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SimiCart – Case Study

How SimiCart Brings Major Growth & Success with Cloudways

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In Conversation With

Max Ta
CEO

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The Agency Background

Founded in 2013, SimiCart is a well-known Magento solution provider and Google-recognized PWA development agency with many good things going for them. Two of these are their ability to constantly come up with new ideas to compete, and going all-in on their ideas without fear.

Cloudways: How did you first hear about Cloudways? Was there one major problem or tipping point that caused you to switch to Cloudways. How did Cloudways fix this for you?

Max: Cloudways came up in our search for a reliable hosting solution. And after hearing good words about Cloudways from our friends and partners, we decided to give the cloud hosting solution a shot.

The major problem that we were facing in our previous hosting solution was speed. It was slow during peak hours, and Cloudways helped solve this with their top-of-the-line infrastructures.

Cloudways: Before Cloudways, which hosting solution did you use?

Max: Prior to Cloudways, we were using our own in-house servers. They were sufficient for our needs, but as the scale of our business grew, we found we needed another hosting solution to help delegate the load. Cloudways fits into that need perfectly.

Cloudways: Why did you opt for Magento when there are several great ecommerce platforms in the market?

Max: We’ve always been interested in Magento. The community is the best there is, and the platform is only getting better as the days go by. To tell you the truth, we find the platform to be severely underutilized—especially since the advent of Magento PWA Studio which means merchants can now have limitlessly scalable, flexible PWA storefronts.

Cloudways: What thought/creative process do you follow when creating a Magento store?

Max: When developing a new headless Magento PWA storefront for our clients, we try to place our customers’ needs as the centerpiece of our plans. This way, we can get more done, and our customers are more satisfied with the results.

Cloudways: What was your experience like with Cloudways when you first signed up? Please tell us about first impressions.

Max: It was pretty effortless how the whole initial experience turned out. Signing up takes no time at all, and Cloudways was very supportive and responsive in the way they treated our first project.

Cloudways: In your opinion, what sets us apart from other hosting providers? How has our hosting stack for the Magento application made matters easier for you?

We think it’s the reliability. With Cloudways, it’s a matter of entrusting the server works to you guys and not having to worry about a thing. Our experience has been rock solid, and it’s what we want from a hosting provider.
Max says
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Cloudways: How has Cloudways contributed to the success of your agency? Tell us about how Cloudways’ features align with your needs.

As we provide solutions for Magento merchants, Cloudways is the perfect fit for us. Varnish and Elasticsearch are built-in, and we can get a new server deployed in a matter of minutes.
Max says
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Cloudways: How SimiCart Utilized Cloudways to Transform a Major Project?

In this case study, we have the CEO of SimiCart shares the role of Cloudways in a recent project of theirs—the Al-Bahar project, and how both solutions worked together to transform the old Al-Bahar website.

About Al-Bahar

Al-Bahar is a Kuwait-based brand dealing in a wide variety of FMCG products, electronics, office equipment-related products from world-famous brands like Unilever, GE, Al Alali and many more.

Addressing Al-Bahar concerns

Al-Bahar came to SimiCart with a number of concerns, and most of them were certainly not easy to address. Here’s a list of the main issues with the old Al-Bahar website:

Speed: the old Al-Bahar website suffered from major speed issues due to both insufficient hosting solution and a lackluster Content Management System (CMS).

Stability: there were severe downtimes, along with occasional DDoS attacks that rendered the website paralyzed for hours on end.

Infrastructure: the old Al-Bahar website was based on Magento 1 which had come to its EOL.

Given the huge scale of their website, Al-Bahar was particularly concerned about the risk involved in migrating their backend to a more up-to-date version, considering that the migration—while introducing several benefits like performance improvements and better support—could potentially introduce data corruption and other incompatibility issues. Rest assured, it seems Al-Bahar was in good hands.

The Solution

Al-Bahar entrusted SimiCart, their solution provider of choice, to offer them with answers. From first glance, it was clear that the website needed to go through a major overhaul—on both its frontend and backend. Here’s what SimiCart proposed:

On the frontend: rebuild into a headless Magento PWA using Magento PWA Studio

On the backend: migrate existing Magento 1 backend to Magento 2

With this clear action plan, the brand would get to keep all the data from their old Magento 1 backend while still enjoying all the benefits that come with a headless PWA storefront. These benefits include better speed, more flexibility, improved scalability, and just overall a more enjoyable experience for the customers.

On the server-side, as an advanced frontend technology like Magento PWA requires very specific server requirements, SimiCart needed a cutting-edge hosting solution to pair with it. Naturally, Cloudways was it. After going back and forth between Cloudways and their client to figure out the proper course of action, SimiCart decided to go with Cloudways’ DigitalOcean server, as it fulfilled everything the client—Al-Bahar—needed to keep going for years to come.

The chosen server has a 5TB bandwidth, 160GB storage, 8GB RAM, along with a plethora of benefits such as Auto-Healing Servers, Multiple Databases, Optimized Stack with Advanced Cache, Seamless Vertical Scaling, etc.

The Results

A project of this scale, SimiCart shared, was certainly not easy to deal with. The company had to take extra precautions to preserve data from the current database. And to top it off, since PWA is an entirely new frontend experience, extra work was required to rebuild Al-Bahar’s existing features (e.g., Tap Payment and Auto Related Products) into the new storefront. Fortunately enough, the results made all this effort worth it.

al-bahar_PWA

The immediate benefit, as Al-Bahar found, was that their frontend experience was now drastically different. Everything was fast and smooth. Page-loads were not an issue anymore thanks to PWA’s enhanced caching machines (i.e. service worker). This combined with Cloudways’ built-in Varnish cache to speed up the delivery of content, resulted in website performance that satisfied Al-Bahar beyond their expectations.

In terms of looks, calling it an overhaul would be an understatement. The website’s frontend has been revamped to become more app-like, more engaging, which means catering to the mobile audience that take up the majority of Al-Bahar’s customer base. As a result, Al-Bahar reports a significantly higher mobile purchase conversion rate, and mobile cart abandonment rate has been drastically reduced.

al-bahar_PWA

Closing Thoughts with SimiCart

Cloudways: How did the security process go with Cloudways?

Max: When it comes to security, Cloudways delivers beyond expectations. 1-click Let’s Encrypt SSL makes it effortless for SimiCart to meet PWA security requirements (HTTPS). On top of that, there are dedicated, OS-level firewalls to provide an additional level of security for the new website. With all these layers of security in place, Al-Bahar can now confidently venture into the future without a care.

Cloudways: What are your thoughts on Cloudways caching & other server technologies (like Varnish, Elasticsearch and Redis?) How impactful are they for Magento 2.x applications and PWA projects?

Max: They’re vital for our Magento applications. Built-in Elasticsearch and Varnish are just what we need to make our deployment process more streamlined.

Cloudways: Out of five cloud providers available on Cloudways which one(s) do you prefer to use and why?

Max: We prefer DigitalOcean as we think they provide a reliable solution for the price.

Cloudways: What features or improvements do you want to see in the future at Cloudways?

Max: Honestly, we can’t think of any.

Cloudways: If you could briefly describe the values you perceive from Cloudways?

Max: Rock-solid reliability and good performance.

Do you think that by switching to Cloudways, you were able to free up resources at your end? If yes, how were you able to utilize those?

Max: Absolutely, yeah. Cloudways frees us of the server-related headaches that we used to have to deal with, and lets us focus on delivering better customer experiences for our clients.

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