Olympic Color Rods

Moving from Salesforce to Magento Commerce

Taking Shape in a New Magento Commerce Storefront

The Seattle region boasts an impressive portfolio of glass artists, or glassblowers, capturing the attention of many with their intricate creations—from massive public art installations to small votives to take home and enjoy.

Many glassblowers get their materials from Olympic Color Rods (OCR), a Seattle-based supplier of raw glass materials—the rods, frits, and powder forms of color glass that go into the furnace, melt, and eventually become beautiful works of art with an artist’s touch. (We’ve actually had the opportunity to build websites for several OCR customers including Chihuly and Glassybaby.)

Olympic Color Rods has grown to one of the largest suppliers of glassblowing color and tools in North America, and recently found themselves needing a new eCommerce storefront to increase efficiency and better serve their customer base.

Their previous ecommerce platform, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, never really fit their business, so it was time for a change. After delving into their business needs, Magento Commerce offered the best fit for their company and could help create efficiencies around order management for the OCR team.

laptop with Olympic Color Rods website

Gearing up for a "Lift and Shift"

We start every project with a scoping phase, identifying the tech stack and integration plan for the whole system. Olympic Color Rods' ecommerce storefront, like every website we build today, is connected and integrated with many series of systems — from marketing technologies, CRM or ERP integrations, analytics, and more. 

In this initial project scoping phase, we identified the migration paths from Salesforce Commerce Cloud and outlined key integrations that would be required. 

This project was laser-focused on re-platforming quickly, not redesigning the experience. This is what we call internally a “lift and shift,” where a website is moved from one environment to another without redesigning the application, and with no downtime. 

It’s fairly uncommon to move platforms without also doing some sort of redesign (if for no other reason than it's nice to see a visible change). In this case, the primary goal was to significantly streamline warehouse speed, get off an internal warehouse management system that was built around Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and to do those quickly. 

A lift and shift project is a quicker development project because it skips the first phase of design and wireframing which means we get to start developing on day one.

We leveraged the old Olympic Color Rods website look and feel, porting it into the Magento theme framework. The core branding, primary navigation, catalog and product detail pages, mobile and desktop experience all started to take shape quickly on the front end.

Magento Extensions and Custom Development

Most ecommerce storefronts we build are selling complete items where 1 is typically the minimum unit. With OCR, the rods (picture) are priced by kilogram and are sold in units down to .25 kg, so the units on the product detail page needed to support decimal values. Luckily, this is a feature that Magento supports.

Since the actual weight of the rods can vary slightly (like buying meat at the deli counter), they needed the ability to adjust to actual weights after the order was pulled, weighed, and packed. 

We went with the Mageplaza’s Edit Order extension with some custom development to create this functionality since other extensions would only allow editing in non-quantity fields or during a certain status of the order flow. Along with Magento’s configuration to allow decimal quantities in products, we were able to use the extension to edit the quantity once the picked amount of the ordered product is actually weighed by a member of the fulfillment team. 

A condition that added to the complexity of this was that Olympic Color Rods customers can order specific decimal increments (.25, .50, etc) through the website, though a member of the fulfillment team can also adjust the quantity while processing the order. We added a text attribute to display the increment information when a simple product from the configurable product page is chosen to account for both of these conditions. This behavior is not native to Magento and we had to customize the display of that messaging. 

Additionally, when using this extension, we found it would cause a dual authorization in OCR’s payment gateway, EBizcharge, due to the extension ‘creating a new order’ when a quantity is edited. Our team did additional custom development to only send one authorization to their payment gateway. Used in parallel with Moogento Pick Pack, the edit order extension allows OCR to view the ordered products in alphabetical order while providing the ability to edit the quantities as needed.

We were able to maintain OCR’s current fulfillment workflow in the switch to Magento Commerce — allowing adjustments to both the quantity of products purchased once they are picked as well as shipment adjustments.

computer showing olympic color rods website

Product Migration

When it came time to migrate OCR’s approximately 5,000 products from to Magento Commerce, we started with a clean product and category catalog that could be updated with new images, description, etc, since there wasn’t a path to transfer inventory, quantity, or prices between Salesforce and Magento.

Once initial inventory was added to Magento, manual tweaks for attributes and configurable products were made directly in the Magento Admin. It was a big push at the end to get the content all migrated by hand.

The new Olympic Color Rods launched in October 2020.