The Challenge

The client’s e-commerce platform was built with obscure technology. Their developer left the company, leaving them with no support and no one willing to touch the source code.

The Solution

Twin Sun built a team focused on learning and supporting the new tech. We introduced documentation and a process to ensure future developers can support the platform.

The Results

We now have a team of experts in their technology stack. The client has a well-supported platform that can be extended to support their evolving needs.

Supporting Rental Payment Options In an Online Store

Rent One has over 100 brick-and-mortar stores located across the United States, with decades of experience helping people find affordable home furnishings. Giving people multiple ways to pay—retail, lease, and financing options—is a key aspect of how Rent One makes quality furniture and appliances fit within their customers’ budgets.

Unfortunately, flexible payment options that worked in Rent One’s physical stores were impossible to implement in existing e-commerce software. The customer journey for Rent One’s e-commerce experience was also unique: they wished to initiate sales online but automatically transfer order fulfillment to each customer’s closest physical store.

To overcome these challenges, Rent One’s in-house developer built a custom solution on top of October CMS, a relatively obscure content management system similar to WordPress. The new e-commerce platform required over a dozen custom plugins to support everything Rent One wanted to accomplish. This new platform met Rent One’s needs, giving online customers the same purchasing flexibility of the traditional in-store experience. Rent One’s e-commerce business took off, becoming a big driver of purchases by first-time customers.

"Twin sun was willing to acclimate themselves to our program, which was major. No other vendor wanted to do that."

Sunny Treadway, E-Commerce Manager, SKC Enterprises

Custom Technology Lost Its Only Source of Support

Rent One’s developer eventually moved on to other opportunities. This left the company with a complex system built on technologies few people understand. It was difficult to find anyone even willing to take on maintenance of Rent One’s e-commerce platform, let alone someone experienced with October CMS and its plugin system.

“Twin Sun understands our ideas and puts them into a functional solution.”

Sunny Treadway, E-Commerce Manager, SKC Enterprises

Twin Sun Committed to Building Expertise In the Platform

While our team had no specific experience with October CMS, we reviewed the existing code base to see if we could help. We quickly discovered similarities in October CMS to other frameworks we were more familiar with. Our code review left us with a decent understanding of the framework and the custom plugins created by the previous developer.

We recognized that Rent One had just experienced a sudden void in capabilities due to the departure of their lone developer. To avoid the problem in the future, we formed a plan to share knowledge broadly across our team. Though the initial work we set out to do required only one full-time developer, we designated a senior developer as a project lead and assigned two additional developers to pick up some of the work under the senior developer’s direction. We later trained another two developers on the project’s tech stack, ensuring knowledge of the platform was widespread within our team.

Further, we put tools and processes in place to ensure future developers—even those outside of Twin Sun—could become productive quickly. We moved from an undocumented project setup to a well-documented, fully automated, Dockerized development environment. This improvement alone eliminated a solid day of setup time for each new developer joining the project. We also established a pull request process utilizing the Gitflow Workflow to manage code changes, ensuring Rent One’s content manager could make text and UI changes without the assistance of a developer.

"We're able to combine our knowledge and work towards a profitable solution together."

Sunny Treadway, E-Commerce Manager, SKC Enterprises

Building a Lasting Partnership

From the very start of our relationship with Rent One we worked to establish trust and gain their confidence in our abilities. We did this by demonstrating our commitment to the long-term relationship, investing in our knowledge of Rent One’s technology stack. Then we quickly delivered new features despite our unfamiliarity with the existing code base by applying our knowledge of similar technologies.

Now Rent One has a development partner that fully understands their e-commerce platform. They have a future-proof solution to maintain expertise with their tech stack. Together, we have the ability to quickly implement new features and test out new ideas on their e-commerce platform.

"I'm most impressed by their diligence. Their commonsense approach is why we continue to work with them."

Sunny Treadway, E-Commerce Manager, SKC Enterprises

Read more about our relationship with Rent One in Sunny’s review on Clutch.