Empowering Unbound with flexibility and scalability on Shopify Plus

Increase in conversion rate


annual operational savings


increase in AOV









Shopify Plus






Unbound is the world’s only book publisher to use crowdfunding, giving budding authors the tools and support to bring their ideas to life.

However, the growing business found themselves constrained by an outdated, custom-built website that had become too quirky for external developers to work on. This hindered their ability to introduce new features swiftly, adapt the site for their mobile-focussed audience, and integrate with vital social commerce platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

Unbound’s focus was disproportionately on maintaining the existing system rather than innovating, which stifled growth. They needed a new website that could seamlessly marry the functionality of robust ecommerce with the unique demands of their crowdfunding business.


We built Unbound’s headless website on Shopify Plus, which provides a robust, customisable platform to accommodate their complex ecommerce demands.

This transition was underpinned by an in-depth UX audit, aimed at harmonising the site's appeal to both book buyers and authors seeking crowdfunding. The upgraded customer journey resulted in a huge +400% boost in conversion rate and a +15% increase in average order value.

Migrating to Shopify Plus also yielded significant operational and financial efficiencies for Unbound, notably eliminating the need for a dedicated in-house development team. This strategic move saves Unbound approximately $200,000 annually and facilitates further investment in ongoing development and feature enhancements at a fraction of previous costs.


Unbound’s unique business model enables readers to support authors’ projects through crowdfunding, rewarding pledgers with experiences ranging from pre-ordered books to exclusive author events.

After years on a bespoke, inflexible Ruby on Rails platform, Unbound joined forces with Underwaterpistol to migrate to and excel their growth on Shopify Plus, the platform they selected for its scalability, customisation flexibility and carbon neutrality.

We chose a headless website architecture that utilises Shopify Plus for the frontend to meet Unbound’s complex requirements, particularly around showcasing crowdfunding campaigns and their progress. We also introduced a new visual identity for the site which enhances user engagement and site interaction.

Unbound’s new site provides the team with the agility to quickly adapt and implement new features that enable authors and readers to connect in more meaningful ways. The transition also led to considerable financial benefits, with a 30% reduction in the total cost of ownership compared to the expenses associated with maintaining their previous infrastructure.

With an ongoing design and development retainer, Unbound is poised for continuous innovation and growth.

“We have built more new features in the past 3 months working with UWP than the past 24 months with our in-house team. This in itself has been a huge cost saving.”

Wil Harris, CEO, Unbound