International Military Antiques has gone through some significant changes since it was founded more than 30 years ago.
What began as a pen and paper operation in a New Jersey garage is now the world’s leading retailer of pre-1945 military collectibles and antiques.
It didn’t happen overnight, though, and it likely wouldn’t have happened at all if it wasn’t for the tenacity and business savvy of Alex Cranmer, IMA’s vice president, and his father Christian, who founded the business in 1981.
But the success they’ve enjoyed since going online more than a decade ago has been stunning, due in part to the company’s use of Rackspace Managed Cloud with digital expertise to power their Magento ecommerce platform.
“Our revenue doubled the first year we had a website,” Cranmer said. “But then we had a whole new set of problems on our hands, including the bottleneck of how order management happened and the overall flow of the business.”
IMA was also growing rapidly, and having trouble with the traffic spikes that often accompany fast-paced growth.
Magento, Cranmer said, helped change that, and was ultimately a major factor in allowing his site’s traffic to grow exponentially, while bumping up daily sales.
“We used to do maybe 100 orders a month, 1,200 orders a year,” he said. “Now we do more than 40,000 orders annually.”
In another, more recent affirmation of Cranmer’s success, he recently accepted an offer to become the Military Antiques Expert on the popular History Channel show Pawn Stars. Episodes featuring Cranmer began airing this year.
IMA’s inventory includes antique guns, ammunition, flags and signs, field gear and more. Cranmer estimates the oldest item in their collection currently dates back to 1640.
With a niche like that, and a customer base that is constantly growing, Cranmer knew his ecommerce platform would be IMA’s inflection point. So he chose wisely, and also looked to a hosting provider with expertise in managing ecommerce platforms.
Cranmer said he particularly liked Magento because of the flexibility it offers each user.
“And if you’re smart about it, you can do it on a budget,” he added, “unlike some other SaaS platforms, which may give you more options at the start, but then you really pay through the nose for all of those options.”
With Rackspace Digital, Cranmer got access to the expertise and resources he needed to run his Magento ecommerce site at scale, so he could focus on growing his online business. The combination of Rackspace expertise on top of a Magento platform, he said, was akin to a blank canvas for him to paint on.
“And that I appreciate,” he said. “I don’t need somebody to paint my canvas, I just need the right materials in order to do it myself.”
Magento offers the best in-class solutions for IMA’s ecommerce needs, he added, without the company being boxed in to a perpetually licensed SaaS platform.
The success these tools have afforded IMA continue to propel the business forward. The company was recently featured on a National Geographic spot, which resulted – as TV appearances often do – in a huge spike in traffic.
Cranmer reported no issues during those peak times, and even said he’s seen a lasting effect from the show and subsequent attention.
“We were already one of the biggest kids on the block,” he said, “and this gave us better exposure. Now we’re the big kid on the block.”
To learn more about how Rackspace Managed Cloud with Digital expertise has helped power IMA’s Magento ecommerce environment, check out the video below, and read our full case study on this unique Rackspace customer.