Omaze is the idea you wish you’d had, and the competition you’re desperate to win. Since 2012, they’ve been making headlines for their ground-breaking, philanthropic business. So, what’s the deal? Quite simply, you buy a ticket for their prize draw, a portion of the money goes to charity, and you could end up the lucky owner of a million pound house (or a Range Rover, or £10,000 in cash). 

But it’s not just the concept that makes Omaze unique; it’s their website set-up too. Read on to find out how we at Underwaterpistol help them push the boundaries of Shopify Plus.

  • Services
  • Internationalisation
  • UX
  • Design
  • Development
  • SEO
  • Email
  • Launchpad
  • Technology
  • Shopify Plus
  • Klaviyo
  • Optimizely
  • Trustpilot
  • AWS
  • Terraform
  • 8m monthly US visits
  • $27m raised for charity in 2021
  • 6462 winners from the Omaze community


When Omaze first approached us, they’d already established themselves in the US, and they were ready to take the UK by storm with their unmissable prize draws. Challenge one was building trust and credibility around the brand in a new market, ensuring users understood their charitable efforts by embedding crucial trust cues.


Challenge two was making those trust cues work alongside an avant garde site build; one that breaks the rules of traditional ecommerce – both in terms of the UX and the development. Customers aren’t buying new shoes or headphones; they’re buying a ticket and donating to charity. This becomes trickier still when multiple tickets, free entry promotions and gamification elements come into play. 

And that brings us to challenge three: securely passing ticket purchase data to a prize-drawing system. This technology had to be automated and air-tight to meet legal requirements. So, in summary, our goal was to:

  • Launch a new Omaze site in the UK. 
  • Build brand trust amongst UK customers.
  • Create a store that supports prize draws. 
  • And ensure all data is handled legally. 


With the understanding that this was not your run-of-the-mill ecommerce store, we pulled together a schedule of workshops to proactively tackle the challenges ahead. 

The first port of call was identifying the core personas. Who was likely to enter the house prize draw, and what did Omaze need to do to align their brand values with the audience? 

Once these details had been established, the user journeys and funnels could be created, allowing us to move into the next phase of implementation: UX design.

UX Design

Our design team created various wireframes and concepts; each one tackling a different stumbling block in the user journeys we had identified. Our focus here was on making the path to purchase feel quick, clear and concise, while also encouraging a higher average order value (AOV). 

Building trust

Then, in order to drive high quality traffic to the checkout, custom landing pages were built for Omaze’s charity partners. This bolstered the trust signals to deliver an influx of new prize draw entries. And with dynamic checkout links in place, there was no need for a Shopify instance on the charity site.  

Finally, to encourage early bird sign-ups, monthly and weekly prizes were drawn, where users could win anything from £1,000 in cash to a brand new car. The user-generated content (UGC) gained from these winners was repurposed across marketing channels and on the site to further improve trust signals for the Omaze experience. 

Full stack development

Our development team built a robust database infrastructure and prize drawing system. This was designed to follow strict guidelines that would ensure the system was lawfully compliant and secure. 

The goal was to make sure it could be used for all future Omaze campaigns, and would be able to manage high volumes of traffic. This was put to the test when one campaign led to over 10 million entries in just two days. A dynamic queuing system was put in place to ensure orders didn’t fail, and the traffic spike didn’t overload the system. 

The development team also built in strict rulesets to ensure each entry was eligible. This allowed every entry to be spam-checked and ensured the prize draw was fair to all entrants. 

When it’s time to draw a winner, a script is launched and all identifying data is removed and encrypted. This ensures that no personal data is in danger of being breached, and nobody can interfere with the draw. 

Email marketing

Email marketing played a pivotal role in the Omaze user journey. First, our marketing team iterated and tested the automated flows built out in Klaviyo. Then, the flows were optimised, with one of the most effective features being the addition of custom dynamic checkout links. 

These links within the emails would take the user straight to checkout, where they could amend their cart and add voucher codes to their order. This worked especially well for the abandoned cart flow, where customers were offered the chance to double everything in their cart for free – a deal no one wants to miss. 

And, because the dynamic link for this offer took the user straight to checkout, it meant they didn’t have to repeat the user journey. The result? A frictionless shopping experience. 

These dynamic links were utilised in every one of Omaze’s automated campaigns, offering different functions tailored to the segment a user was in. 

Scheduled promotions with Shopify Launchpad

Timing is everything for Omaze. When new prizes go live, their PR, social media and paid media promotions all kick in at the same time. That’s why every campaign launch needs to happen at exactly the right time on their website – especially for their smaller, weekly draws, which draw a loyal following. 

For this reason, Omaze uses Launchpad – a Shopify Plus exclusive feature – which enables to-the-second scheduling on those weekly draws. We worked with them to adapt the plug-in when they released a second house prize draw, ensuring maximum impact when aligning promotions also went live.

Speed optimisation and video rendering

Site speed isn’t just crucial to the user experience; it’s also a key ranking factor in Google’s latest algorithm. With heavy traffic to contend with, speed could be a problem for Omaze. However, we put measures in place to make sure their site would load at a faster pace. 

Because the site is platformed with Shopify Plus, the server side was taken care of, and was able to handle a large volume of concurrent checkout requests. Our job was to make sure Omaze’s custom theme could load quickly and efficiently, too. This meant optimising content – including their show-stopping video on the landing page. 

Videos are notoriously slow to load on mobile devices, but the content plays a pivotal role in Omaze’s on-site experience. So, to make sure the site would still be speedy, our developers created several compressed versions of the video. This meant, depending on the device the user was browsing the site on, an optimised version of the video would load.

Custom reporting

Any successful ecommerce business understands that data is crucial to their day-to-day operations – and Omaze is no different. They sought help from our development team to build out customised reporting, which would enhance their data analytics and allow them to fine-tune future campaigns. 

One such report required manipulating the Sales by SKU data to calculate the split between the charities on each order. This allowed the charities and Omaze to be able to calculate donations quickly and efficiently. 

An anti-gambling report was also generated automatically to check if a user had made more than three transactions in a 24-hour period, or used more than three different credit cards to enter a draw. Any errant behaviour was then automatically flagged and sent to the gambling safe-guarding team at Omaze. 


Once the UK site was live, Omaze then commissioned our developers to build an additional series of campaigns to follow the live one. These included a US house draw campaign, which was built for a US audience and existed separately from their main US site. 

We also worked with Omaze to create a multi-house draw campaign. This ran in the UK and gave entrants the chance to win one of several houses throughout the country. (Cotswolds mansion, anyone?)

During each campaign, we offered Omaze continued development, CRO, UX, and SEO support, so we could iterate and enhance their offering. 

SMS marketing

After achieving success with their email marketing, Omaze wanted to explore new ways of providing their users with a more tailored journey and encouraging customers to come back to the site in the future. We introduced the team to Yotpo SMSBump, which Omaze evaluated as an effective channel to reach out to their customers with personalised, results-driven text messaging.

Omaze had a very clear idea of how they wanted to utilise SMSBump’s features, which involved expanding beyond the existing options and rebuilding the Yotpo forms to suit the customer journey they’d already set up. We introduced an SMS sign-up form to their thank you page (to avoid impacting the conversion at checkout), allowing Omaze to deliver post-purchase messages to their customers. 

Because Omaze are on Shopify Plus, we were able to amend the checkout customisation process, pre-filling the customer’s email and phone fields based on previously submitted data. This was a key goal to ensure ease of use for the customer by removing friction and making sure they don’t have to resubmit any data. We set up a welcome flow that’s activated when someone subscribes, and also an abandoned cart flow. 

SMS proved to be a low cost, high return marketing channel. The plan going forward is to continue to make the most of this exciting channel and expand on the use of SMS.


Since launching the original house draw site in the UK, we have exceeded conversion targets and KPIs, leading to a long-standing relationship with Omaze. We’re now working with them on new, exciting projects and campaigns, and will continue to help them propel their business with CRO, SEO and site development. 

Overall, the harmonious working relationship between Underwaterpistol and Omaze has led to some game-changing results that have helped to bolster fundraising for The Teenage Cancer Trust and The British Heart Foundation, and more.