The massive project to bring various brands owned by Accell Group to one CMS is currently ongoing. Throughout the last 3 years, Accell Group moved four brands to Storyblok, with Lapierre (from France), Raleigh (from the UK), XLC (a bike accessories brand from the UK), and Sparta (from the Netherlands). With such a migration came the need to streamline cross-collaboration efforts across regional teams, understanding each other’s culture, branding, and each brand's desires, into one platform.
- 4 Sites
- built in 7.5 months
- 5 Minute
- Component Build Time
Migrating four brands to one CMS
Accell Group is one of the biggest bicycle and bike accessories groups worldwide, representing over 20 brands. Currently, four brands (Lapierre, Raleigh, XLC, and Sparta) under Accell Group’s umbrella are hosted on Storyblok, with each regional team taking charge of the website and content management.
The notion of moving to a new CMS came up in 2019. Accell Group’s idea was to unite all the brands they represented under one umbrella using one centralized CMS to provide the same editing and development experience. The idea included considering scalability on the B2C level, with a best-of-breed architecture to accommodate integrations with PIMs and ERP platforms, payment, CRM, and more.
At the beginning of the project, Rowin Peet was a Content Specialist at Accell Digital, responsible for selecting which kind of CMS to use as a central platform across the group’s brands. Today, Rowin is a Product Owner, intending to bring all of Accell's brand websites to Storyblok. His search involved looking into various headless CMSs, eCommerce engines, and search and indexing systems that could meet the growing needs of the group to scale and accommodate internationalization. Eventually, the group chose Storyblok as a CMS to host all their content needs, Shopware as their eCommerce platform, and Algolia for search and indexing.
The overall migration timeline varied for each brand. Yet, content migrations were streamlined across all four brands with a simple onboarding process for each brand to easily learn how to use Storyblok, Shopware, and Algolia.
Content migrations to Storyblok are easy; you can start this from the get-go and easily duplicate spaces and content to fit your brand. As everything is built on the same components, we can use one brand’s space and duplicate this for another project and start populating with content immediately.
Coming from a monolithic setup to Storyblok
Before using Storyblok, brands under Accell Group were on a monolithic setup, where the typical frustrations and issues found in such a monolithic architecture led the group to look for a solution. The group’s UX designer and Rowin were also interested in object-oriented UX to apply to their future website plans. Object-oriented UX bases each object on the website with schemas to create and, in this case, for a headless CMS, components. Throughout various demos until coming upon Storyblok, components and schemas could be easily created from the ground up, allowing easy implementation and clarity across the team.
Accell Group identified key needs that could accommodate their growing needs. As they grew their host of brands, the need for internationalization from a centralized hub became even more important. Considering this, some of the key needs identified were:
A dimensions application within internationalization to help choose a multi-tree structure to manage different versions of their content in multiple languages/regions/locales
Workflows that are easy to set up and use for different brands internally amongst their own content, design, and development teams
Clear user management that could organize and identify the spaces each brand and its content editors would be using
A WYSIWYG editor for content editors
An App directory that developers could easily choose applications from and experiment with
The possibility to create releases as they envisioned brands to have large content releases for new product releases and campaigns
Anchoring internal links that could be enabled in the schema configuration
A headless setup that could accommodate future brand plans to cater to omnichannel experiences
From the get-go, the group chose to implement Raleigh (coming from a previous setup with Magento alongside a rebranding), Lapierre (coming from a previous setup with Drupal), and Sparta (coming from WordPress prior) as their first Storyblok-built brand websites. Raleigh’s rebranding case came two months after they went live with Storyblok, where all the team at Accell Group had to do was just update the design library accordingly with the correct branding, fonts, and colors at the click of a button.
Setting up the right foundations for scalability
Each brand has its own content team and users within Storyblok that have grown over the past three years with a CMS that could fit their growing team and content needs. For example, Raleigh, the group’s most digitally mature brand, has around four users who actively use the CMS daily, with 10 to 15 more on a weekly basis as developers or SEO editors. From Rowin personally as a product owner, Storyblok allows him to collaborate closely with front-end developers to continuously innovate and build new components in just 5 to 10 minutes. This brought him a new perspective as a previous Content Specialist where he thought of content as pages. Today, content has been changed to adapt to pages to be easily built from the ground up to consider multiple facets of internationalization, adaptability, connectivity to the product data, and usability.
Accell Group uses Storyblok primarily for each of their brands’ landing pages. This includes internationalization, using Shopware as a product catalog via API, and Storyblok’s applications to optimize the overall experience (such as the Pipeline app).
While each brand is built in a different Space (a content repository in Storyblok that keeps all the content related to one project), all of the Accell Group brand websites’ front-ends are built on components within Storyblok. This means all brands use the same design system and tokens. This allows each brand to adapt the core component to be applied to their branding while keeping the components in sync across all brands. Consequently, the group also found that using the Command Line Interface to sync a test Space to production or from one brand’s Space to another helped them manage their content as best as possible.
Internationalization at Accell Group
Accell Group’s internationalization setup is based on each brand's Space being hosted through different country folders and then through each page’s field type that integrates with Storyblok’s Dimensions application to have all the languages for each country. Currently, Lapierre is hosted in seven languages, and Sparta in three.
Many of our brands are represented in different languages and countries. Having multiple languages available in Storyblok allows our content editors to speak to their target audience directly and efficiently.
Internationalization was one of the first needs identified by Accell Group to ensure the CMS that they chose could keep up with their desire to scale - as they hope to bring on more than 10 global brands to Storyblok.
Using Shopware with Storyblok
While Accell Group’s setup does not involve a direct Shopware to Storyblok integration, they can showcase each brand’s products by linking products to external JSON files from Shopware as their product catalog. This means that with each product selected, extra product data can be added from Shopware to show on Storyblok’s front-end with all its information through an API link.
Planning for the future
In the future, Accell Group looks forward to the possibility of exploring possible omnichannel experiences within their brands, using Storyblok as their CMS of choice and Shopware as an eCommerce engine to scale appropriately.
By having a best-of-breed selection between Storyblok as our CMS, Shopware as our eCommerce platform, and Algolia for search and indexing, we’ve essentially established and put down the right foundations for our growth into the future - whether that be in bringing more brands over to Storyblok, or exploring omnichannel eCommerce experiences for our brands.
Accell Group was able to build brand new components that fit each brand’s guidelines and venture through a landscape of previous CMSs to Storyblok to bring customer-facing websites that are available across multiple brands, countries, and languages.
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