State Forty Eight Shopify Plus Case Study

More Than Just an Apparel Line, State Forty Eight Represents a Lifestyle, a Sense Of Community, and is an Expression Of Pride.

So, what do they do?

Founded in 2013 by local entrepreneurs, Michael, Stephen and Nicholas, State Forty Eight was born out of a shared passion and appreciation for the great state of Arizona.

From sports fans and outdoor explorers to the more fashion-forward, the homegrown brand offers gear for all thats both stylish and comfortable.

Above all else, State Forty Eight is about redefining the status-quo and inspiring others to rise up and stand for something they believe in. So, wear it loud and wear it proud, and let the State Forty Eight logo serve as a reminder to proclaim your passions but never forget where you came from.


Arizona Pride Apparel Line Focused on Collaborations

The new-and-improved State Forty Eight website refines the user experience while preserving what made the old website so special. Each page is hand-crafted with the State Forty Eight customer at heart, resulting in a fully-custom Shopify Plus Store that holds true to this one-of-a-kind brand and its stellar community.

State Forty Eight Needed…

UX Research

State Forty Eight knew better than to go into this project blind. They wanted empirical data to make better decisions about the user experience.

Web Design

Brand was everything for State Forty Eight. The new website had to preserve the things that made the State Forty Eight community special.

Custom Web Development

Templates wouldn’t do. State Forty Eight’s website had to be custom-built from scratch. Our team developed a custom theme utilizing custom fields, meta boxes and custom post types to keep the site highly organized and a breeze to maintain.

More than just apparel

State Forty Eight strives to create more than just comfortable and stylish clothing; they desire to reinvigorate pride in the state of Arizona through good design, community building, and collaboration with other proud Arizona businesses.

As their brand exploded in popularity, State Forty Eight decided they needed a website renovation to handle the expanding community. However, they didn’t want any old agency; they wanted a collaborative Arizona partner that shared their vision.

The Challenge

State Forty Eight’s collaboration designs have caused the entire brand to skyrocket in popularity. As their thriving community expanded, the State Forty Eight team wanted to provide a better online experience to improve their funnel, boost conversion, and reduce abandonment.

We’ve been building e-commerce sites for years, but this one posed some unique and exciting challenges.


The State Forty Eight brand is borderline sacred to them. This new-and-improved website needed to capture even the most minuscule aspects of their brand.

Effective E-commerce

We’ve built plenty of e-commerce websites, but this store had to completely encompass State Forty Eight’s values.


This is the challenge we were most excited about! Since State Forty Eight is a very collaborative brand, we wanted to get them even more involved than usual.

User Research

Our team always does extensive research before accepting a project, but this time, we needed to go the extra mile. State Forty Eight didn’t want to sit back and watch us build a shiny version of their current site; they wanted to work alongside us to create a completely reimagined website with the same feel. Doing this would require a very thorough understanding of how their users behaved.


Our general research hypothesis was simple: users wanted better flow with that special forty-eight feel. We could tell the brand was rock-solid, but the website needed some more love to reflect it.

Goals and Objectives

The research process began with the website. It was the perfect starting place because it held a wealth of data about how customers used the site. Side-by-side with the State Forty Eight team, our UI/UX experts ran a thorough usability audit of the existing website, examining analytics, drop-off points, and other critical obstacles. These examinations helped us identify major issues that needed to be addressed.

We also ran several usability comparisons against competitor websites. By examining other websites that customers might turn to, we were able to more strongly identify State Forty Eight’s strengths and weaknesses, giving us ample opportunity to build something that put their best face forward. Throughout this multifaceted in-depth research process, we made a few important discoveries.

Discovery 1


One of the biggest usability roadblocks was navigation. Thus, we spent much of our effort into making it more usable.

Discovery 2

Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty strategies proved most effective in spreading the mission and breeding word of mouth marketing.

Discovery 3

Social Proof

Many competitors were extremely strategic with categorization, putting “popular” and other social proof first.

Specification Sheet

After we walked State Forty Eight through the detailed usability audit, we set goals and benchmarks together. To ensure success, we tried to make each goal as measurable as possible.

Goals and Objectives

Goals and Objectives

The first goal was to decrease bounce rate by making the landing page more engaging. This objective fit brilliantly into their funnel and gave us a measurable benchmark.

Similarly, the second goal covered the next step in the conversion funnel: to increase the number of items entering the cart and decrease cart abandonment.

This gave us two KPIs to work with and encompassed both the landing and navigation pages. Finally, they set the goal of increasing the number of returning customers.

Above all, they wanted to develop the State Forty Eight community--after all, Arizona pride is the entire reason they created the company--and return customers were measurable evidence of spreading AZ pride. We took careful note of each goal and started planning the optimal solution.

Our Collaborative Solution

Our Collaborative Solution

These goals guided every decision we made, and with State Forty Eight by our side, we set forth to collaborate on their greatest website yet.

This solution would be a fully-custom ground-up redesign of their existing website running on Shopify Plus , which gave them ample flexibility and ultimate user focus.

Project Planning

Project Planning

This project would be immensely collaborative. Immediately, we decided upon agile development and continuous integration to deliver the best final product as soon as possible.

After each design and development sprint, we would return the results to the team for immediate feedback.

That way, we could adjust the plan as we went to more accurately reflect State Forty Eight’s specifications.

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Working with StateFortyEight has been a great opportunity to practice minimal design. Their brand embodies simplicity, so the new website design had to be simple, yet bold and easy to use for shoppers and the team.

We got the chance to create some new custom functionality for Shopify Plus including a popup shopping cart, variable gift cards, and a modernized checkout process. The resulting design showcases newest products, and tells a little more of the brand’s story so customers can learn how the company started.


This project grew to be a thorough exercise in minimalist design, starting from the wireframe. This phase was critical for refining the website’s UI.

After all, for the design to be perfect, we needed to test a few things out. The wireframes gave us that opportunity to iterate designs to fit State Forty Eight’s exact specifications.

The wireframes distilled many of our more nebulous ideas, requirements, and goals into something we could almost touch. The checkout process, which previously only existed as a user flow, became fully tangible.

After receiving feedback, we rearranged and refined the wireframes to make the simple design bolder and more streamlined.

Prototypes and Design

Once the wireframes were as slick, simple, and stunning as we liked, our professional designers began to design the website. They started by crafting the ideal homepage, repeatedly refining it. The final page looked sleek, simple, and streamlined, yet bold--just as State Forty Eight wanted.

We used this home page as a mini-template. Many components were reusable, such as headers, footers, and buttons. Other pieces needed to be custom-designed for each page. We worked tirelessly to keep the price down while delivering the best possible final product.

One of the key design focuses was checkout. A big goal was to reduce cart abandonment, so we went all-in to make sure those items were getting purchased.

Our expert designers worked tirelessly to find the best way to convert shoppers into paying customers and created a more modernized checkout flow that guided the customer through each step. Combined with expertly-crafted pop-up shopping cart designs, this checkout was killer for conversions thanks to the design.

Yet no one page can summarize this stunning website. They all work together in perfect harmony. The "About Us" page honors the community that makes this brand so unique, while the blog keeps them informed, educated, and welcome.

Even the retailers page brings the community together to find the best gear. Each page was designed for balance, so every pixel embraces the State Forty Eight brand, personality, and community.

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Our team worked long and hard to put everything that makes State Forty Eight such a special brand into the core functionality of the website. With killer functionality, Shopify Plus integrations, and lovingly hand-crafted features, this website was as custom as they come.

Front-end Development

The front-end development focused mostly on converting these expert designs into code. We began by coding the landing page of the website. We turned the code into usable components, then used it as a framework for building the other pages on the website.

That way, we could save State Forty Eight lots of time and money. Because the design work had been so thorough, front-end development was a breeze. It enabled the developers to focus more on making everything work flawlessly.

At this phase, we began to work on the Shopify Plus integrations. They helped us build a stronger, more robust, and more usable eCommerce store that fit State Forty Eight’s exact specifications.

The pop-up shipping cart relied heavily on these integrations and significantly reduced cart abandonment. Once the front end worked seamlessly, the back-end developers got to work making sure the website worked just as well behind-the-scenes.

Back-end Development

Even the back end of the theme was built from the ground up to support exactly what State Forty Eight desired in a website. To make their experience as comfortable as the customer’s, we built the back end on Shopify Plus . That way, they could use the brilliant CMS to add new blog posts and manage bits and pieces of their website as they went.

We also integrated several Shopify Plus apps directly into their website. This was critical for building some of the most important features, such as variable gift cards and the new-and-improved checkout. These features significantly improved the flow of the website and enabled it to handle pretty much anything.

State Forty Eight knew full well that their online experience was key to their brand, and we wanted to reflect that robustness in the structure of the site. Custom APIs and back-end coding made all these features flawless.

Of course, the entire project was built strongly around managed hosting. This hosting was significantly more secure and reliable than cheaper hosting and ensured that the website could hold up to any troubles that could arise.


Pre-launch quality assurance was extremely effective. Our developers and QA engineers diligently tried to break every part of the website in as many realistic to outlandish ways as possible.

We stretched the website to its limit and it still held up. Once we and State Forty Eight were fully confident with the results, we launched the site.


Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We maintained the feel of the website and brand while completely restructuring the backend and navigation to yield a better user experience. It was more State-Forty-Eight-like than before.

Constant communication was entirely to thank for the success. All that feedback kept us informed, allowing us to plan and execute a much better website. That continues to grow.


This website wasn’t a one-and-done project. Rather, it is an ongoing initiative heralded by both our teams to gradually develop the site into something greater.

The Shopify Plus CMS makes it easy for State Forty Eight to frequently update their site with blogs, new products, and more, and our custom integrations and plugins keep all the user data they need at their fingertips. Internal testing and iteration continues as the website grows and prospers.

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