Case study: How Hats Plus Upgraded Their Site for Growth

Hats Plus ( took their ecommerce business to the next level with a fully-managed Server Concierge VPS plan featuring High Availability and Automated Failover.

About Hats Plus

Chicago-based Hats Plus, Ltd. has operated a successful retail store since 1987, and a growing ecommerce presence since 2004. Currently generating about 50% of all sales, the website has experienced year over year growth in the “high double digits” and therefore may soon overshadow brick and mortar revenues significantly.

Hats Plus is a premier online resource for men’s hats of all types: Summer and Straw Hats, Leather Hats and Caps, Fedoras, Panamas and Cowboy hats. They offer a very large selection – over 600 products – and maintain a good inventory of everything offered.

“We offer quality, value and service at a fair price,” states Martin Mann, president of Hats Plus, Ltd. “It’s all about the ‘long tail’ and providing a wide range of specific items to a thin market that’s quite geographically dispersed. This allows us to be very competitive, and it also means we rely heavily on our website.”

Finding a Solid Hosting Partner

Mann tells the disturbing story of how his original shopping cart software (which was also his hosting provider) went out of business a couple of years ago, forcing him to find a new solution FAST. That’s when he found Applied Innovations.

“Looking at web hosting from a business person’s perspective, safety, security and reliability are the priorities,” Mann said. “Applied Innovations had a solid reputation and a good track record hosting ASPdotNetStorefront, so they were a great fit.”

The Next Step in Growing Revenues Online: VPS

“As our online revenues continued to grow, we realized performance and downtime would be increasingly important factors impacting our business success,” Mann continued. “We never had more than an hour or two of downtime on our shared plan, but we had to ask ourselves ‘What if?’”

Mann was attracted to AppliedI’s VPS solution because it delivers several key benefits:

  • Minimizing downtime: High Availability promised automated failover.
  • Achieving maximum performance: On-demand resources would provide the flexibility and scalability for high traffic periods and long term growth.
  • Finding a hassle-free solution: With the fully-managed Server Concierge option, he doesn’t have to be his own IT guy.

A Smooth Transition from Shared to VPS

Making a seamless transition was of critical importance. With half their revenues coming from the Hats Plus website, they couldn’t afford downtime during migration. So Applied Innovations set up a parallel site on the VPS and to ensure it was working smoothly before flipping the switch. The staging site was up for about three weeks, during with all the files were copied over and the VPS was reimaged. Once everything was functioning properly, the DNS was switched over and the new VPS site went live.

“As a small company without an IT department, I needed a hosting partner who will take charge. I don’t want to have to worry about backups, downtime, security issues, viruses, etc. I know about a lot of this but I don’t want to become an expert. And I’m willing to pay a fair price for it,” concludes Mann. “With Applied Innovations, we discovered a superior solution that gives us complete confidence going into the busy holiday ecommerce season.”

Want to benefit from near zero downtime thanks to High Availability clustering and leverage the instant scalability of cloud hosting without having to become a server administration expert. Contact our sales team at or 866.706.8691 and be ready for the busiest E-Commerce season ever!

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