Since the first book was published in 1945, the Moomin’s adventures in Moominvalley have captured the imaginations of children and adults alike.
From its humble roots in Finland, Moomin has established a solid global footprint and now operates online stores in Japan, Germany, the UK, and China. Plans to establish a string of new stores – both online and physical brick and mortar ones – are also well underway.
The popular Moomin characters, including Moomintrollen, Moominmama, and Moominpapa, now generate over $750MM annually in global licensing deals. From theme parks to figurines, there’s a Moomin for every human.
An early adopter of Shopify in Europe, Moomin is currently in the top 30 companies globally by volume of licensed goods sales and has over 600 licensees worldwide. Since 2016, Moomin has been using Rewind to protect the data that drives its business, make the most effective use of its developers’ time, expand to new markets faster, and increase its stores’ conversion rates.
We recently sat down with Jonas Forth, Head of Digital at Moomin, to learn more about the company’s journey and how Rewind Backups and Rewind Staging have been instrumental in driving the business’ ongoing growth trajectory and success.
With a strong background in development, Forth noted with interest the potential that Shopify held to help online stores to run their operations seamlessly while at the same time scaling internationally.
Despite its extensive international presence, Moomin runs a pretty tight ship, and every member of the 23-strong team has to wear multiple hats. Inevitably, when you’re running a lean operation, mistakes can happen.
A memorable misstep
One memorable misstep occurred several years ago when a developer accidentally deleted an entire Shopify store’s data set while working on an integration with the company’s logistics partner using a live database.
“With a few clicks, he unintentionally overwrote all the data we had in terms of old sales and orders and customer contacts. Everything just disappeared! That was bad, as there was absolutely no way of getting it back,” recalls Forth.
After that devastating data loss experience, Jonas sought out a third-party data backup solution and settled on Rewind.
And he’s glad he did: “We’ve had a few occasions when Rewind has saved the day when someone has accidentally overwritten or deleted data. These days, it’s even more critical that we have a reliable backup system in place because now we have an extensive product management database that serves all of our international sites. It’s essentially a single source of truth for all our product data.”
Forth came to appreciate the value of automatic backups on one occasion when he lost data from a store that he’d forgotten to back up with Rewind. “Luckily, it was a new site, so we didn’t have that many products – probably around a hundred – so we just updated them manually. But that still took a whole day.”
More recently, a major data loss disaster was avoided when a new store was being added and all the company’s other stores’ product information was overwritten with incorrect data.
“Rewind is like insurance. You probably won’t think about Rewind much until you need it. It gives you an additional sense of security, and when you do need it, the ROI is high. It’s also effortless to install, and once it’s deployed, it just runs in the background. And the fact that the user interface is attractive and intuitive is an additional bonus.”Jonas Forth
Head of Digital, Moomin
3 months of downtime averted
“We were able to recover 11,000 products that were mistakenly overwritten with false information in just 30 minutes,” explains Forth.
Since manually recovering 100 products in the store that wasn’t backed up with Rewind took a full day, recovering the 11,000 products that were accidentally deleted on this occasion would have taken 110 days. That’s around three months of downtime!
“Rewind is like insurance,” says Forth. “You probably won’t think about Rewind much until you need it. It gives you an additional sense of security, and when you do need it, the ROI is high. It’s also effortless to install, and once it’s deployed, it just runs in the background. And the fact that the user interface is attractive and intuitive is an additional bonus.”
Accelerating international expansion with Rewind Staging
Rewind Staging has been instrumental in enabling and accelerating Moomin’s international expansion ambitions.
“Traditionally, most of our business is in the Nordics – Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark – as well as in Japan,” explains Forth. “But over the last eight years, we’ve been entering new markets, including China, the UK, Germany, and the US.”
Customizing Moomin’s website URLs for local markets is a key part of the company’s expansion strategy, as Forth explains: “We knew that many customers based in the UK, for example, would feel more comfortable visiting and shopping in a store that has a co.uk ending, rather than simply a .com one. Our analysis of respective conversion rates bears this out; we have a conversion rate of around 4–5% with UK customers shopping on the local store versus a conversion rate of about 1.5% on the .com store.”
Rewind Staging facilitates the fast, accurate, and seamless creation and copying of Shopify Plus stores for new geographies, allowing Moomin’s small team of developers to focus on more strategic tasks.
“It’s much quicker to install Rewind Staging to copy our store (and everything in it) than paying an external developer to do it manually. We basically just hook the new store up to an existing one and copy everything over,” says Forth.
Moomin’s experience with data loss – both before and after it engaged with Rewind – is a testament to the value that Rewind can bring Shopify store operators in terms of:
- Protecting business-critical data
- Allocating developers’ time more efficiently
- Expanding to new markets faster
- Increasing stores’ conversion rates
Of course, Rewind isn’t the only tool in Forth’s tech stack. The team utilizes multiple different apps to effectively manage their international presence and ensure their stores are always ready to capture new fans worldwide. For example, as part of its day-to-day Shopify store operations, Moomin uses Stocky, an app that indicates which stock is moving and which isn’t, the Gorgias ticketing system, and a “back in stock” app for customer alerts.