Maplin, a well-known UK electronics retailer, transitioned from a brick-and-mortar presence to an online-only model after the closure of its physical stores in 2018. This blog explores Maplin’s journey in adopting and utilizing Magento as their e-commerce platform, highlighting key strategies, technological decisions, and insights from Ollie Marshall, Managing Director of Digital First Retail, which operates Maplin.

1. The Shift to Magento

Maplin’s adoption of Magento for their e-commerce operations was driven by the need for flexibility, customization capabilities, and efficient hosting. Magento’s platform-as-a-service on AWS offered the right blend of control and ease of use, allowing Maplin to tailor the platform to their specific needs while benefiting from reliable hosting and support.

2. Building a Competitive Edge through Technology

Recognizing technology as a key competitive advantage, Maplin focused on developing a robust back-office system to manage their extensive and diverse product catalog and supply chain. This approach prioritized in-house development, supplemented by freelancers, over outsourcing to agencies, aligning with Maplin’s goal of maintaining control and adaptability in their technological infrastructure.

3. Embracing a Headless E-commerce Architecture

Maplin is transitioning to a headless e-commerce architecture, separating the front-end user experience from the Magento backend. This shift, utilizing technologies like React and Next.js, aims to improve site performance, enhance SEO, and provide a more dynamic and responsive user experience. The headless approach also allows for greater flexibility in integrating best-in-class services for various aspects of the e-commerce operation.

4. The Role of External Tools and Services

Maplin’s technology stack extends beyond Magento, incorporating external tools for specific functions. For instance, Akeneo serves as their product information management system, handling the complexities of their extensive product catalog. Other tools like Algolia for search and Signifyd for fraud protection complement Magento, ensuring a seamless and secure shopping experience.

5. Staying True to Magento’s Core for Stability

A key strategy in Maplin’s use of Magento has been to stick closely to the platform’s core functionality, particularly in areas like the checkout process. This approach reduces the risks associated with heavy customization, ensuring stability and taking advantage of Magento’s continuous improvements and updates.

6. Advice for Magento Users

For businesses using or considering Magento, Maplin’s experience underscores the importance of understanding your competitive advantages and aligning your technology choices accordingly. Customizing Magento should be approached cautiously, focusing on areas that genuinely add value while maintaining the flexibility to adapt and evolve the platform as needed.


Maplin’s journey in revitalizing their brand online through strategic technology choices offers valuable lessons for e-commerce businesses. Emphasizing flexibility, control, and a keen understanding of their unique needs, Maplin has successfully navigated the transition from a traditional retail model to a dynamic online presence. Their experience highlights the importance of choosing the right e-commerce platform and leveraging technology as a competitive advantage in today’s digital marketplace.

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