A prominent German online marketplace delivers a highly performant web store and custom user experience with Alokai


About Impericon

Impericon is a prominent German online marketplace specializing in music and fashion, particularly catering to the alternative and hardcore music scenes. Founded in Leipzig in 2004, Impericon has grown to become a go-to destination for fans of rock, metal, and streetwear fashion. The platform offers a vast selection of merchandise, including band apparel, vinyl records, accessories, and more, from both established and emerging artists. Impericon is known for its strong community engagement, hosting events, festivals, and collaborations with musicians.

IC Music and Apparel GmbH, the company behind the Impericon retail brand, has been a leading eCommerce player in the music and fashion industry for over 15 years. It began as a humble "garage company," producing merchandise for American bands to sell during their tours. Today, their product range spans merchandise, streetwear textiles, sound carriers, tickets, and accessories.

The company not only serves as a retailer but also actively designs and manufactures merchandise collections for artists, making a substantial portion of its income from these products and sound carriers. Currently, their catalog boasts around 28,000 primary items, available in approximately 400,000 configurations, each featuring over 300 attributes spread across 3,200+ categories and accessible through 16 store-views in the realms of music, fashion, and lifestyle.

IC Music and Apparel GmbH dispatches approximately 300,000 shipments annually to destinations across Germany and Europe. Beyond streetwear items, they distribute merchandise, tickets, and media for music bands spanning metalcore, metal, rock, and indie genres. Furthermore, in addition to their Impericon merchandise and lifestyle platform, the company offers artists a white-label solution for direct-to-consumer (D2C) eCommerce.

The Challenge

The product range, customer data, and feature pool were constantly growing, and - at some point - the company started to have troubles mapping this scale into our infrastructure. Based on an old version of Magento (despite constant updates), the system lacked significant improvements as technical as from an operational position. As a result, the application kept getting heavier and more difficult to host, scale or work with. Also, with the massive growth of product data, the company ran into issues during traffic peaks and with caching caused by the EAV data model of Magento.

We noticed that we needed a lot more time for improvements than competitors with a less monolithic eCommerce platform. Thus, our goal was to become more state-of-the-art again by updating our stack. To gain flexibility again, we needed to dispense our functionality into smaller applications and services, which are easier to maintain. 

Christian Ewald

Full-Stack Developer for IC Music and Apparel GmbH

Impericon decided to start with the frontend as it considered the performance issues harder to bear for the customer than for processes behind the scenes. However, decoupling the front end from the back end was just the first step for replacing Magento and gained more flexibility.

During the usual effort in performance- and UX improvements, we concluded that we couldn’t depict our features and goals in the frontend as long as we use the same system as the backend. First, we needed a lot of hardware resources to run each entity of Magento performant, and second, we weren't able to rely on modern technology during the development. So it became less and less fun to work with.

Christian Ewald

Full-Stack Developer for IC Music and Apparel GmbH

In the meantime, the stake of mobile users of overtook 50%, which forced decisions on which mobile approach the company should choose (PWA, mobile-first or -only). But again, the company didn't want to base this project on the current system.



Impericon was cognizant of the impending end-of-life status of Magento and the pressing need to identify a suitable replacement platform. Their primary objective was to regain the agility required to stay competitive in the ever-evolving market while ensuring the stability of their platform, particularly during high-traffic periods.

We just did a proof-of-concept of how easy it could be to have a PWA with our catalog-data based on different headless eCommerce systems and finally decided that it can be done on our own and in a reasonable amount of time. ​Our dev team is entirely in-house and small, so we knew that we couldn’t create dedicated apps for each platform and needed an all-purpose, multiplatform solution that led us to a PWA.

Christian Ewald

Full-Stack Developer, IC Music and Apparel GmbH

The company has been using Magento and relied a lot on the indexing process, which became very hard to handle and also took a long time to run.

We always struggled to have up-to-date product-data in the frontend. The full-page and application-caching we needed to stay fast also didn’t help with that. By switching to a document-based data-model, we mostly ditch the indexing – we are on it – and didn't need an FPC anymore. This way that leads we can have products online and offline in a short amount of time and also be able to customize the UX for each customer easily.
After the first proof-of-concept, it was clear that there was a lot that the VSF already took care of by offering the Magento indexer and bridge but still it was customizable enough to extend it by our extensive set of custom features we needed.

Christian Ewald

Full-Stack Developer for IC Music and Apparel GmbH

The company was searching for a customizable PWA solution that, at best, has a connection to Magento 1. It had no one specific contender, but - given the previous experience - the most wanted was a JS-based solution. 

Alokai was considered because of the vibrant community and significant online presence, but the research wasn’t limited to those factors. IC Music’s developers attended a hackathon in Berlin and Hannover, where they were able to test how working with Alokai looks like in practice. 

Impericon decided to go with Alokai even though there were no this-scaled stores based on VSF, and only a few agencies were familiar with the solution. The bet was dicey, but - as it soon turned out - it was also worth taking.

We are becoming more flexible and faster during the development as we use a state-of-the-art stack of technologies. Because of the performance improvements, our caching-strategy can be less aggressive than before. This way, it’s also much easier to deliver a custom user experience. We can make more complex and still performant queries against our catalog-data as we rely on a document-based database. Also, product-data is now displayed on time and up-to-date in the frontend. Thanks to the agnostic approach, it will be easier to switch or add another 3rd party services. And finally, it’s possible to scale the applications up and down horizontally.

Christian Ewald

Full-Stack Developer for IC Music and Apparel GmbH


To sum it up, the key results of a Alokai implementation for Impericon include:

  • Increased flexibility and speed in development;
  • Reduced need for aggressive caching due to performance improvements;
  • Enhanced ability to deliver a custom user experience;
  • Capability to execute more complex yet still performant queries;
  • Timely and up-to-date product data displayed in the frontend;
  • Simplified integration and adaptability for switching or adding third-party services;
  • Scalability with horizontal application scaling.


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