Bags and accessories made from truck tarpaulins and other sustainable materials—with this upcycling concept, the Zurich-based company FREITAG has successfully positioned itself in the market. Each item is unique and has its own story. This is why it was important for the company to provide an outstanding digital shopping experience for customers.
FREITAG also wanted to highlight the unique stories and emotions behind the bags—and to do so as sustainably as possible.
With Platform.sh—a central platform that lets you create highly scalable websites and apps at a low cost—this is exactly what happened. It gives developers flexibility for an optimal sales approach and also helps them improve their CO2 footprint, which is incredibly important for sustainability.
In 1993, the brothers and graphic designers Markus and Daniel Freitag were both searching for a functional, sturdy, and water-repellent bag with which they could transport their designs by bike and keep them dry at the same time. Inspired by the heavy traffic that rumbled through the Zurich transit intersection in front of their apartment, they developed a shoulder bag made from used truck tarpaulins, discarded bike inner tubes, and car seatbelts. The company FREITAG was born.
Today, the bag manufacturer operates 30 FREITAG stores and works with more than 300 resellers to delight people throughout the world with their recycled products. From backpacks to wallets, every FREITAG product is repurposed, but also unique. This uniqueness provides additional value for customers.
However, it presented the online shop with major challenges during the development of its website. This is because every FREITAG product resonates with its own story and emotion. And that was something that had to be communicated.
Distinctive products present major challenges for the online shop
In attempting to establish an online shop, FREITAG initially decided on an out-of-the-box ecommerce solution.
"However, this solution was unable to express the uniqueness of our product offering," remembers FREITAG Product Owner Sarah Mauerhofer. "Our content creators had to work with a highly inflexible CMS tool. As a result, they had no option for connecting the products with their special stories or for communicating the emotions associated with them."
This is why FREITAG decided to work with the Swiss digital agency Liip. For the website design, Liip initially suggested Drupal Commerce, the open-source platform that offers the flexibility necessary for combining a traditional web catalog with enhanced elements. This way the products could be linked to their individual background stories.
FREITAG had initially hosted its own server platform, but due to its outdated infrastructure, supplying the products took too long, as did performing updates. This resulted in long downtimes.So, Liip searched for a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) with dedicated Drupal support. Platform.sh quickly turned out to be an optimal solution.
"Platform.sh fits perfectly within FREITAG's strategy," explains Tonio Zemp, Digital Expert and Product Owner at Liip. "We needed a platform that was as stable as it was flexible for quickly integrating new features into the live environment, for modifying and for testing. We recommended a simple, sturdy infrastructure with low fixed costs so that FREITAG could focus its investments on testing and adapting features. This allowed them to create a sustained and vibrant live environment. Platform.sh was the best option for achieving these goals."
A new level of customer satisfaction
From that point on, FREITAG no longer had to worry about constantly developing its web technology. Platform.sh now takes care of that for them. The PaaS provider regularly updates its platform and constantly integrates the most advanced developer tools. For customers, the benefits are considerable:
A better customer experience: Since then, FREITAG can completely focus on the customer experience, and in addition, share its unique product stories with customers—instead of worrying about infrastructure. This has been well-received by customers. Sarah Mauerhofer says: "Our customers leave us very positive feedback on our website says, for both the desktop and mobile experiences."
Scalable at any time: The FREITAG website can now be scaled whenever necessary. This means that FREITAG is well-prepared for every seasonal rush. "Our website traffic increases by about 20 to 30 percent in November and December. Thanks to Platform.sh, our website's stability was ensured at all times, quickly, and without any issues," explains Sarah Mauerhofer.
The Platform.sh option not only provides Mauerhofer and her team with assurance and security. It also enables FREITAG to inform its customers about initiatives such as S.W.A.P. (Shopping Without Any Payment). S.W.A.P. encourages customers to swap old FREITAG products with other FREITAG fans who have the same soft spot for the brand and its mission.
Reduction of maintenance costs: Because the website is best-equipped for every rush, even peaks are becoming non-events for our support team. Altogether, FREITAG has been able to halve its maintenance costs through its collaboration with Platform.sh.
Increase in conversion rate: Another indicator has improved as well. "We were able to increase the conversion rate by a full 25 percent," explains Sarah Mauerhofer.
"FREITAG has had great experiences with Platform.sh,” Sarah continues. “We were always very satisfied with their support and operating hours. Whenever a problem did emerge, however, Platform.sh was always there to find solutions and ensure that stability was maintained."
"In terms of sustainability as well, FREITAG and Platform.sh are a great fit for one another," adds Mathieu Strauch, Regional Manager, Business Development at Platform.sh. "Like FREITAG, Platform.sh prioritizes sustainability and is one of the first platform providers to not only concern itself with its own CO2 footprint—it really makes the effort to reduce those of its customers as well. We do this by increasing efficiency and productivity. Independent audits have confirmed these figures for us. That is why we are especially happy about being able to support customers like FREITAG who place a premium on sustainability."