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GLTC migrated their award-winning business to Shopify Plus. Since migrating, a 7% increase in overall conversions shows that after 20 years of business, they're just getting started.

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Great Little Trading Company

Great Little Trading Company has been one of the most successful online retailers of high-quality toys and furniture for children and young families for over a decade.

Best Children’s Retailer ten times since 2004, most recently 2015, 2016, 2017 Best Independent Retailer 2015 Best Online Retailer 2014 40 other industry awards since 2012

The reason for their success?

GLTC understands their customers, and strives to give them the best possible choices. Their mission is to help parents create the perfect home for their young families.

Looking for room to grow

Despite the success, CEO and owner Jamie knew that the platform GLTC had used to reach this level of success wasn’t going to carry them further on toward their goals. There were several limitations on how far their old platform could take their business. First and foremost was the lack of control over their site.

“We were restricted to strict release cycles that needed to be planned heavily in advance... The website itself was becoming dated and functionality that had been on our wishlist for some time still wasn’t progressing.”

Adding products, creating content, launching new sales and promotions were all being held back by the workflow of their existing site. It wasn’t a matter of technical expertise either, they just didn’t have the tools to do what they needed to do. The business itself was held hostage by the very platform they used to reach their customers.

Besides being inaccessible to employees, there was a deeper lack of functionality. Even when they could arrange development time to release updates, they couldn’t always accomplish the things they needed.
For a store as large as GLTC, there were a number of tools missing from their businesses toolkit when it came to selling online. Not having these tools held their online sales and their business back.

  • Guest checkout
  • Third-party payment integrations
  • AB testing capability
  • Product sets
  • Product collection options
  • Sale and discount notifications

Picking a new platform

Starting out on a new technology platform is not such a big deal. For an established store with thousands of products and a decade worth of order and customer history, things get complicated.

“It was really important to us that we found a platform that could improve on our basic functionality and give us the freedom to grow.”

There were several keys that helped Shopify Plus stand out from the other options:

  • The quality of the core Shopify service
  • Stable hosting that could stand up to traffic surges, especially during Blue Friday/Cyber Monday
  • No worries about managing servers or security issues
  • Able to handle not only the volume of traffic, but the volume of orders and number of SKUs that GLTC faced
  • Instant upgrades- No waiting for developer availability, no worrying about incompatibility
  • The freedom and scope of the platform that allowed them to take their customer experience in a new direction
  • The flexibility and control that Shopify Plus offers working processes and the site itself

The bottom line was that Shopify Plus stood out for it’s usability, flexibility, and high quality core product. GLTC wanted a new platform that was going to work the way they needed, when they needed.

Choosing a partner

Shopify Plus is the most accessible ecommerce platform on the market, but Jamie knew that to get the results he wanted for the company, he would need outside expertise, saying “We knew early on that we wanted to do a bespoke web design and add in new functionality and for that we would need Shopify experts - it was way out of our capabilities.”

For a company as large as GLTC, a simple redesign wasn’t enough. They needed a partner who could help them through a major transition with several complicated moving parts:

  • Bespoke site design that reflected the brand and product range while driving sales across multiple product collections
  • Data migration including hundreds of products, thousands of customers, and a decade of order history
  • Integration with GLTC’s own warehouse, as well as other suppliers and dropshippers
  • Integration with multiple analytics providers and marketing partners
  • In-depth Google Tag Manager integration
“We always knew it would be a long term project and for us it’s important to have a relationship with our agencies, so the team themselves and their personalities were important.”

How we helped GLTC

  • Research and discovery process
  • Design and wireframing Custom build
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Large scale data migration

Like all of our clients, we wanted to make sure we were creating a high-converting beautiful site. We connect with our clients and want them to succeed. To accomplish that, we took GLTC through a data-backed design process.

“We appointed Underwaterpistol to do a UX audit for us, which was extremely valuable. Their expertise were able to highlight pitfalls of our current website that we hadn’t noticed and they gave us a list of quick wins for the new wireframes.”

UX and design

Research and planning are too often overlooked when designing websites. Many think that making a website look good is all that matters. While it helps to be pretty, user experience is what drives revenue for online stores.

How does the site function? Does it work well for its intended purpose and audience? Working together, UWP and GLTC carried out extensive user testing that uncovered potential problems in their existing site.

Focus groups showed that consumers needed better navigation and product sorting options. Heatmaps and analytics data brought more insight into how visitors were using the site.

Trading copy-heavy pages for a more visual focused layout and cleaner, clearer use of text made the new site layout more effective and easier to use.

Mobile Design

With such a large amount of users coming from mobile devices everything had to be carefully considered on mobile. The design needed to be able to handle not only the volume of traffic, but the large number of SKUs the store stocks.

Data Migration

Hundreds of products with variants. Thousands of customer accounts. 10 years of B2B and B2C order history, complete with notes, discounts, and shipping specifications.

Some stores can do DIY data migration when they replatform, but for GLTC, that was never an option. There was simply too much critical data, and the migration had to work. There was not only data within Shopify, but CRM data, warehouse and third-party distributor systems, and other third-party systems and tools.

“This was a big project. We assigned Underwaterpistol to manage this for us and transfer files over in chunks, with their existing order notes, order IDs and history. It was a challenge but all possible and meant that we didn’t lose any data.”

Working with Shopify Plus developers, we established a plan to make the data migration as smooth as possible.

First, product data was moved from Magento into the Shopify ecosystem Each product has several data points that had to be carefully transitioned:

  • Descriptions
  • Images
  • Sizes
  • Variations
  • Tags
  • Metadata
  • Vendors

Once products were in place on the new site, we were ready for customer data:

  • Names Account ids and passwords Emails
  • Contact and shipping information
  • Associated third-party data

After customer data was migrated, it had to be reconciled to make sure that everything was accurate and formatted so that it could be recognised by Shopify’s systems and third-party partners. Multiple addresses, duplicate accounts, and dead emails all had to be removed or reconciled.

To bring existing customers into the new system, they would have to activate their account and set a new password.

Once products and customer data were in place, it was time to move the extensive order history for each customer:

  • Purchase histories
  • Order notes
  • Discounts, Vendor tagging
  • Currently active orders


Great Little Trading Company can finally work the way they want to do. They have the freedom to create the site they want to represent their brand. There is no more waiting for developer availability to update products, no more being held back by limited functionality.

Beyond a better workflow and more freedom, the numbers show that the new site is easier and more engaging for customers. Conversion rates are up and customers are spending more time on the site browsing products.


conversion rate increases


increase in total conversions


drop in bounce rate due to broken pages and faster load


increase in pages viewed per session


drop in bounce rate for organic search traffic