How We Launched a Magento Commerce Cloud Website in 8 Days

New York Comic Con was on October 5th — less than two weeks away. While in past years Bluefin would have been focused on the show plan for their biggest annual sales driver, this time they were finalizing requirements for their first ever eCommerce website.

The online store was requested by a number of customers and held exciting potential for the leading distributor of Japanese toys, collectibles, novelty items, and hobby products, but the demanding deadline left them with a large amount of work to complete in a short amount of time.

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To achieve their goal, Bluefin turned to Kensium, a Magento Enterprise Partner who they knew from past experience with Acumatica Cloud ERP. Kensium’s diverse background in Magento development, back-end technologies, and system integrations reassured Bluefin that their project would not only be completed on time, but also correctly.

Both we at Kensium and Bluefin were aware that the project was a huge challenge and opportunity, as a successful launch meant orchestrating Magento’s fastest ever cloud go-live.

ESTABLISHING REQUIREMENTS

Keeping the project in perspective, Bluefin knew what was then an 8-day deadline would not be enough time to create a robust eCommerce site with all the bells and whistles they would eventually desire in a comprehensive end product. Together we identified what was required to deliver the first Bluefin eCommerce experience to showgoers and collectors. After planning more complex features for later store versions, we decided Phase 1 of the project would include:

  • A navigable storefront with unique Bluefin content
  • Menu items such as home, about, and contact links
  • A product catalog with Bluefin’s most popular items
  • Cart and checkout functionality
  • A payment gateway and tax software integration
  • Admin functionality to manage content, products, orders, and customers
  • Email integration so Bluefin could automate messages

With little time to waste, the team we devoted to the project collaborated with Bluefin to finalize plans, establish expectations, and set the project in motion to meet the inflexible date. Our timeline included the following high-level items, such as:

  1. Cloud instance creation
  2. Website development
  3. Design support
  4. Testing
  5. Bug fixes and UAT
  6. Approvals and sign off
  7. Deployment
  8. Post-production support

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BUILDING THE STORE IN 8 DAYS

To create the store from scratch in just over a week, daily calls and completed action items were required from both Bluefin and us. Here’s a look into how we met the deadline, day by day.

Day 1 – Kick off meeting

We brought the finalized action plan to the table, with detailed tasks of what was to be expected of Bluefin and our team members. It was established that Bluefin would assist with design and provide static content, as well as approve our development and functionality as it was deployed in the staging environment. We shared a list of how hours would be allocated to different team members throughout the project and provided the option for admin panel training in the coming days.

Day 2 – Instance creation

Two cloud staging environments were established after our coordination with Magento’s cloud services teams — one environment for Bluefin and another for us to build. This setup allowed both teams to complete their tasks simultaneously and gave us the option to combine instances at any time to incorporate revisions. We tasked Bluefin with selecting one of their three handpicked themes to implement into both staging environments.

Day 3 – Theme implementation

The store began to take shape, as we created Magento functionality in the staging environment and implemented Bluefin’s chosen theme. This barebones product started receiving customizations, such as menu options, catalog updates, product descriptions, and banner imagery. Regression and functionality testing began with the new template. Both Bluefin and we worked in our respective staging environments to find any issues in the store.

Day 4 – Active functionality

The interface in the Bluefin staging environment was completely functional, with active links and end-to-end eCommerce functionality. In addition to collaborating on website testing, we requested that Bluefin provide content and update visual assets to accompany the theme. The names on the servers were updated, and we gave Bluefin a tutorial of Magento’s admin interface.

Day 5 – Theme swap

During their website review, Bluefin decided they’d prefer a different theme. Even though a theme swap was not built into the initial timeline, we were happy to accommodate the request. This ultimately cost us a day’s worth of development and testing, but we adjusted the timeline accordingly in order to still meet the end deadline. Even with the new theme, we were able to incorporate several of Bluefin’s preferences indicated in the previous design.

Day 6 – Testing and fixes

With eCommerce functionality in place, Bluefin began testing the website in a number of different roles, including as an admin user and as a customer placing an order. After fixing some minor bugs and requesting some outstanding content from Bluefin, we combined the Kensium and Bluefin instances into a single staging site — the one that would become the live store.

Day 7 – Fixes and training

Feedback and review continued, as we addressed small bugs and made minor fixes to the store’s functionality and performance. We continued to educate Bluefin’s employees on the Magento platform and answered their questions so they could fully manage their store the day it went live.

Day 8 – Go-live (with a little extra excitement)

We had our final go-live call and completed our mandatory go-live checklist with Bluefin. The site was launched!

However, the Authorize.net payment gateway was disallowing orders to be processed. Confused by why the problem didn’t appear in the staging environment, we began to troubleshoot with Bluefin and Magento. After 8 hours of working to resolve the problem, we found a solution. It turned out to be a compatibility issue between the live Magento instance and the payment gateway.

The deadline was met, the store was fully functional, and Comic Con began the following day.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

Expansive out-of-the-box features, tools for a quick to-market time, and easy integrations made Magento Commerce (formerly Magento Enterprise Edition) the perfect solution for Bluefin’s tight deadline. With all necessary components in Magento’s pre-configured solution, the website was able to launch quickly with customized content and full eCommerce functionality.

Our experience creating stores in the Magento cloud environment and the collaborative mindset from Bluefin made it possible for this project to come together. While Bluefin had the drive and creative ideas that they wanted in their eCommerce system, we were able to provide the Magento expertise and resources (including access to Magento’s 24×7 cloud support team) to make the site live and operational in the 8-day timeframe.

Bluefin’s clarity and attentiveness made their timeline possible from the discovery stages. They knew what they wanted, were realistic with their expectations, and held us to the high standard expected of a Magento partner.

Daily communication allowed us to operate with limited hiccups, as our development team worked overnight in the U.S. and Bluefin provided feedback on the progress during the day. This systematic flow of information led to us finishing on time and set the bar for later phases of the project, for which high-level requirements have already been established.

With a successful Comic Con, Bluefin got off on the right foot, and they aim to continue their growth in eCommerce. We look forward continuing our relationship with Bluefin and documenting their next steps as we move into Phase 2 of the website.

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