We have been very happy with our cooperation with Columbia Road. The scalable ecommerce solution they provided us enables us to respond quickly to consumer demand and expand to new markets in a matter of days - without compromising the Moomin brand. Jonas Forth, Head of Digital, Moomin
The Moomin brand is familiar across the world, with many devoted fans of the stories, films, and much-loved characters. With such a powerful and recognisable brand, Moomin were looking for a partner who could ensure that there is just one immersive Moomin ecommerce experience no matter where you are in the world.
To protect the fan-favorite characters, the Moomin graphical guidelines, brand, and visual design needed to be applied accurately in a digital and ecommerce context. The sales channel had to work in synergy with the storytelling, with the webshop integrated seamlessly into the Moomin web presence – the challenge was to maintain the storytelling without pushing sales, while still being a highly functional webshop with an enviable conversion rate.
As the brand is global, the ecommerce team at Moomin were also looking for a better way to scale to multiple markets, ensuring all ecommerce best practices are followed. To do all this, they turned to Columbia Road.
The Moomin ecommerce team was already using Shopify, so to ease any learning curve we were keen to stay with technology they were already familiar with. We also wanted our solution to be easily maintainable by a small team.
There are different approaches to building a webshop on Shopify, with some very standard templates built for pure ecommerce. For this project it was important to maintain the iconic Moomin branding elements and storytelling, so we selected an existing Shopify theme that provided our most critical features while still allowing us plenty of scope for customisation. We then built on top of this theme with the additional elements required to meet our storytelling needs, working closely with Kobra, the agency responsible for the Moomin branding and visual design. This saved us a lot of development time and simplifies future site maintenance without compromising on functionality or appearance.
Although ecommerce is always global, customers are by definition local, so some of the buying experience – such as the payment methods, product reviews, and delivery methods – needed to be tailored for each market. We took an approach of applying what we’ve learned globally to every new store, then making adjustments based on local market needs, with every site using the local language and its own URL to gain SEO benefits.
Our services included:
The Moomin global ecommerce site is now live, as are the UK and German country sites, with a third local site due to launch very soon. Our first shop took about 55 days to be fully complete, our second took 10, and the third we launched in just three days. Now we have a theme-based approach that means we can launch a store in a new market anywhere in the world in just a few days.
We are continuing to support Moomin as their ecommerce partner, helping them to build and scale to new markets. Because of our groundwork, it is now faster, simpler, and cheaper for Moomin to enter a new market, allowing the company to scale quickly in response to consumer demand.
Although the project was carried out 100% remotely due to Covid, we have worked very closely together as one team, with open and transparent communication channels, daily stand-ups, and weekly sprints. We have also provided extensive, non-technical documentation with a step-by-step guide to launching a new ecommerce site to help the Moomin ecommerce team continue the work. In addition to this, we are still providing an extra pair of hands and answering any questions the Moomin team may have, and are looking forward to creating new stories together in the future.
The Moomins are a family of white trolls that were brought to life in the books and illustrations of creator Tove Jansson. Now, the Moomin brand is one of the most recognizable in the world, with over 700 licensees worldwide and an annual retail value of over EUR 750 million. Moomin Characters Oy Ltd, a family company founded in 1958, are responsible for Moomin copyright and licensing around the world, with everything from toys to books, mugs, and accessories available from the online shop.