Using Gadget cut at least half of my development time. The platform gave us most of the complicated parts of the project for free, and with no coding required. We spent our time writing the few code files that specified the actual business logic of the app.
Meekco, Malaysia’s first-ever Shopify Plus agency, is using Gadget to completely change the way that South East Asian brands do regional cross-border expansion. At a fraction of the time and cost it would have taken them historically, Meeko can now offer their clients a more affordable, low-risk solution to test market expansion into international markets and expand their revenue streams.
Large Shopify brands in South East Asia come to Meekco for the full suite of growth and marketing services that they offer, and often desire to grow sales by expanding their brand into neighboring countries. Shopify’s core product in South East Asia has limitations regarding internationalization, and forces brands to create “regional clone stores” for each country they are selling to. For each clone store, brands need to manually keep products and inventory synchronized to avoid overselling. Naturally, this experience was incredibly cumbersome and time-consuming and the team began looking into automation. The development of a proprietary app that would automatically sync multiple regional stores for a single brand was the solution they were looking for, but with an expected development time of six to nine months for the app, it was impossible to prioritize.
Upon discovering Gadget, the team was able to build an inventory syncing app in less than half the previously estimated time by leveraging the platform’s Shopify Connection and other built-in capabilities, saving the firm tens of thousands of dollars in development costs. The inventory syncing app is now a core part of Meekco’s offering, and it is now how they pitch their capabilities to prospective clients that are considering their services.
As a growth agency, Meekco helps Shopify Plus brands identify, deploy and scale successful marketing strategies that help their clients increase sales. To satisfy this need, they offer their customers a set of services ranging from brand positioning, to paid ad spend, to social media marketing, and more. However, through experiences gained from years of serving the region’s largest online retailers, Meekco has identified cross-border sales to be one of the most viable, and untapped, growth opportunities for brands in South East Asia. By going international within the region, brands are able to offer their products to a much larger audience, and keep costs low by using a single inventory source.
To satisfy their client's growth ambitions, Meekco would often pitch this regional expansion strategy as a clever way to test out international demand for brands in a few countries, simultaneously. If any of the markets proved viable, the brand would then consider setting up full operations in the country (customer support, fulfillment, etc) as a later step.
Meekco found that while this approach produced amazing results for their clients, the setup and execution of such a strategy was incredibly cumbersome. Specifically, they were faced with two challenges:
To alleviate these challenges, Meekco aspired to build a proprietary Shopify app that would manage cross-store synchronization of information in a seamless and automated manner. They needed an app that would:
The team at Meekco had lots of experience with Shopify app development. While they knew how to architect this application, and had the right skill sets to build it, their past experience with app development suggested that the process would take at least six to nine months. “We were looking at building a syncing app for very, very large brands. Given the huge order volumes these brands see, the number of events and the amount of data we’d need to listen for was massive. It would require some sturdy data infrastructure that we expected would take six to nine months to build”, explains Kah Hing, CEO of Meekco.
A project this time-consuming wasn’t feasible for the Meekco development team, which was already busy maintaining a few public and custom Shopify apps that they had built for clients in the past. They needed to find a solution that they could deploy for their ever-growing list of clients in less than three months. That solution ended up being Gadget.
Meekco discovered Gadget on Twitter, and found that the value proposition of the product spoke to the types of challenges they’d experienced when building Shopify apps in the past. To learn more, the firm tasked their lead developer with signing up and exploring Gadget on a few simple, trial projects. Once they were satisfied that the platform could meet their needs, they set out to build their inventory syncing app in Gadget.
They leveraged Gadget’s built-in Shopify Connection to handle the OAuth exchange with Shopify. They simply picked the Shopify API scopes and models needed to power their application inside Gadget, and the platform took care of the rest. Gadget instantly set up database tables mimicking the Shopify resources Meekco had selected, and provisioned an API that would allow them to react to webhooks, and fetch data from any connected store with a single API call.
With the infrastructure and data pipeline fully provisioned for them by Gadget in under a minute, Kah’s team was able to focus its time on writing the code that would react to inventory events in the primary store, such as inventory increases or deductions, and propagates the information to all of the regional clone stores that serve other markets, and vice versa.
“Using Gadget cut at least half of my development time. The platform gave us most of the complicated parts of the project for free, and with no coding required. We spent our time writing the few code files that specified the actual business logic of the app - and don’t forget, this was our first time utilizing Gadget on a production use case. We could probably complete the project twice as fast now that we’re fully onboarded to Gadget.” Kah Hing, CEO of Meekco
The app was fully built, tested, and ready to be deployed within weeks. Meekco first deployed their newly built syncing app on Bonia, a Malaysian-based luxury apparel brand. The app worked like a dream and kept Bonia’s primary and regional stores perfectly in sync, regardless of the volume of sales involved.
The experience was so positive that Meekco began to consider deploying the application to other clients who were considering a similar regional expansion. To do this, Meekco would need to create a new instance of the custom syncing application for each of the Plus brands they were working with. The process of duplicating, and productionizing a copy of an app can take a few days in a traditional stack. With Gadget, however, there is a one-click forking option that produces a fully-functional copy of the application, ready to be installed on another Shopify store. Meekco leveraged Gadget’s built-in forking feature to replicate their application for their other clients, in no time.
“Gadget’s forking feature was a wonderful discovery for us. It was exactly what we needed to quickly offer our syncing app to new clients who were interested in exploring internationalization in a similar manner. The fact that every Gadget app is instantly live, and on the internet, made the experience of forking particularly magical. After you fork an app with Gadget, all that’s left to do is have a different store install it. There’s literally no other work involved, the app is just online from the moment it’s created.”
This approach proved to be very effective for the Meekco team, as it allowed them to quickly and efficiently expand their offering to other clients while preserving the ability to customize each instance of the forked application to meet any unique requirements from other customers.
The Meekco team was able to greatly reduce the time it took to build their inventory syncing application by using Gadget. They saved tens of thousands of dollars of engineering effort in building and running the app, which then automated the manual process of keeping inventory synchronized, saving them hundreds more hours worth of human effort. Meekco’s clients were also enthused by the experience, as it unlocked the ability to experiment with international markets, while keeping costs low.
Meekco now actively pitches their internationalization strategy, and the accompanying Gadget app, as a core part of its offering to prospective clients. This has helped them land new clients who are intrigued by the proposition of testing international markets without breaking the bank.
The app, and its accompanying go-to-market strategy, have become such a core part of Meekco’s playbook that the company is now in the process of rebuilding it as a public Shopify app that can be listed on the App Store. Meekco hopes that in doing so, they can offer other brands that are facing similar challenges with internationalization, a viable and cost-effective solution.