A Cosmetic Brand’s Radical Digital Transformation From Affiliate to Ecommerce


High Level of Scalability
Based on AWS Hosting

With over 35 million customers served and 140 million page views per year, one of Pivotree’s clients has built their business on the only thing that stays constant; change. While the site has been in operation for over a decade, a monumental transition has been taking place behind the scenes as the company evolves from an affiliate site to an ecommerce store.

Driven by a desire to create the best shopping experience, the leadership team rebuilt their business as an ecommerce operation with a laser focus on customer experience. Instead of sending traffic to affiliates, the team wanted to evolve the business and build a world class customer experience that would build loyalty, retention and direct revenue.

To execute on the ecommerce vision for the site, the team was diligent and methodical in their approach. An initial proof of concept supported their business case but highlighted the crucial need for the team to find technologies and partners with the expertise to support their business goals.

Providing the eCommerce Concept

The team had completed the plans for the ecommerce model by early 2013 and were looking for a proof of concept. They chose the Shopify SaaS platform for their initial ecommerce storefront because it allowed them to upload a short catalog and quickly test their ecommerce business model.

While the proof of concept validated the new ecommerce direction for the company, Shopify was too inflexible to meet the company’s ecommerce objective. The web store templates provided were too limiting, the underlying SaaS platform was too constraining, and the platform did not give the team enough reporting or control.

The decision to redesign their business as an ecommerce store was driven by a desire to build a compelling customer experience, and Shopify did not allow for this. The team felt they would need to make too many compromises if they stayed with Shopify and were ready to look for a platform that would meet their needs.

Quick Summary


  • Transition from affiliate to e-commerce site
  • Constrained by Shopify platform
  • Limited webstore templates 
  • Lack of sufficient reporting and control
  • Required improved customer experience to boost loyalty, retention, and revenue


  • Magento Commerce platform 
  • Spiegel Design Group joins project from Magento Partner Network
  • Pivotree Managed Services and Magneto Optimized Hosting on AWS


  • Ecommerce vision brought to life
  • Trusted flexibility and scalability of AWS, without the challenges of managing the environment
  • Optimized reference architecture delivered by Pivotree for the Magento Store
  • Peace of mind, with Pivotree managing infrastructure 24x7x365

The Search for Partners

After the initial test with Shopify, the team set their sights on finding a platform that would give them more flexibility and control. They settled on Magento with the belief that the platform was the right level of investment, supported the necessary partner integrations and most importantly, gave them the ability to execute on their vision.

An added benefit of the Magento platform was the thriving partner community where they began their search for a development partner. Realizing the crucial relationship between a retailer and their development partners, the team undertook an extensive search, eventually choosing to partner with Spiegel Design Group.

A full-service web design, development, and e-commerce agency based out of Los Angeles, Spiegel Design Group is a Magento Gold partner staffed by seasoned, experienced and highly decorated veterans of the Magento ecosystem.

It is important for us to work with partners that can not only deliver, but are easy to work with. We don’t want a partner that holds us back from our plans or derail future ideas – we want ones that are excited about opportunities instead of focused on obstacles.

VP of Technology, Leading Affiliate turned Merchant

The Hosting Solution

When it came time to choose a hosting partner the merchant turned to their trusted developer to help them find the right provider.

AWS has been their platform of choice for many years but given the importance of their ecommerce project they wanted additional support for their Magento environment.

This combination led Spiegel Design Group to suggest Pivotree and their Magento Optimized Hosting on AWS solution. This solution offered the flexibility and scalability they know and love from AWS, without the challenge of managing the environment.

AWS gives you the flexibility to respond to your business needs; you can quickly react to success. In our business you never know what is go- ing to hit you, so it is great to scale up quickly if you need to.

VP of Technology , Leading Affiliate turned Merchant

Pivotree was able to deliver an optimized reference architecture for the Magento store, and handled everything from initial deployment of AWS infrastructure to ongoing monitoring and management.

This represented a tremendous relief for the team, as managing infrastructure 24x7x365 is very difficult for a small and nimble team. Working with an experienced managed service provider means they don’t have to worry about their ecommerce infrastructure.

Ecommerce Up and Running

Although it is still early days in the transition from affiliate to ecommerce, the team is pleased with the progress so far, and encouraged by the partnerships they have developed. Pivotree has become a key partner, impressing the team with their transparency, level of communication and most importantly, by delivering on their promises.

If the level of service was not there, I would be completely nervous. We trust Pivotree with the most critical part of our infrastructure. I need to work with a vendor that I can trust. By working with a managed service provider we are exposing ourselves to a dependency. Any weak link can really hurt your business. We want to work with companies that create value, not issues. Pivotree creates meaningful value for us.

VP of Technology , Leading Affiliate turned Merchant