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LARQ started with a simple vision: Combining innovative product technology with inspirational design to help people access clean drinking water easily and sustainably.
As an avid hiker and camper, LARQ Co-Founder and CEO Justin Wang is passionate about the environment and our society’s impact on it. He founded LARQ in part because of the struggles he encountered in his attempts to go completely plastic free, including using reusable water bottles instead of single-use plastic.
At one point, Justin had gone through between 10 and 15 different reusable water bottles. Despite his best efforts, they all eventually ended up in the back of a cabinet or growing mold in an old backpack.
He started to notice a problem: It wasn’t that reusable water bottles weren’t available. You could walk into any Whole Foods or Target to pick one up. The problem was that, according to Grand View Research, reusable bottles like these made up just 4% of the total beverage container market, compared to the 38 million single-use plastic bottles sent to landfills each year in America alone. The further Justin dug into the problem, the scarier the statistic became, and the more he felt that he could do something about it.
Justin also recognized the adoption problems that came with conventional reusable water bottles:
Justin and his co-founders thought extensively about how they could help ease consumer pain points around reusable water bottles, lower the use of single-use plastic, and help increase access to clean water. In 2018, LARQ launched the world’s first self-cleaning water bottle, as well as the largest crowdfunded effort for a clean water initiative, with over $1.7 million raised in funding.
As told to BigCommerce by Antonio Kaleb, LARQ Ecommerce Architect.
When the LARQ team was confident that we would have a positive trajectory in the market, I started researching SaaS tools that would best fit our preferences for selling online. We were looking at various platforms at the time, but ultimately, BigCommerce seemed to be more flexible for our custom needs. We believed BigCommerce had made greater strides than other platforms in building features like headless commerce integrations and multi-currency support. Moreover, when mapping out our growth, we felt that BigCommerce was going to be much more customizable than other platforms and set us up for massive growth.
Our information management system Brightpearl highly recommended BigCommerce to us. Their team had a very close relationship with BigCommerce, and BigCommerce provided a great custom solution for them. It was important for us to have good relationships with our IMS and ecommerce platform to ensure a quick implementation and the ability to develop custom additions I knew we would need in the future, like integrating with our third-party logistics (3PL) and importing pre-orders.
So we chose BigCommerce, got up and running in about two months, and never looked back.
“When mapping out our growth, we felt that BigCommerce was going to be much more customizable than other platforms and set us up for massive growth.”
As told to BigCommerce by Antonio Kaleb, LARQ Ecommerce Architect. My favorite feature is how far BigCommerce has come with their headless commerce solution, and that was always something we were very interested in. As someone with a background and experience in ecommerce, I’d say BigCommerce is the leader in the headless solutions market in terms of the great effort they put towards perfecting it. What BigCommerce is doing with headless was one of the more important factors for us when we were deciding on a platform. With headless, we get more control over our content and customer journey through checkout, which we custom-built using React on the frontend and BigCommerce on the backend. We have five regional sites, and currently four of them (US, EU, UK and CA) are live. We had a multi-region need that was solved for with the headless BigCommerce solution, allowing us to combine all of our stores into one single domain, for which we have developed additional features. The fact that we can have a bilingual website, are in complete control of translations through the customer’s journey, and can offer so many payment gateways from the get-go all on one single domain really simplifies the workflow.
“I’d say BigCommerce is the leader in the headless solutions market in terms of the great effort they put towards perfecting it.”
As told to BigCommerce by Justin Wang, LARQ Co-Founder & CEO. We wanted to go international quickly and to expand to as many markets as possible because, given our background, we knew that opportunity was going to be big for LARQ. We did a Kickstarter early on and predicted that the international market, specifically in Europe and Asia, was going to be massively important for us. One of the biggest advantages that we found with BigCommerce is that we were able to launch a site with multi-region capabilities (.uk, .ca, etc.) and offer various currencies all from a single site. We launched multi-currency in early summer 2019, which drove about an 80% increase in conversions over just three months. Our core website has grown substantially in the US as well, but we were also able to access international markets that were previously untapped when we launched international stores. We now have almost a global presence, reaching everywhere besides the larger part of Asia — which is on our agenda for 2020. The support from BigCommerce around our international growth has been very helpful in making our expansion story a successful one. One of our main goals for 2020 is to expand into additional markets and be more present in them. We’re also looking into setting up a new warehouse, expanding internationally on the operations side, and continuing to focus on our ecommerce strategy.
“We launched multi-currency in early summer 2019, which drove about an 80% increase in conversions over just three months.”
As told to BigCommerce by Antonio Kaleb, LARQ Ecommerce Architect, and Justin Wang, LARQ Co-Founder & CEO.
Two-thirds of all of our transactions come through mobile, so we knew we had to make the mobile checkout process as smooth as possible. Previously, the LARQ site had just one option for credit card checkout. However, as we started growing, we wanted to offer people multiple options to simplify the checkout process as much as possible.
We were aware of Google Pay's popularity and ease of use. As soon as we turned it on, it became one of the major gateways for our customers. We know the power of Google, and we wanted to leverage it without losing a touch point with our customers. BigCommerce did all the heavy lifting, and for us it was simply a matter of flipping on the switch. A significant portion of our transactions have gone through Google Pay since we implemented it, which is a good indication for us that we’re offering something that customers find valuable. The ability to access things like Google Pay seamlessly through BigCommerce has helped boost our conversion rate by about 20% since launch.
Google Pay has made the checkout process quicker and easier because Google users’ addresses and payment information are already stored through Google and are automatically inputted. Mobile traffic to our site continues to increase. In a mobile environment, customers don’t have the same patience for typing things in, and they’re more likely to make mistakes, both of which increase checkout time. The same way website page speed is important, time to go through the checkout process is equally important as it lowers cart abandonment and directly improves conversion rates. The fact that we can offer things like Google Pay has made transactions more seamless and cart abandonments less likely.
We’ve also discovered that Google Pay is getting the most traction in our UK store. We didn’t initially think Google Pay would help with our international conversion as much as it has, but this suggests that more people are using Google internationally, and we’re providing something useful for customers across the globe.
“We know the power of Google, and we wanted to leverage it without losing a touch point with our customers. BigCommerce did all the heavy lifting, and for us it was simply a matter of flipping on the switch.”
As told to BigCommerce by Justin Wang, LARQ Co-Founder & CEO.
Since we signed on with BigCommerce, we’ve really been able to scale on this platform. BigCommerce has gone beyond other competitors in terms of working with us and customizing a solution that's right for us.
I’d put BigCommerce up there with other companies like Amazon and Flexport in terms of our experience. BigCommerce allows businesses to be successful and removes the technical barriers to selling online seamlessly; being a SaaS solution, BigCommerce removes our need for an in-house development team to support our brand growth in different markets. The apps and BigCommerce tools we integrate with are just so intuitive, it makes it easy for us to run our site ourselves.
Another thing that’s been very impactful is the consistent support BigCommerce offers through dedicated implementation project managers and success managers. The people we worked with made our lives so much easier, and we are very grateful to them. Being an Enterprise client helps us with prompt response time from the BigCommerce team and gives us access to alpha/beta features that BigCommerce has been working on, including multi-currency and API endpoints. Overall, BigCommerce is one of those enabling technologies that's truly rare and solves a really central problem for a lot of companies, including us.
790 million people live without access to clean drinking water, according to the CDC. To make matters worse, 1 million one-use plastic bottles are added to landfills every minute, further exacerbating the problem. As part of LARQ’s core mission, we hope to see these numbers disappear. LARQ donates 1% of proceeds to 1% for the Planet to support this effort. As we grow, expand to new places and launch new products, we encourage others to support our environmental initiative. We’re confident that BigCommerce will help facilitate this growth and access through an effective, scalable platform.
“As we grow, expand to new places and launch new products, we encourage others to support our environmental initiative. We’re confident that BigCommerce will help facilitate this growth and access through an effective, scalable platform.”