Custom Middleware Solution

Hemline’s Transition to a Unified Commerce Solution: Utilizing a Shopify Plus Development Store as a PIM System


This case study details Hemline’s transition to a unified commerce solution by leveraging a Shopify Plus development store as a Product Information Management (PIM) system. As a leading retailer with multiple store locations, Hemline faced several operational challenges that necessitated a consolidated and efficient product management strategy. This initiative, part of a broader effort to streamline operations and enhance efficiency, involved migrating from Plytix to Shopify Plus as the PIM system, implementing a unified inventory system, and consolidating corporate locations.

Situation and Challenge

Hemline’s existing setup within Shopify presented several inefficiencies:

  1. Inefficient Product Management:
    • Disparate systems for product data management leading to inconsistencies.
    • Difficulties in maintaining accurate product information across multiple locations, resulting in fragmented data.
  2. Disparate Inventory Systems:
    • Separate inventory systems across different stores causing challenges in managing stock levels effectively.
    • Issues leading to overstocking or stockouts, which affected sales and customer satisfaction.
  3. Need for Consolidation:
    • Requirement to consolidate corporate locations into a single entity to streamline operations and reduce overheads.
    • Lack of a unified approach to product data and inventory management across all storefronts.

These issues collectively impacted operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and the ability to scale business operations effectively. To address these challenges, Hemline initiated three key projects, with the first phase focusing on transitioning to a centralized PIM system using a Shopify Plus development store.


The solution framework was designed to transition Hemline’s product management to a unified system using Shopify Plus as the central PIM. This involved several critical steps:

  1. Transition to Shopify Plus as PIM:
    • Migration: Migrating product information from Plytix to Shopify Plus. This involved extracting data from Plytix, transforming it to fit Shopify’s schema, and importing it into the Shopify Plus development store.
    • Central Repository: Setting up a Shopify Plus development store to serve as the central repository for all product data. This store was configured with custom fields and metafields to accommodate detailed product attributes.
  2. Custom UI Development:
    • User Interface: Developing a custom user interface using modern web technologies such as React and Redux to facilitate the retrieval of product information from the development store.
    • Inventory Management: Including features in the UI to manage inventory details effectively, ensuring real-time updates and visibility across all storefronts.
    • API Integration: Integrating Shopify's Admin API to fetch and display product data, including SKUs, descriptions, images, and inventory levels. This integration ensured seamless communication between the PIM system and storefronts.
  3. User Login Implementation:
    • Authentication: Implementing OAuth 2.0 for secure user authentication and authorization, ensuring that only authorized users could access and manage product data.
    • Role Management: Setting up roles and permissions to ensure store owners could only access their respective product data, thereby maintaining data integrity and security.
  4. Automated Product and Inventory Management:
    • Metafield Migration: Utilizing third-party applications such as Matrixify for metafield migration to ensure comprehensive data transfer, preserving the integrity and richness of product information.
    • Sync Mechanism: Developing a synchronization mechanism using webhooks and cron jobs to automate product updates across all storefronts, reducing manual intervention and errors.
    • Batch Processing: Implementing batch processing techniques to handle large volumes of product data efficiently, ensuring timely updates and consistency across all platforms.

Implementation Steps

The implementation plan for the first phase was detailed and structured to ensure a smooth transition:

  1. Custom UI Development:
    • Front-End Development: Creating a user-friendly interface using React to facilitate product information retrieval from the development store. The interface was designed to be intuitive, allowing store owners to easily navigate and manage product data.
    • State Management: Utilizing Redux for state management to ensure consistent and predictable data flow within the application.
    • API Integration: Integrating with Shopify’s Admin API to enable real-time fetching and updating of product information, ensuring that the development store accurately reflected the latest product data.
  2. User Login Implementation:
    • Authentication: Implementing OAuth 2.0 for secure user authentication and authorization. This included setting up OAuth providers, configuring tokens, and ensuring secure storage and handling of authentication data.
    • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): Establishing roles and permissions to ensure that only authorized users could access and modify product data. This was critical for maintaining data security and integrity across multiple storefronts.
  3. Product Transfer Automation:
    • Data Mapping: Mapping product attributes and metafields to ensure compatibility with various storefronts. This involved creating a comprehensive schema that accounted for all necessary product attributes.
    • Sync Mechanism: Developing a synchronization mechanism using webhooks to automate product updates across all storefronts. This mechanism ensured that any changes made in the PIM system were automatically reflected in the storefronts.
    • Batch Processing: Implementing batch processing to handle large volumes of product data efficiently. This included setting up batch jobs to process data in chunks, ensuring smooth and efficient data transfer.
  4. Quality Assurance and Deployment:
    • Testing: Conducting extensive user acceptance testing (UAT) to ensure the system met all functional requirements. This included testing the UI, authentication, data synchronization, and overall performance of the system.
    • Refinement: Refining the solution based on feedback and addressing any identified issues. This iterative process ensured that the final solution was robust and reliable.
    • Deployment: Deploying the solution to production and monitoring the initial rollout to ensure stability. This included setting up monitoring tools to track system performance and quickly address any issues that arose.

Benefits and Outcomes

By transitioning to a centralized PIM system using a Shopify Plus development store, Hemline achieved several key benefits:

  1. Enhanced Data Consistency:
    • Centralization: Centralizing product information ensured that all storefronts had access to accurate and consistent product data.
    • Real-Time Updates: Implementing real-time synchronization of product information across all sales channels, ensuring that any changes were immediately reflected across all platforms.
  2. Improved Inventory Management:
    • Automation: Automating inventory updates reduced the likelihood of stock discrepancies, leading to more accurate stock levels and better inventory management.
    • Efficiency: Improved overall stock management efficiency, leading to better stock availability and reduced stockouts or overstock situations.
  3. Operational Efficiency:
    • Reduction in Manual Effort: Significantly reduced the manual effort required to manage product data and inventory, allowing staff to focus on more strategic tasks.
    • Focus on Strategy: With operational tasks automated, staff could concentrate on strategic initiatives, driving business growth and innovation.
  4. Scalability:
    • Future Growth: Provided a scalable solution that could easily accommodate Hemline’s growth and expansion plans. The system was designed to handle increased data volume and complexity, ensuring long-term viability.
  5. Improved User Experience:
    • User-Friendly Interface: The custom UI provided a seamless and intuitive experience for store owners, enabling efficient management of product data.
    • Secure Access: Role-based access control ensured that data security was maintained, with users only able to access data relevant to their specific store.


The successful implementation of a Shopify Plus development store as a PIM system marked a significant milestone in Hemline’s journey toward operational excellence. By addressing the inefficiencies in product and inventory management, the new system not only streamlined operations but also laid a strong foundation for future growth. This case study underscores the importance of a well-planned and executed transition to a centralized PIM system, demonstrating how businesses can leverage Shopify Plus’s capabilities to achieve a unified and efficient commerce solution.

Through meticulous planning and execution, Hemline transformed its product information management, ensuring consistency, enhancing efficiency, and setting the stage for scalable growth in a competitive retail landscape. This unified approach not only improved operational efficiency but also positioned Hemline to better meet customer needs and drive business success.