Yes, one dedicated designer can build an entire E-commerce store using Drupal 7, Drupal Commerce, and a small group of smart little modules!
Without any PHP or HTML coding knowledge, or an understanding of hooks, or the ability to create custom code changes (beyond a daunting amount of CSS customizations), it's possible for one person to create a CMS-driven online, custom-themed store that actually generates revenue! That's the power of Drupal.
Bikes, Gear & More was built by Thrive Multimedia (a.k.a. Jeff Houde), which partnered up with a Vancouver-based cycling store called The Bike Gallery. The website is dedicated to providing cyclists with access to high-end Bikes, Gear, Parts and Wear at Sale and Clearance prices, and boasts a selection of high-quality, brand-name equipment and clothing.
I chose Drupal 7 after having had a positive experience with Drupal 6 and wanting to take my first shot at implementing the new Drupal Commerce package (having used Ubercart in the past with mixed results). I spent several weeks designing the features, planning out the structure of the website and coming up with content mock-ups before confirming that Drupal Commerce had the necessary modules - either in release or development versions - to fulfill the design.
Given that this was to be a fairly large e-commerce site, with between 1000-2000 product variations, it seemed clear that a CMS was required. But, more than just a CMS, Drupal was the natural choice because it was evident early on that I would need four different product displays and four different product variation types (one for each display type) to allow for the customization of specs, videos, and information that one encounters when selling products as varied as high-end bikes, baskets, chains, and jerseys - all in one store.
The development mission was clear - create an easy to navigate, simple, and mobile-friendly website that cyclists of all skill levels would embrace for their online shopping.
The design mission was a little more difficult, as the website needed to have the bright colors and vibrant approach of a "deals"/"clearance" site, but maintain the elegance and polish associated with the brands that we carry (which includes bikes up to $15,000). With those two elements clearly in mind, I embraced a four-color design scheme, crafted a relatively bright logo, repeatedly used an orange gradient as a highlight color, but kept the navigation and buttons more reserved with a simple black and beige combination for a hint of luxury and classic style.
Early on I made the decision, based on the expected inventory, to classify the products into four categories - Bikes, Gear, Parts and Wear. To facilitate all four, not only was a basic Taxonomy set up, but four different product variation and product display types were created. The result was a clear way to differentiate the displays for different product types, although the design required all of the products to share the same basic visual presentation.
To cut down on the sheer number of products offered (and reduce the need for duplicate product entries based on size, color, etc), a rather complex series of Product Attributes were used (thanks to Commerce Product Attributes and Commerce Fancy Attributes) that not only allowed for the presentation of bike sizes, clothing sizes, and parts dimensions, but also allow for color options across all product types. Using custom fields in each of the product variations, the "rendered term" selection of the attribute field settings and a large number of custom graphics created in Photoshop, this was achieved visually with the use of small thumbnails that shoppers can easily spot next to the add to cart button.
Beyond testing and reporting on the modules used, (i.e., Commerce Canada Post, Feedback Simple, and Commerce Kickstart) no other contributions were made to the Drupal community, as no custom modules were required.
I would like to express my thanks to the Drupal community and specifically to the great team at Commerce Guys, for everyone's help in dealing with bugs, providing tutorial videos (i.e. for subjects like rules implementations - I'm looking at you, rfay and rszrama ) and of course, for the continuing stream of custom modules that keep solving the walls we all bump into from time to time.
The reason I use Drupal and continue to advertise its benefits to anyone who asks is because of the coders, programmers, and developers that slog away long hours in front of their screens making Drupal just a little bit better every single day.
The team was one very stubborn, dedicated designer (with no social life to speak of) and his trusty companion - a Maltese Puppy named Brutus who was mostly there for morale reasons (his coding skills are terrible).
The extended team included Stephen, Peter and Jay of the Bike Gallery Bike Shop in Vancouver B.C. They provided basic info on the products that they felt were appropriate for the site (the basic requirements being that the products be ones that these avid cyclists felt comfortable recommending to their peers).