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Abstract Ocean

Abstract Ocean designs and manufactures accessories for Tesla and Rivian vehicles with a relentless focus on amazing service and great products that last. This family-owned, Texas-based business started with selling a single product in 2013 and has since become one of the leading aftermarket accessory companies for electric vehicles (EVs).

Their site had been using a Shopify 1.0 theme for a few years. Founder Pete White says beyond his desire for a refresh of the design, there were several other factors that pointed to the need to update the site.

“A lot of the new features that Shopify had announced would only work with 2.0 sites. We needed a more mobile-friendly theme given the vast majority of our traffic is mobile. We've grown a lot in terms of our SKU count, so we also needed to provide better options for customers to easily filter to get to the accessories they need.”

  • Pete White
  • Founder and Chief Everything Officer, Abstract Ocean

We had worked with Abstract Ocean before to migrate their site from BigCommerce to Shopify and for other support over the years since the migration, so working with us again for this project made sense. Pete says his concerns were minimal ahead of embarking on the work.

“I'm always nervous with a re-theme, just because it can be quite impactful to the end user, but I'm always excited to do something new with the website. We had worked with Kurt and Paul. I know how they work and vice versa. So I had no real reservations about doing this project.”

  • Pete White
  • Founder and Chief Everything Officer, Abstract Ocean

Creating a customized Shopify 2.0 theme and making key UX improvements

We worked with Abstract Ocean to design and develop a customized Shopify 2.0 theme and provide ongoing support in order to improve their customer experience.

We started with the design process, creating a cleaner and more streamlined look and feel for the site. We created site mockups and worked collaboratively with Pete and Abstract Ocean co-owner Christal White to incorporate their input into the design.

“It was a really good process for me being able to see the mockups in Figma, to ask a lot of questions, and for us to then keep tweaking it to get to the final version. Going through that iterative process to get to the final point is how I prefer to work for a creative project rather than having to get too granular and specific upfront.”

  • Pete White
  • Founder and Chief Everything Officer, Abstract Ocean

We redesigned the product detail pages (PDPs) to more prominently surface the installation guides and variant selections to ensure the customer is getting the right product for them and reduce the likelihood of returns.

The number one concern for customers shopping online for aftermarket automotive accessories is “will this fit my vehicle?” One of the biggest improvements we made to the site was installing a year-make-model vehicle selector app so customers can more quickly find products that fit their vehicle and avoid wasting time viewing ones that don't.

There are multiple year-make-model Shopify apps that offer different features — we had experience working with all of the ones in the market. It's not as simple as identifying the right app and then installing it. Because of the complexity of the data involved, integrating the app with the store catalog requires a strong data management skill set, Shopify knowledge, and some understanding of the vehicles involved. We initially started working with one app that had the features Abstract Ocean needed, but as we worked to integrate it with their data, we recognized the app was not meeting expectations. We quickly pivoted to a different app and worked with the app developer to deliver the expected experience. We then integrated fitment verification on each PDP to offer a double confirmation of fitment before purchase.

We added collection filtering and intuitive menus to give customers other ways to quickly find the appropriate products for them.

We also added a delivery time widget that uses geolocation to show when a customer can expect to receive the product and to show that delivery is free for orders over a certain dollar amount.

One of the things that Pete appreciated about working with us is not only our expertise around which apps would best fit Abstract Ocean's needs, but also our discipline in choosing only the apps that would make a meaningful difference in the customer experience. Having too many apps installed can lead to site performance issues.

“One of the pros and cons of Shopify is their large app ecosystem. I'll go in there wanting a candy store of features and functions, but every time you add an app, things slow down and there's a potential for it to screw things up or conflict with another app. So it's important for me that Ethercycle is fairly strict in terms of what we should or should not do in terms of apps.”

  • Pete White
  • Founder and Chief Everything Officer, Abstract Ocean

Pete also appreciated the expertise we have with the automotive industry and even more specifically with EVs and Tesla. The subject matter expertise and familiarity we have with automotive fitments in particular (including the consequences from the fact that Tesla doesn't operate with strict model year updates) saved a lot of unnecessary back and forth and helped us make the right decisions during the course of our work together.

Improved customer experience, increase in AOV and the ability to more quickly and easily build new pages

The site launched in May 2023 and we continued to provide support over the summer to make sure everything was working optimally for Q4, which is Abstract Ocean's busiest season for sales.

With a more intuitive, mobile-friendly site design with faster loading times, new filtering options and better vehicle fitment verification, customers can now more easily and confidently find and order the products that are right for them.

In the four-month period after launching, during which Abstract Ocean held a store-wide sale, AOV went up 6% over the previous four-month period.

Pete says being on Shopify 2.0 offers him other benefits, including being more empowered to build pages without outside development help.

“I can actually do quite a bit more myself in terms of templates. I've created pre-order templates, certain specific templates for some of the collective sales that we're doing. I don't want to have to lean on a developer for every little piece. Being on a modern theme definitely helps with that.”

  • Pete White
  • Founder and Chief Everything Officer, Abstract Ocean

Pete says he'd recommend working with Ethercycle to others and he appreciated how easy it was to work with us, including how quickly and expertly we responded to any issues.

“If there was a semi-important issue, I could email them, and if it was super important, I could call and text and it would get dealt with pretty much instantaneously. Re-theming a site always carries risk. I feel like we're in a safe pair of hands with Ethercycle.”

  • Pete White
  • Founder and Chief Everything Officer, Abstract Ocean

Our Work Together

Ethercycle helped Abstract Ocean:

  1. Design and develop a new customized Shopify 2.0 theme optimized for their needs that made the site look more streamlined and load faster
  2. Make it easier for customers to more easily and confidently find the right product for them with a new year-make-model vehicle selector, collection filtering and intuitive menus
  3. Reduce the likelihood of returns with more prominently featured install guides and variant selections on PDPs
  4. Choose and implement the right apps to provide a meaningful improvement to the customer experience — such as a delivery time widget — and avoid cluttering the site with unnecessary apps that would drag down performance
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