathartic activity. Although I spend most of my time at the computer, I still love it. Technology is as important to me as fishing is to Grundens.