Vol. 127 - NO. 39

Blog Startup CPG

SINCE 2019

Silk Road Teas Brews Success
with BigCommerce

Since the ecommerce age began, the food and beverage industry has evolved drastically. From selling directly to consumers to wholesale and everything in between, businesses have constantly had to adapt to the needs of their customers. That’s exactly what Catherine and Ned Haegerty have been working on ever since acquiring Silk Road Teas in 2004.

A Growing Direct-to-Consumer Market

At first, Silk Road Teas was a wholesale enterprise, providing high-quality Chinese teas to the American consumer through retail businesses. “About eight years ago, we started to be more active on the web, and are currently speeding up. We changed our business model to reflect a mix of business-to-business (B2B), or wholesale, and business-to-consumer (B2C),” Ned explained. As the tea market began to grow and became more competitive, Ned realized that the B2C arm of their business needed to grow.

At the time, their ecommerce platform didn’t provide them the tools they needed to expand. They began to search for a new platform that could offer:

  1. A modular design that could offer them tools they needed, when they needed them.
  2. A hosted solution with reliable uptime.
  3. The ability to handle complex inventories.
  4. Excellent customer support.


Tools for Growth

Ned found a number of different platforms to compare, including WooCommerce, Shopify and BigCommerce. “We felt that BigCommerce brought guarantees in our uptime and solutions in general. That was just really important,” he explained.

BigCommerce was also a great choice because of the complex inventories involved in the tea trade. “When we come back and assign lots into inventory, we create a code to tell us what it is, type of tea, variety, and so on. Then we have to deal with all of the lot numbers and the quantities associated with them,” he said. “We’re in a fairly complicated business.”


BigCommerce Integrations:

  • Mailchimp, a powerful sales-driving marketing tool that allows you to better engage and build relationships with your customers.
  • SLoyalty, a customer rewards program that offers customizable rewards to customers, keeping them coming back again and again.
  • QuickBooks, a time-saving integration that can help link your online store to Quickbooks, keeping owners from having to manually enter data.


A Growth Mindset

29% increase in orders
42% increase in revenue
74% increase in conversion rate
Performance metrics compare Mar. 2021-Dec. 2021 over Mar. 2017-Dec. 2017.

As Silk Road Teas has expanded its B2C offerings, their website has grown in both product listings and in its complexity. But no matter how complex the site gets, Ned knows that he can come to BigCommerce’s support team for help. “I can’t tell you what a distinguishing characteristic and value add [customer service] is for BigCommerce to your customers,” he explained. “I think right at the top of the [best features] list is tech support.”


Looking Forward

As the B2C side of the business grows, Ned will continue to leverage the native tools and integrations within BigCommerce to help his company expand. Search engine and email marketing tools like Mailchimp will continue to be valuable assets in the company’s overall marketing strategy, but the main driver of the business will always be the experience Ned strives to provide his customers.

Are you interested in learning more about how other businesses have used BigCommerce to scale? Download our ebook, Scaling Stories, to see how three different brands have used our powerful platform to turn their growing brands into success. [Download the Ebook]

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