CASE Studies / Marvel / Mad Engine

How We Developed the Marvel Design Collection Shopify App (Powered by Mad Engine)

casestudy aspirational marvel

First Glance


What happens when ecommerce “superheroes” team up for a high-profile, never-done-before project? Magic of course!


Mad Engine is a licensed apparel wholesaler and print-on-demand manufacturer with a rich 35-year history. In this time, they’ve built an impressive roster that includes some of the world’s most recognizable brands, such as Lucasfilm, Nickelodeon, Disney and Marvel. 


As part of Disney’s initiative to expand access to officially licensed merchandise for smaller sellers via Shopify, Marvel approached Mad Engine to do something that has never been done before. They were to develop a Shopify app that allows businesses to add officially licensed Marvel merchandise and sell it directly from their Shopify store. Think t-shirts, sweaters, mugs, phone cases and other products adorned with the iconic characters that we all know and love.

marvel app laptop

But Mad Engine couldn’t do this on their own. They needed a partner that could handle the heavy demands of this project and asked Shopify if they had any recommendations. Our partners at Shopify reached out to us to see if we would be up for the challenge. Not only did we say yes immediately, but we were giddy with excitement. 


As seasoned Shopify experts that have a track record of success with high-profile enterprise clients and print-on-demand businesses as well as deep roots in Hollywood and the entertainment industry, we knew we could bring help Marvel’s vision to life.

"We were impressed with Sunrise Integration’s Shopify development experience, clear communications, and ability to deliver on their promises."


Jeff Sierra, SVP Ecommerce & Technology at Mad Engine

si portfolio marvel design collection

The Challenge


Mad Engine’s main goal was to gain the ability to import licensed products from the catalog so that store owners can publish those products on their own Shopify stores. After an order is made, their team prints, ships, and fulfills the licensed content directly to the store owners.


Our developers needed to develop and design the Marvel Design Collection app in a way that would allow it to operate at massive scale due to the global popularity of the brand and to meet the demands of a large volume of merchant installations and sales orders. It was a tall order, but we were there to save the day.


Marvel Design Collection - Powered by Mad Engine

The Solution


After thorough discovery and requirements gathering, our team began designing and building the Marvel Design Collection Shopify app and the associated administration portals, sub-systems and workflow automations from scratch. Our team employed an Agile workflow to ensure we reached all milestones on time and on budget.


Our developers needed to build the following functionalities for the Shopify app:


  • Catalog Management

  • Fulfillment Application

  • Billing

  • Shipping

  • Returns/Cancellations


We were also charged with building:


  • The software layer that goes around Mad Engine services

  • High availability infrastructure on AWS to handle high volumes of traffic

  • Custom integration so the app could connect with Mad Engine’s backend manufacturing system

  • Integration with fulfillment rates API from EasyPost

  • Custom integration for catalog in such a way that Mad Engine could easily make changes and add categories, characters, and more

  • Custom banner / featured image for promotional campaigns and marketing efforts (e.g. promoting the latest Marvel blockbuster film)


Shipping Integration with EasyPost


One of the crucial services provided by the Marvel app is to supply accurate tracking and shipping information for customers. Providing accurate shipping costs is important because it helps to build trust and loyalty. If the shipping costs are inaccurate, customers may be discouraged from making a purchase or may be surprised by the cost when they receive their order which could lead to customer dissatisfaction. Customers want to know exactly how much they will be paying for shipping before they make a purchase so the Marvel app uses an API integration with EasyPost to check the address and return the lowest shipping rates. The app sends the customer and shipping information to the EasyPost rating endpoints. The system then checks for the lowest price and returns the costs to the shipping calculator.


Infrastructure and DevOps on AWS


In addition to building the app itself, we provided Mad Engine with collaborative guidance and deployment for the AWS architecture, API abstraction layer and development roadmap to ensure stable platform architecture that would meet the demands of the Shopify ecosystem. The entire workflow relies on highly available API connections between Shopify, Mad Engine API, EasyPost API and the app API abstraction.


Marvel Mad Engine API and workflow with Shopify
Add Marvel products to your Shopify store

"Sunrise Integration has great leadership and highly talented individuals."


Jeff Sierra, SVP Ecommerce & Technology at Mad Engine

The Outcome


Marvel is the first major entertainment company to curate a lifestyle catalog for the millions of Shopify merchants, who can now sell officially licensed Marvel lifestyle products to their customers with this app. What was previously impossible, yet highly sought after, is now accessible to many businesses. 


Sunrise Integration is proud of the successful execution of this high-profile project for Disney and Marvel. The Shopify app was designed to seamlessly bring licensed Marvel merchandise to Shopify merchants everywhere. Our team crafted a service that has the flexibility to evolve with emerging trends and user behaviors. Key accomplishments from this project include streamlining the user experience, implementing state-of-the-art API integration and providing user's with data analytics for enhanced decision-making.


Our work with Mad Engine and Marvel underscores the deep commitment we have to understanding and delivering on our clients' unique needs. We bring innovation and a user-centric ethos to create lasting value for our customers.


As we move forward, we will continue to leverage the insights and experiences gained from this project to drive our ongoing efforts in ecommerce and Shopify development. We are proud of our collaboration and look forward to furthering our mission of empowering businesses with robust, tailor-made ecommerce solutions.


As the most high-profile app in the Shopify store–Mad Engine and Marvel are making a big splash and growing their presence in the ecommerce landscape!