increase in orders
increase in site visits
increase in revenue
Performance metrics compare April 2022 through July 2022.
Sam McGee, President of Green Egg Design, Professor at University of Hartford, and inventor of The Beer Bat, was looking for an untapped market to start a new entrepreneurial adventure — and he didn’t have to look far. “I just looked out my window at my office and there it was,” he said, pointing to the baseball field outside his window where the Hartford Yard Goats play.
“I did some research and found that all 8,000 people in that stadium are drinking — 48% drink beer, and the other 42% are drinking non-alcoholic beverages,” he explained. In 2018, he met with the team’s owner and pitched his idea of a souvenir cup, and thus The Beer Bat was born.
The Beer Bat’s initial debut was a sell out — literally. With two more games left in the season, the Yard Goats ordered another round — and sold out again. Then, teams around the country began calling to place their orders.
“We went from producing bats for one team to making bats for 27 minor league teams all around the country,” McGee said. Since their founding in 2018, they’ve expanded into the Major Leagues, as well as leagues in Canada, Mexico, Japan, and South Korea.
With this speedy and massive expansion, they needed an ecommerce platform that could keep pace with their rapidly expanding business.
“We started on Shopify, but we outgrew them in a couple of weeks,” he said with a laugh. “Then the next platform we tried was WooCommerce. It was nice, but it didn’t have the flexibility we needed. We also didn’t like the fact that we needed a developer to build out the functionality we wanted. We needed a solution that was easy to set up and delivered speed.”
They also needed a solution that could scale with the business as it grew into new markets. “We knew we wanted to grow into multiple markets,” McGee said. “We wanted to have a wholesale side of the business as well as retail, and finding a platform that made that possible was key.”
“We started on Shopify, but we outgrew them in a couple of weeks.”
Sam McGee, President, The Beer Bat
As McGee explored his options, two platforms stood out: Salesforce Commerce Cloud and BigCommerce. But in the end, he chose BigCommerce because it gave him a more realistic view for his growing business.
“We got a lot of pie in the sky from Salesforce, but we were never going to be big enough for them,” McGee explained. “With BigCommerce, there was a more human experience. We got a more realistic view for a company our size, knowing that the numbers were there and we had the potential to grow into a multi-million-dollar company rather quickly,” he said.
Once they settled on a platform, it was time to utilise all the tools at their disposal to realise their growth potential.
B2B Edition provides next-level functionality on top of BigCommerce’s native B2B features. Using B2B Edition, McGee is able to streamline the ordering process and instead focus on growing his business.
“We deal with over 325 different businesses. If all those called us at once, I’d be on the phone and talking to 325+ people,” he said. “Instead, B2B Edition automates that whole side of the sales process. Customers can go in and all their information is there. It designs their bats, which in turn builds their pricing and gives them a shipping quote. It’s all streamlined, and it’s so scalable.”
While B2B Edition made it easy for McGee to sell to wholesale customers, it was also easy for him to start selling directly to consumers.
“Once we had our wholesale model set up, we wanted to take it a step further and start selling directly to customers. When people saw the bat at the stadium and thought ‘Oh that’s neat,’ I wanted them to be able to come home and buy one of their own,” he said. “Making the shift from pure B2B to a hybrid B2B/DTC business model was simple on BigCommerce.”
McGee is particularly impressed with the BigCommerce mobile app, which allows him to not only view analytics and customer data, but to manage orders and create discounts and coupon codes, as well.
“It’s so great that I, as a business owner, can open up the BigCommerce app and see how many customers I have and see how much I’m growing,” he said. “Or, if someone I’m talking to is interested in the product, I can go in and give them a discount code right then and there. Then I can see and track their order in real time. It’s just amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better platform.”
Baseball is a sport enjoyed by millions of people around the globe, so The Beer Bat had a lot of potential in the global market. When McGee had the idea to expand the business internationally, he wasn’t aware of how simple it would be on BigCommerce.
“When we started building the sites for new markets, I knew I wanted the experience to be exactly the same, even down to the transaction,” said McGee. “I didn’t want to have 17 different sites with 17 different transaction portals and all these different currency exchanges.
“BigCommerce’s Multi-Storefront worked out perfectly,” he continued. “I don’t need to be technical or have any of the know-how for each one of these different regions. All the tools are there for me.”
“BigCommerce’s Multi-Storefront worked out perfectly. I don’t need to be technical or have any of the know-how for each one of these different regions. All the tools are there for me.”
Sam McGee, President, The Beer Bat
"It's in your name. You call yourselves BigCommerce. You make a small company like us look super big."
Sam mcgee president, THE beer bat
For The Beer Bat, switching to BigCommerce was a decision to switch to greater growth and revenue on an international scale. Since switching platforms, their revenue has increased 115%, and orders have increased 71%.
Out-of-the-box tools and features and vetted, ready-to-integrate apps helped what is a lean company scale to a global brand.
“It’s in your name. You call yourselves BigCommerce. You make a small company like us look super big,” said McGee.
The Beer Bat has seen incredible growth as it’s expanded into these global markets. “Last year, all of last year, we sold 235,000 bats. This year, before the first pitch, we’ve sold 300,000,” he explained. “BigCommerce has been so reliable in that way, to keep us scalable and moving quickly.”
“If you want to have a big company with a small footprint, the best way to do it is through BigCommerce.”
Sam McGee, President, The Beer Bat
Now that The Beer Bat has conquered the globe with its fresh approach to drinkware, they’re eying new opportunities for expansion. New markets, new sports, and new vessels are on the horizon, and this expansion is made possible thanks to BigCommerce’s ability to help their business scale with ease.
“I couldn’t grow without it,” McGee said when speaking about BigCommerce. “We don’t have to have the resources of some massive company, and we don’t have to. If you want to have a big company with a small footprint, the best way to do it is through BigCommerce.”
Published: February 2024
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