Since its founding in 1992, First Gear has been one of the best places to go for diecast replicas of trucks, Corvettes, and anything in between. First Gear has been recognized as an innovative, world-class, top quality leader in the diecast replica custom imprinting and custom tooling business since its founding. Their product line expands far beyond diecast replicas. They also offer custom toys, building block sets and other novelty and promotional items. On top of everything else, First Gear has earned a reputation for quality, service and dependability that has made them the first choice for businesses, organizations and charitable groups world-wide when they are in need of superior quality custom premiums and promotional items with lasting value.
Adam Knight, the Creative Director and co-owner of First Gear, has been working in the family business since 2016, and has overseen their eCommerce website, along with helping it grow. As he continued to work on the site, he realized that their site was beginning to show its age, and an upgrade was necessary.
That’s where their journey with 121 started.
First Gear was initially recommended to 121eCommerce by Adobe back in 2018, as they needed a more-modern eCommerce platform, since their SiteViz site was beginning to show its age. Over the last four years, First Gear used 121 as an extension of their development team, as they do not have an internal web team or a development team dedicated to the website. As they got closer to their contract renewal, First Gear decided to look into alternatives such as Shopify, and BigCommerce as the overall cost of ownership started to creep up too much for their business.
Here’s why First Gear ended up going with BigCommerce.
One of the biggest reasons First Gear made the switch from Magento to BigCommerce was to continue their relationship with 121. Since we have BigCommerce experience, it made sense for them to continue working with us. Not to mention, they genuinely love working with us which will highlight more later.
After evaluating all of their options, and weighing the pros and cons, BigCommerce’s training resources, capabilities, and the overall business fit was the best for BigCommerce. Adam mentioned:
“BigCommerce is a pretty intuitive and friendly platform that gives us a lot of control and that was another one of the big reasons why we did switch from Magento is because we felt like, a lot of these little updates and things we could do ourselves and BigCommerce would handle all the hard coding and stuff.”
When it came to making the switch, overall, things went very smoothly in spite of a super-tight turnaround time.
“We were in a little bit of a pinch. We did a lot of research at the start of 2023 and then in May, we made the final decision to sign up for BigCommerce. And then, we had to have that website launch by the end of November, and that was when Magento would be going away. That is the end of our contract. So yeah, we had six months.”
First Gear’s team was able to handle some of the data pieces, while our team handled the development process, along with assisting with the integrations from Magento to BigCommerce. One of the key differences in working with 121 was noted by Adam:
“We were recommended apps or tested out different things and that was really great because I think we were able to come to the full realization of what we wanted.”
As far as the go-live, went, Adam noted that:
“It was a smooth process and I think we didn’t really run into any hiccups. We did all the training, we worked with you guys, and then after launch, everything is going really well. I know that at any time I can reach out and get a response usually immediately. Anytime there’s something going on or I need something I mean, that’s peace of mind knowing that. I don’t have to wait 24 hours for a response. I know you guys are on top of it. So that’s great!”
One of the biggest takeaways Adam mentioned in working with 121 was having a dedicated Product Owner (and development team) working on their project.
He said, “I love having the same person because building a website and going through all of these processes and learning the things that are associated with your site. It is kind of like a journey, and we go on this journey together figuring this out making things work. So it’s good knowing that I can go back to that person and say, “hey remember when we did this?” and he’ll be like, “yeah. we want to change it or we’re having a problem” So, that’s always really nice.
Adam also noted that post-launch, the site was not just handed over to them. 121 actively looked at helping them continue to improve it.
“I really appreciated that because we’d be working through stuff or even after launch which was really nice. We’d be looking at the website and different things and then I would still be getting recommendations on hey, have you heard of this app or have you guys installed this? Or, now that you’ve launched, you might want to look into these suggestions. All of it was really intriguing and beneficial to whether we want to use it or not or at least look into it. It’s all been very helpful.”
To wrap things up, Adam wanted to highlight the positive experiences in working with us on their Magento site, and BigCommerce site:
“The first time around was still a positive experience. I think this second time around with the BigCommerce team has just been phenomenal. I’ve really loved working with everybody. I can’t say enough good things about Andres, our Project Manager. He really kept us online and gave us a lot of good feedback that helped us. He felt like he was part of the team, and wanted to see us be successful. So that was extremely positive. We also had a lot of support and help from other people on our team that were overseeing our project. So, it’s been super positive and I would highly recommend 121 especially if you’re working on a BigCommerce build for your website.”
Visit First Gear’s website at: https://firstgearinc.com/
– This interview was edited for brevity and clarity