Balfour – A Shop for Every School

Back to Our Clients Balfour

The Project

Build a product that supports custom e-commerce storefronts for 100,000 schools.


Founded in 1913, Balfour began by manufacturing and distributing jewelry to college fraternities and sororities across the United States.  As the business grew, it expanded into military and championship jewelry, as well as high school and college yearbooks.  Today, the business sustains operations for over 100,000 institutions worldwide and is the preeminent provider of academic memorabilia.

For nearly 100 years, Balfour has been producing products that celebrate the pride and passions associated with achievement.


Balfour came to us with the goal of extending their e-commerce footprint into the institutions that they serve, by enabling representatives to place bulk orders in person through a highly customized “store in a box”.  The idea was to embed a checkout process inside an external system in a way that emulated the traditional clipboard while implementing robust error checking and a streamlined fulfillment.  The major challenge was accomplishing this in the context of a 100,000 storefront Magento implementation, wherein the amount of data held in the system pushed the limits of its design.

Project goals

  • Empower sales representatives to transact more efficiently
  • Design a solution to support a 100,000 storefront Magento implementation
  • Extend the stock XML-RPC interface to enable external checkout


The project presented a series of challenges linked directly to the scale of the system, which we were generally able to tackle by augmenting Magento’s robust indexing and caching workflows and stripping out some of the unnecessary multistore metadata that Magento would rightfully retain in a normal environment.

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