Accelerated digital transformation with BigCommerce and GPMD

Japan Centre is a well-known brand in London that offers high-quality Japanese products. Over the past few years, Japan Centre’s online presence has seen considerable growth, with the pandemic accelerating the need for a scalable digital solution.

Japan Centre’s ecommerce team chose GPMD as their strategic agency partner to support their headless BigCommerce site build, consult on technical strategy and collaborate with their frontend team and UX designer.

Japan Centre

Since 1976 Japan Centre has been synonymous with authentic and high-quality Japanese products. It was founded as a hub for the Japanese community in the UK and has grown immensely over the past decades. The business not only sells Japanese products but also operates a food hall and fresh deli for its London visitors. The brand’s mission is to bring authentic Japanese flavours to its customers and provide Omotenashi, the Japanese spirit of hospitality and wholeheartedly welcoming their guests. 

The brand successfully expanded its business, creating the Japan Centre Group, which encompasses the physical stores, the online shop, Japan Centre Ichiba, Japan Centre Wholesale, Shoryu and Ramen Yokocho. These brands come under the renowned Japan Centre Group, which sells a range of products, including fresh and prepared food items, homeware goods, manga, magazines and gifts.

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Having grown successfully, Japan Centre’s online presence needed a scalable solution to take the brand to the next level. The key challenges that the brand faced were:

  • The bespoke legacy platform and tech stack was becoming increasingly harder to maintain and develop new features on.

  • The manual overhead and unique skill set needed to improve the bespoke platform was becoming harder to find, making it very challenging  for the team to optimise or develop it further.

  • Japan Centre wanted to ensure a unified and seamless customer experience across its off and online channels.

Regarding design strategy, the brand had embarked on an ambitious redesign project with their in-house design team, experienced UX designer Chris Constantine and frontend engineer Niall King. Merinda Taylor (Head of Digital and Ecommerce at Japan Centre) was looking to partner with an agency that could collaborate with the frontend and UX design team, help advise on and implement complex integrations and deliver the headless backend for a high-quality ecommerce site.


Japan Centre chose GPMD as their strategic agency partner to support them with the site overhaul and consult on technical strategy. GPMD focused on building the backend and integrations whilst working closely with the Japan Centre frontend team and UX design consultant Chris.

GPMD also played a critical strategic role in helping Japan Centre select the best tech stack for long-term performance, implementing third-party integrations, and informing on architectural decisions throughout the implementation phase.


After detailed consideration with GPMD advising, Japan Centre chose BigCommerce as its ecommerce platform to accelerate its growth. Alongside all the standard BigCommerce features, Japan Centre’s site is a headless frontend build.

Tech Stack

To offer Japan Centre a powerful and best-in-class tech stack, GPMD connected a suite of complex integrations from leading technologies in the industry.

These included:

  • Algolia for AI-automated search

  • Amplience, a headless content management tool

  • ShipperHQ for rule-based shipping

  • Shipstation as the shipping provider

  • Zonos for tax management

  • Verify My Age for age verification

  • Apio, GPMD’s iPaaS for integrations

  • A custom Nominated Delivery Day application, built by GPMD

  • A headless backend server, built by GPMD


Results within the first 3 months of going live with BigCommerce:


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order value

"The GPMD team fit just perfectly into our existing teams, and were flexible enough to work on specific areas but also lend a hand on the overall strategy.

It's rare to find an agency with such flexibility who genuinely just has the aim to help and do what they can to make a project successful. To top it off they are a really friendly bunch, it was always great to have them on a call."

- Merinda Taylor, Head of Digital and Ecommerce

Download the full case study

Download the case study to find out more about Japan Centre’s success story, the BigCommerce build and the tech stack leveraged to accelerate growth and performance.

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