We ran all engineering operations for Soma for over 4 years.
Pavan has been our go-to guy to help with our engineering efforts at drinksoma.com. We came to him for help with a huge redesign of our e-commerce website. He was able to put a new face on our website and vastly improve the capabilities of our platform -- leading to many more sales and happier customers! He has a great ability to take our business problems and solve them with his engineering expertise. We look forward to continuing to work with him!— Mike Del Ponte, Founder & CEO of Soma Water
Can't imagine a better engineering team to work with. Translating our business challenges into engineering solutions, Pavan communicates extremely well with all departments and has pulled through for us on every task we've thrown at him. Pavan excels at juggling projects that support the long-term vision of the company as well as emergencies, and consistently manages resources to accomplish both.— Jeff Jureller, Head of Customer Experience of Soma Water
When tasked with a new project, he not only solves the problem at hand, but implements a solution that simultaneously strengthens/simplifies our systems for long-term stability. Most recently, Pavan and his team created a new Administration system for our CX department that not only saves us time, but allows us to scale up our team, squashing bugs in the process that existed long before Pavan's time.
Always friendly and upbeat, a great team player, and has thoroughly understood needs of our company. Thank you, Pavan!
How We Helped
Soma Water makes beautiful, sustainable water filters. They’re on a mission to improve life for everyone who drinks water: every water filter sold helps benefit organizations like charity: water who are working to solve the global water crisis. They’re an awesome, design-focused company that has been growing like crazy.
Gray Bike is proud to say we’ve been Soma’s technical partner (think outsourced CTO) for almost three years now. We’ve provided engineering services that have helped grow their subscriber count over 300% over the course of our partnership. We provide a small team of engineers, working remotely, to manage their entire e-commerce website and engineering infrastructure.
On an ongoing basis, we manage Soma's e-commerce website. This includes fixing bugs, making updates, and building out new features. We also monitor the website for security issues, performance, and make sure everything runs smoothly.
Redesigning the new website
In early 2015, Soma wanted to rebuild their website to coincide with the launch of their new product, the Soma Pitcher. Their current site at the time didn’t support handling multiple products, provided for a inflexible checkout experience, and was in need of a general facelift. And it needed to work great on mobile and tablet devices, as well.
Before starting, Gray Bike helped Soma evaluate all e-commerce options out there. We wanted to make sure we used the right tool for the job. After lots of research and analysis, we realized that building our own solution was the way to go -- it was the only way to have the full control & flexibility in the user experience that Soma wanted to deliver.
We worked closely with their creative director and front end developer to implement a lightweight, beautiful, new front end on Soma’s site. We updated their back end to support multiple products, as well as refactoring the existing code to support an entirely new checkout flow. Soma’s customers now have a much more streamlined experience when browsing and purchasing products on the Soma website. This was a huge win for Soma: we were able to increase sales by 40% in the first 3 months after launch.
Moving to a new admin system
When Soma’s website was originally built, their customer experience team was small. At the time, they used a custom-built, out of date admin system to manage support and administrative tasks. While it served its purpose at the time, as the company grew, they began to outgrow the system. It was slow, buggy, and in many places difficult to use. They needed something that was easier to use, could scale better, and grow with their team.
We spent lots of time with their customer success team to understand how they work, where their pain points are, and where we could improve the system. After researching a number of solutions, we identified a much more stable and well supported open source system. Of course, out of the box, it had limited functionality. We spent the time to customize it by bringing features from the old admin system, as well as adding a number of new features. With the newer, highly customized, and more stable system, the customer experience team is able to get things done quicker and scale with confidence.
Every week, we work closely with their whole team, maintaining and improving their e-commerce website and infrastructure. We advise them on strategy, growth, and all things technical, acting as their CTO-for-hire throughout our relationship. Soma Water has done amazing things to give back to the community. We’re proud to call them our partner, and look forward to helping them with their mission well into the future.
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