Chess House: Migration from Volusion to Shopify Plus

About Our Partner

Chess House’s modern story began with Elliott and Raphael Neff, a pair of teenaged brothers who shared a passion—excelling in chess—and a problem—financing their learning materials. They came up with an ingenious solution: Buy extra books from a small company called Chess House and then sell those books to their friends. They could make some money and spread their love of chess simultaneously.

In 1994, those brothers bought the Chess House company. Since then, Chess House has grown to become a supplier of unique chess and game resources to homes, schools, players, companies, and communities worldwide. Their roots are still evident in the company’s mission: to have “Chess in every home,” and they maximize each customer’s enjoyment of the game while providing a tool to build the mind and character.

Project Details

  • Client On-site Project Kickoff
  • Responsive Design
  • Custom Product Bundle Functionality
  • Custom Product Kit Functionality
  • Custom Tiered Pricing
  • Custom Stock Notifications
  • Custom Tagging and Filtering Options
  • Volusion to Shopify Plus Migration
  • Advanced use of Shopify Scripts

"Gauge was a terrific guide through the entire process. We couldn't have had the success we did without their attention to detail and ecommerce acumen."

— Rafael Neff, Owner

Project Story

New Platform, Less Overhead

ChessHouse.com desperately wanted to replatform from their outdated Volusion platform to a new system. They wanted to increase the speed of implementing new marketing campaigns while decreasing their technical overhead. Gauge worked closely with them to assess their needs and together, we determined that Shopify Plus would be a great fit.

A Strong Relationship

At Gauge we’re all about close partnerships, and when you’re building relationships, nothing can compare to in-person teamwork. That’s why we flew from Savannah, GA to the Chess House HQ in Seattle, WA for an on-site project kickoff. We love to visit our clients in person; that facetime lays the foundation for a strong relationship based on mutual trust. It’s one of the most beneficial and fun things we do with our clients.
Over two days, our teams worked as one, brainstorming and planning the sitemap, content map, and overall strategy for a successful migration. Raphael and his team are highly collaborative, and the visit was incredibly productive.

Data Migration

The move to Shopify Plus would require us to migrate all of their product data into the new platform. For replatforming projects like this one, handling data is a vital element that often goes overlooked or under-budgeted. To avoid losing critical data or missing key information, we invested a significant amount of planning and strategy. Taking the time to do it the right way really paid off.

Data migration involves changing the sitemap and category structure, which typically results in a hefty dip in organic traffic. But with careful planning and attention to detail, we built an SEO strategy that kept them on the right track and avoided any major losses. This is an excellent example of how choosing the right agency can minimize the “hidden costs” of any project.

Design for the Modern Shopper

Right now, 66% of all eCommerce time is spent on a mobile device, and that number is rising quickly. To take better advantage of this, Gauge also took the time to update Chess House’s site structure and store design. We created a fully responsive front-end layout to bring them up to speed with current web needs. The new site looks awesome. The Chess House team is very happy with it, and even their customers have reached out to voice their delight.

Custom Shopify Features

Shopify Plus was a great match for Chess House in most respects, but it was missing three key functionalities Chess House needed: custom kits, product personalization, and custom product bundles. They needed to track inventory and clearly offer pricing incentives for each of those custom features. These features had never been attempted for Shopify Plus, and creating them was no small task. By working hand in hand with the Chess House team, our developers built some cutting edge features that work seamlessly with stock Shopify Plus functionality to provide an elegant and effective solution. We also built some pretty cool tiered pricing and product tagging features customized for the kits, bundles and personalization options.

"Mark, and the team at Gauge brought enthusiasm, expertise, and commitment to the ChessHouse.com ecommerce re-platforming project. They solved new challenges that hadn’t been tackled before on Shopify Plus and have helped bring us from an aging technology platform to a position where we can accelerate growth in our market. Despite unforeseen challenges during the project, I’m thankful for the integrity at Gauge and their ability to bring projects to the finish line."

— Rafael Neff, Owner

Key Results

Having an updated layout, design and platform has made a huge difference for Raphael and his team. They’re on a strong foundation now and their customers have already given them a great response on how the new site feels and performs. Shopify has made daily operation of their store easier on the internal team giving them more time and ability to focus on marketing in order to grow their customer base.

  • Increased revenue 22%
  • Increased conversion rate 18%
  • Increase average order value 14%
  • Increased transactions 7%
  • Increased Pageviews 18%
  • Increased Unique Pageviews 15%
  • Improved Bounce Rate 7%