The eCommerce history of noptim begins in 1998 when in another industry — engraved recognition awards — I launched my first website. In a growing industry, it was an exciting time to know my business could now be seen on the worldwide web. The 1990’s were the beginning of traditional eCommerce as we know it today as giants like Amazon and eBay were born and set the stage for businesses worldwide to redefine themselves. I could see the writing on the wall, and it was time to either adapt to the new reality or move out of the way for those who would.
It wasn’t long after taking the online leap that it became clear I had no idea how to utilize the web to take my business to the next level. So, I did what many have done and hired consultants who claimed to know what they were doing. Quickly I found that many of the self-proclaimed experts knew little more than I did and were learning on my dime. Dimes grew to quarters and quarters to dollars — quickly leaving me with one choice: quit or begin to figure it out.
With a demanding business to run, employees to manage, and clients to keep happy — the learning process was slow but fruitful. After making a lot of mistakes along the way related to development, SEO, and paid marketing, it was clear I needed somebody I could trust to keep me pointed in the right direction. Thankfully, one of my close friends became CEO of a new development company and convinced me to turn my informational website into an eCommerce site.
The birth of newline.net took place in 2002 with an eCommerce site capable of doing online customizations via transparent .png image overlays. Developed from scratch, the site looked great but was clunky to use, with an insecure shopping cart and limited ability to enhance SEO without involving developers. Surprisingly, the site did very well locally, but its reach was limited — forcing my hand to redevelop in 2006. Fortunately, I had stayed in touch with the previous project manager and I hired him to build my next site.
With new development and a new URL at NewlineTrophy.com — we redoubled our focus on improving user experience. Again, the new site was developed from scratch since there were no good options for a customizable eCommerce platform at the time. Multiple site upgrades were made over the next four years costing tens of thousands of dollars. With all this time and money invested NewlineTrophy.com continued to grow — though we were still only seeing regional growth.
Around 2010 I began to hear some chatter about a newer PHP platform Magento — an open-source program that could be customized. My previous developer had moved onto bigger and better things, so he put me in front of a friend of his who claimed to know Magento. To make a long story short, Magento was not the right choice due to a developer that did not take the time to understand my business or my requirements. This was a very costly mistake and reinforced why it is critically important to hire a quality eCommerce consultant who is on your team and gets to know your business inside and out.
As I circled back to my previous project manager, I found out he had margin to work with me again. It was at that time that I was first introduced to nopCommerce. He put me in touch with a developer who was ASP.NET certified and suggested we expand my custom requirements via plugin to make future upgrades less costly. In 2011, NewlineTrophy.com was launched on version 2.6 using an industry available theme and it blew my mind. With at my fingertip access to SEO and content modification functionality, Newline began to grow and rank at a national level and my appreciation for nopCommerce began.
As orders began to come in and ad spends grew, NewlineTrophy.com upgraded four times to newer nopCommerce versions and now is on 4.2 using a fully custom theme with just under 4,000 pages ranking on Google organically.
Success and past frustrations, and especially the increase in development and marketing skillsets acquired on the NewlineTrophy.com site, led to the birth of a business plan that could benefit other companies looking to build or progress their current eCommerce solutions.
In early 2020 Newline was sold to a competitor looking to grow their local footprint. With the buyer not interested in purchasing NewlineTrophy.com, the shopping cart is now shut down and the site is being redeveloped by noptim as EngravingPro.com — where all of the high-ranking URL’s will be redirected and the site orders fulfilled via vendor partnerships. With a customized backend, EngravingPro.com will use many of the same custom features as NewlineTrophy.com but the orders will be geographically distributed to regional partners and marketed by noptim.
While developing EngravingPro.com, we contacted an industry supplier looking to create a business-to-consumer eCommerce platform. After a few in-depth conversations, the idea of USAcrylicAwards.com was moved into a consulting and planning phase. As a large acrylic manufacturing company in Glendale, Arizona, Clear Image, Inc. (the parent of USAcrylicAwards.com) had some very complex business processes and pricing structures needing to be captured on every transaction. With hundreds of possible combinations for each of their products including cost variables and tiered discounts, noptim tackled business processes and pricing structures never addressed in the acrylics industry.
Shortly thereafter we were contacted by another client to develop an eCommerce-based industry specific search engine with revenues captured via recurring billing. At the time of writing this content — noptim is still in the consulting stage of project planning and due to an NDA cannot divulge much information. As development progresses, we will share more information and update with a project case study to follow.
It was clear to noptim that customized solutions in eCommerce often fall victim to limited SaaS (software as a service) solutions or hiring a developer with little to no real-life business experience. We strive to fill the niche of business consultant, eCommerce development project management, and digital strategy specialist. By approaching each project as if it were our own with the intent of educating our clients, learning your business inside and out, and staying focused on your business goals — we want to progress your company to the next level.