Development, Design

Helping Ownable Rebuild Its Website To Quadruple Black Friday Sales

The Client

Founded in 2018, Ownable, LLC was formed as a way to offer goods and products to customers who are not able to afford up-front payments for items. Ownable is a rent-to-own company, offering affordable rental plans for customers. Ownable’s model is to offer biweekly rental payments to their customers, with the transfer of ownership after 6 months.

Ownable’s unique service had the potential to be an industry game-changer, but the remote team they hired to build their website nearly destroyed that potential.

Objectives/App Overview

  • Rebuild website from scratch
  • Streamline “Become A Member” flow to increase user retention
  • Ensure platform is well supported to handle increased traffic from Black Friday.
  • Fix technical problems preventing users from completing purchases.
  • Redesign website to better highlight Ownable’s offerings.


  • Poor infrastructure
  • Broken communication
  • Confusing design
  • Frequent crashes

It quickly became apparent to Ownable that the overseas team was fragmented and lacked leadership and project management. The team consisted of new developers hired as needed but had no vetting process to ensure compatibility with Ownable’s unique requirements.

Due to the significant time difference, communication between them and Ownable was limited and chaotic. Ownable had to review all of the code themselves because there were so many mistakes.

Development dragged on much longer than it should have.

I had panic moments about features being released and that they weren't going to work. We had lost confidence. Management had lost confidence. Our internal teams had lost confidence in believing that any of it was going to work.

In a last-ditch effort, Ownable scaled the team to more than 20 people. But even though the site was finished in four months—just in time for Black Friday—it had poor design, was unstable, and unresponsive. It simply couldn’t handle the influx of users.

Load times were terrible—more than 30 seconds per page, to the point that many pages would time out. When it did work, users got lost in the confusing, arduous sign-up process, leading to a high drop-off rate.

To make matters worse, the website ended up crashing only hours into Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, causing Ownable to potentially lose out on thousands of customers and sales.

With time, it became clear that the relationship with the remote team was untenable, and they turned to Rootstrap for help.

But with only three months left until the following Black Friday, the stakes were high. Ownable could not afford to lose out again on the most traffic-heavy ecommerce day of the year.


  1. New website with rock-solid architecture
  2. Timely, clear and immediate communications
  3. Streamlined design
  4. Quick rollout of new features

Instead of a fragmented offshore team, Rootstrap brought developers, tech leads, and project managers that had been working together as a cohesive and tight-knit team for years.

While Ownable was still engaged with the process, their experience went from nightmarish to productive. Although cleaning up the mess required constant communications between Rootstrap and Ownable to prioritize their workload, with Rootstrap being nearshore, this was easy to accomplish.

We were quickly discovering that there were hidden bombs in our code base and some architectural challenges. So we added more Rootstrap developers to the project and immediately saw productivity gains.


Ownable received 4X as many orders as the previous Black Friday, and the site handled the increased user load with ease. Previous users were also migrated seamlessly. In that single day, we helped to drive $2.5m in sale

Best of all, Ownable had peace of mind. Instead of worrying about what might go wrong next, Ownable were able to focus completely on developing and growing their business.

Rootstrap continued to work with the Ownable team after the project to add more features and continually improve the site.

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