Considered commerce. Robust results.
One Rockwell is a digital agency with a strong emphasis on commerce design and development. The team has deep experience in the fashion and lifestyle space, supporting major brands such as Oscar de la Renta and S'well.
Marc Fisher, Sigerson Morrison, S'well, Oscar de la Renta
"High costs for mediocre value."
One Rockwell built an e-commerce website from scratch. Development on Magento Enterprise 2 required custom shipping and order processing integrations.
"High costs for mediocre value."
Mar 8, 2018
The website launched with many functionalities and plugins missing. Its performance was unreliable. The initial team was promising, but high turnover affected One Rockwell’s ability to deliver. They responded unprofessionally to feedback and lacked transparency about costs and documentation.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
I co-founded a northeastern retail store. We have several locations.
What challenge were you trying to address with One Rockwell?
Our website, which ran on Magento Opensource, kept breaking and required extensive updates.
What was the scope of their involvement?
They said we needed a new website built from scratch on either Magento Community 2, Magento Enterprise 2, Shopify, or Shopify Plus. We chose Magento Enterprise 2 because it was scalable, secure, and the best fit our criteria.
We had scope documentation in place for the requirements. For example, we needed shipping integrations to replace a custom-built tool that a logistics company had created for the old website. Our company uses standard shipment options for packages in three sizes, but we also process custom orders. The integration needed to accommodate both order types.
What is the team composition?
The entire team had 10 resources. We interacted primarily with the project manager; we occasionally met with the developers.
How did you come to work with One Rockwell?
One of our old developer’s colleagues recommended them. Initially, we wanted to work with the colleague’s company, but they were too big and didn’t work on our platforms. They suggested One Rockwell as an alternative.
How much have you invested with them?
We spent over $400,000. We had milestone payments during development and a monthly retainer post-launch.
What is the status of this engagement?
Work started in April 2016 and ended the engagement in December 2017.
How did the relationship evolve?
It deteriorated. The site launched in November 2016, but performance issues arose that they wouldn’t resolve. As a result, we engaged another vendor in November 2017, one month prior to our monthly service contract’s expiration. We then requested source codes, access to databases, hosting notes, and the original design files. They wouldn’t provide the documentation, even though we already paid through the end of the contract. Eventually, we recovered some data by accessing shared project management tools.
Their emails about this issue were threatening and dismissive. The tone made us confident in our decision to walk away from the partnership.
Describe the issues and One Rockwell’s attempts to resolve them.
The website had key functionalities missing at the time of launch. Our landing page stuck on regular basis and a live webcam feed of our store we requested was completely left off the site. They insisted the latter wasn’t part of the original scope, but it absolutely was.
The site reverted back to previous versions every time One Rockwell did Magento updates, which they consistently delayed. As a result, typos and incorrect phone numbers kept emerging. We also discovered multiple instances of extended downtime, even though we were paying for extensive monitoring.
The team denied these issues and tried to blame us. They made minimal efforts to fix them, often claiming that improvements were impossible. One Rockwell was borderline disrespectful. We had hired them for their expertise, but they talked down to us in a condescending manner. We had been very clear about our needs, none of which were particularly complicated. The team discussed our specifications at length in the early stages, but didn’t meet any of those requests.
Describe the impact this engagement has had on your business.
Customers had unreliable experiences. Often, they couldn’t complete orders because standard plugins were missing. Placing orders took nearly 10 minutes because the backend defaulted to autofill, rather than allowing users to tab through fields. Customers were also unable to include gift messages. Since most orders are gifts, we had to field several calls and emails to incorporate the messages.
As standard practice, we ship our orders to arrive within two days. The zip code and shipping feature was never a problem on the old website. However, the new version erroneously included a second-day air option for intra-city deliveries.
These issues were absurd. The new vendor resolved everything within days.
How was project management handled?
Everybody we worked with was very nice; they used Basecamp. However, the project managers didn’t have technological backgrounds; we didn’t know that prior to engagement.
There was also turnover after a few months. We enjoyed the original team, but their replacements couldn’t deliver. The changes were continuous. We had three different project managers in 18 months.
More recently, third party auditors told us that development didn’t follow best practices for UX design. While we chose not to revert to our old Magento platform, it’s still unclear if that would have been a good temporary fix.
When we hired another vendor, One Rockwell said they couldn’t provide documentation from the code repository because they had used a proprietary system. They never disclosed that detail upfront. We paid for a website built from scratch, but they likely didn’t follow best practices for that either.
Is there anything that the vendor did well or that you would consider a strength?
The original team was amazing. The turnover disappointed us because we never saw that group’s work.
In what specific areas can they improve?
One Rockwell said that moving forward, they’d only hire project managers with relevant technological experience. That would be a good start.
What advice do you have for clients with similar needs to yours?
Finding a vendor was overwhelming. We chose them because their past work looked beautiful. However, we should have realized earlier that the way they spoke to us was substandard.
The new partner had no problems resolving issues that One Rockwell tried to brush off as misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations. Currently, our website has no problems.