How to Transform a Small Business into a Big Brand with Shopify
How a local cidery grew into a thriving success in just three years

Just three years ago, Annapolis Cider Company started as a small business in a small town. They have since set a lofty goal: to become a leading national premium cider brand. With Shopify, Shopify POS and some very smart initiatives, they are well on their way. 

Their owner, Sean Myles, presented at our recent Shopify Meetup, and shared with us the factors that are contributing to their growth.

Say yes

Annapolis Cider Company makes a great premium cider, which they sell in their Wolfville, NS storefront. But their out-of-town customers wanted to know if they could buy more of it after they went home. Was it available anywhere else? Did they ship their products? Were they available online? The team at Annapolis Cider had to say “no”. People really wanted to buy their product, but couldn’t. “We really wanted to be able to say yes,” says Sean.

So, using their brick-and-mortar facility as the launching pad for their online store, they made it possible for their eager customers to order and ship their products across Canada. “It’s all about [finding] ways of meshing the bricks-and-mortar, the traditional business, with the online business.”


“We really wanted to be able to say yes”

First, they reached out to Able Sense; we built them a Shopify platform with integrated POS, but that was just the beginning. (Read the case study here.) 


Know your strengths; invest in your assets

Annapolis Cider invests some of its marketing budget in training its staff. This business was built one customer at a time via great one-on-one interaction in-store. They have leveraged this face-to-face interaction to help start long-term digital relationships and repeat sales. 

Staff now tell customers while they’re in-store that they ship everywhere in Canada and that their products are available online. The Annapolis Cider Company staff is now also incentivized to encourage customers to buy their ciders online. 



Their simplest hack? They keep a tablet in store with “Join our Newsletter!” on it (ACC only uses permission marketing), so that customers that walk in can add their names to the email list themselves. Staff can also use it to guide customers through the online ordering process and can convert these new online customers right in-store.


“People who shop online tend to buy more premium products than people who actually come into the store.” 

Use analytics to make smart business decisions

Using the intuitive tools in Shopify Analytics, Annapolis Cider keeps a close eye on their orders, margins and conversion rates. Not only are they able to keep their margins profitable, they discovered that their online customers tend to spend more per order -- an average order online is $132 -- and prefer premium products. They have also introduced a threshold for free shipping to leverage people’s love of free shipping. 

Their analytics show a consistent return on their newsletter, and they are currently using social media and their newsletter sign-ups to profit from this information. 

Finally, they have also introduced a subscription service with their product-only Cider Club. They use Bold’s Subscriptions app to process their twice-yearly shipments, and are seeing its membership increase every time.



Sean freely admits that they are learning marketing as they go along, but by keeping abreast of the data they collect, and applying what they know they’re good at -- knowing their customers and making delicious premium cider -- they are well on their way to their goal.

Annapolis Cider Company chose a Shopify platform with integrated shipping capability, a Shopify POS and accounting apps. All of these optimize their time so that they can serve their growing customer base. Our case study is here.

Follow Annapolis Cider Company on Instagram and Twitter.