As the ammunition industry continues to fluctuate, there is one place with consistent pricing – Miwall Corp. They started out producing and selling their own rounds at gun shows, but have since grown to also offering top brands at low prices online and at shows. Their main focus has always been to sell quality products at the lowest possible prices. To keep costs at a minimum for their customers, they avoided establishing a brick and mortar store.
The Problem: Switching to Ecommerce
Since Miwall Corp originally started off selling only at Gun Shows, their website’s main function was to relay to customers which shows they would be attending. After some time, they realized they had the opportunity to significantly grow their business by transitioning to ecommerce. Since they have built up a fairly large inventory, this was going to take a lot of patience and collaborative work.
Gun Ammunition has various laws across states, restricting age and licensing. This would cause online sales to be heavily reviewed to ensure they abide by the regulations. Luckily, IntuitSolutions has experience dealing with high risk ecommerce. Although these experiences have been generally in the Vape, CBD and Cannabis industry, we remain one of the leading experts for ecommerce compliance and custom integrations.
The Solution: Fully Custom Website
After reaching out to IntuitSolutions, Miwall Corp accepted a package for a Custom BigCommerce Website with Custom Integrations. While they worked on setting up the basics of their storefront, we took to the drawing board to begin a custom website design. After a few rounds of revisions, the design was approved and development began.
Custom High Risk Website
As previously mentioned, Miwall Corp’s product offerings are considered high risk, which means our emphasis is placed on compliance while also enhancing usability.
High Risk Checkout
To achieve full compliance during checkout, Shipper HQ was installed. This app allows Miwall Corp to control the functions on their website that approve customers to checkout or not. By creating shipping rules based on location, customers can proceed with their purchase or receive further instructions. States such as New Jersey and Connecticut need further documentation verification, while Washington DC and Massachusetts do not allow shipments at all. For states like New Jersey and Connecticut, once the documentation has been received and approved, Miwall Corp then places the customer in an appropriate customer group allowing them to finalize their purchase.
Customer Group Product Restrictions
Miwall Corp also took advantage of BigCommerce’s native customer group functionality for a whole section of their site dedicated to Law Enforcement. The customer group based products are shown or hidden based on your customer group placement. Learn more about this later in the case study. One neat extra customization added to the website is that once a customer is approved as a Law Enforcement customer and is logged in, all of the details on the website change from orange to blue.
Custom Product Fields
Miwall Corps website pulls from product custom fields for various customizations. The first is to showcase the rounds per case available on the product cards displayed on several pages. This customization helps SEO by adding more information to the product for the search engine to pull from. It also helps with user experience, which in turns helps SEO, by displaying necessary information in an organized fashion to help the customer cut down on the amount of clicking.
The second use is for bulk purchasing. In conjunction with interval pricing, the custom field shows not only how many rounds per case, but also how many cases per set or box. IntuitSolutions customised a dropdown that only allows customers to purchase in specific set amounts. This customization can be enabled on individual products or whole categories. Again, these custom fields help provide customers with more information which reduces the amount of time spent searching for information.
B2B & B2C
Miwall Corp is a hybrid of a B2B and B2C company. They sell standard ammunition to individuals, wholesale to distributors, and also sell in bulk to Law Enforcement Agencies around the country. Typically a company leans one way or another but Miwall Corp has almost an even split because of their contemplative base pricing and wholesale discount rates.
One of the most prominent markets for ammunition is Law Enforcement, so it would be foolish to not offer products tailored to their needs. Since there are various types of ammo that are only available for official use, it is important that the general public does not have access to them. To do so, IntuitSolutions set up a Law Enforcement section of the website that utilizes BigCommerce’s native customer groups. It is similar to the rest of the site, but pricing is hidden until you are logged in and approved as a law enforcement personnel which will then allow you to purchase items. To become an approved buyer, you must fill out a form powered by JotForm which allows applicants to upload IDs and other documentation.
The decision was made to keep this section visible but not purchasable because it allows LE customers to continue to shop and compare products while waiting to be approved. That way once they are approved, they already know what products they want to purchase and can quickly checkout.
Custom Integration for Browsing
The ammunition industry can be very competitive since there is often a limited supply of premium ammo available at a low cost. Many consumers take to third party sites to find the best prices for their product of interest. One of the most widely used sites is Ammo Seek, they are essentially the Google of the ammo industry. To get your products listed on this site, you need access to a developer that can set up your ecommerce store to sync live product inventory data with Ammo Seek.
IntuitSolutions developed an integration to pull Miwall Corp’s BigCommerce products into Ammo Seek along with all of the necessary information. The integration does this by querying the BigCommerce API for all product data and looks at any information AmmoSeek requires (like bullets per case, casing type, caliber, etc). Then it formats it into an XML feed that Ammo Seek checks every few minutes. The feed is updated as close to the live store as possible to keep pricing and stock consistent.
As mentioned, Miwall Corp is new to ecommerce, so learning proper selling techniques and general setup would take some time. Between having excellent BigCommerce Reps and IntuitSolutions’ specialized teams, Miwall Corp was able to quickly learn the ins and outs of ecommerce and selling high risk online. BigCommerce was able to answer any general questions about the platform and its functionality, while IntuitSolutions was able to help enhance features and focus on SEO amongst other details.
While developing the site, IntuitSolutions and Miwall Corp worked together to continue to promote their show schedule while adding SEO content centered around it. Since Miwall Corp’s original website was used to promote their show schedules, it was important for them to still exhibit this and their ecommerce products simultaneously. To do so, there is a section of the main menu dedicated to the show schedule along with a content section on the homepage. These pages and sections add an additional layer of content and linking to help their SEO in a different market.
After the launch of their website, Miwall Corp joined IntuitSolutions for a BigCommmerce Site Optimization & Support services retainer. We were able to complete a foundation review of the company and website consisting of title and meta description review, backlink profile review, and a site audit. We were able to find small areas that needed improvements which would help their overall SEO. In addition to the foundations, we have been able to update the blog layout to be highly user friendly, contain more tags and have keyword focus. We also integrated the Disqus app for post commenting. This allows customers and readers to easily interact with the company and their posts. These interactions and the content within them help to boost SEO.
After their launch in March, Miwall Corp was ready to watch the sales pour in. Being a brand new ecommerce store, there was a bit of a slow start, but once the Ammo Seek integration fully kicked in, there was an immediate boost in sales. With such a competitive market it was clear that this integration would help set them apart from their competitors. With a heavy focus on SEO, their organic traffic has also seen a significant increase. Miwall Corp is glad they switched to ecommerce when they did because their business has seen nothing except exponential growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Looking to grow your business or in need of a custom integration? Contact IntuitSolutions by chatting or call us at 1-866-901-4650 today.