Case Study: Steep & Brew

As a coffee roaster serving multiple market segments throughout the U.S., Steep & Brew needed to transition to an ecommerce platform that would unify their online presence and order fulfillment process.


Exit a proprietary system with limited opportunities for enhancement.

Steep & Brew was founded in 1979 with a single coffee shop on State Street in Madison, WI. They have grown tremendously and today they serve eight discreet market segments, many of which are B2B. The roaster has won awards for several of their coffees and the master roaster travels personally to the grower cooperatives in Central and South America.

When Steep & Brew approached Earthling they were looking to move to a single platform from which they could manage all of their many websites, products and market segments. In addition all of their sites ran under different URLs for different market segments. For fulfillment, the ordering system needed to integrate with an accounting system and provide the client with shipment information on their orders after the product was shipped.


Implement a single platform to meet complete ecommerce needs of all customer market segments.

Earthling Magento experts were able to smoothly transition the client to this open-source platform that has many of the features they needed as stock. Magento supports multiple storefronts with different catalogs, different designs, even different user groups and access permissions and payment methods. Aside from the great stock feature set, additional features were either added by extensions or writing custom code (in the case of order integration).

Steep & Brew B2B sites require controlled access because the product catalog and pricing is different, payment methods are different, and some sites offer point of purchase (POP) marketing materials for download that are brand-specific. They needed the ability to set up and approve customers beforehand to control purchasing for specific customer organizations. Some of the considerations that had to be taken into account included:

  • Some market segments are general consumer, so their accounts needed to be moved from the old site to the new site.
  • Redirects from the old site to the new site needed to be handled properly not only to direct traffic but to not lose SEO value in the old links.
  • Steep & Brew also needed ongoing support as their site is complex and they have maintenance updates and sporadic requests. This fits in with Earthling Interactive’s philosophy of long-term customer relationships. We maintain what we build.
  • To support digital marketing strategies we introduced fine-grained Google Analytics work using Tag Manager to help understand user behavior. Our team is well-versed in this and helped set up the correct infrastructure and train staff in how to use it.


By moving to Magento, Steep & Brew was able to extricate from a proprietary system in a controlled manner without losing any sales. Now they have a system that is more easily upgradeable with a much wider feature set, in which they are fully trained. They have better support, better Analytics, and a platform that can be maintained, upgraded and expanded. Steep & Brew can manage the sites themselves, yet know that if they need assistance, we are there to help.

Some of the data interchange for Steep & Brew required deep knowledge of integration between disparate systems and custom coding to reach into those systems to capture and push data, which we were able to achieve. This allowed automation of some critical administrative tasks. They have an assigned project manager who knows their site and history that helps provide continuity and direction for development. We also offer hosting on the Earthling Platform (built on Amazon AWS) that monitors and manages the site. This allows clients to go to one vendor for development and industrial-strength hosting.

Earthling works to understand market segments so we can deliver an appropriate solution to our clients. In addition to development, this might include design, marketing consultation, and Google Analytics strategy. Some developers specialize in a single platform, but we are able to draw from a broad knowledge base to choose the solution that is the best match for client requirements.