Software Development / Customer Story

Building an E-Commerce platform to represent multiple brands in store specific webshops

The sting increases functionality & scalability and reduces time to market (TTM) & development costs by building a multi-tenant e-commerce platform.

The Sting wanted to expand its presence with brand-specific stores, plus an updated e-commerce strategy to reflect this. To enable The Sting to offer its brands through store-specific webshops with minimum maintenance, and increased flexibility and efficiency, we built a state-of-the-art e-commerce platform on top of a modern IT stack. We also coached The Sting in adopting an Agile approach, which resulted in reduced lead times and increased adaptability.

The Sting, a chain of fashion stores, offers apparel to men and women in Belgium and the Netherlands. In 2013, its webshop was launched, enabling customers to find their favorite brands at the touch of a button. With a growing amount of purchases made in webshops, The Sting needed to create a future-proof e-commerce strategy.

Why

Support a variety of brands with better efficiency

What

A multi-brand e-commerce platform

How

Building a new multi-brand e-commerce platform

The Challenge

The old Hybris platform was no longer scaling to the company’s needs. It couldn’t create new brand webshops, quickly iterate on the design or functionality of current stores, and it was expensive to operate. Instead of using a single system, The Sting duplicated the original architecture for new stores, increasing maintenance and operation costs. Additionally, testing was not automated, which led to unpredictability and inhibited developers from releasing new versions. Overall, releasing was always an issue, so The Sting decided it was time to implement a new and improved architecture.

"The Xebia team keeps us sharp and innovative. With the help of Xebia, over the years, we have managed to build a great platform where several tenants can live on."

Michelle Audiffred (Product Owner E-commerce) at The Sting

Project goals

  • Create a solution that allows The Sting to save money by lowering development and hosting costs
  • Enable The Sting to start iterating on the design and functionality of the multiple brand webshops quickly and at significantly reduced cost
  • Deliver a front-end codebase that can be used to deliver various distinct brand webshops
  • Focus on mobile and performance. Ensure it loads and works fast, on both desktop and mobile
  • A consistent and maintainable source code, covered by unit and end-to-end tests
  • All webshops should run on the same platform
  • Educate and train The Sting’s employees to maintain and run the new platform

The Solution

A new platform

Xebia built The Sting’s new platform on top of Lightbend’s Lagom microservices framework, an opinionated framework that helps developers leverage the benefits of a microservices architecture while avoiding common traps. The system’s state is kept as a stream of (business) events. This model, also known as Event-Sourcing, reduces the interdependency of services by guaranteeing that individual service states don’t diverge while allowing all services to communicate over a message bus.

The new front-end we created is a modern React application, built upon functional, scalable, component-based architecture. For TheSting, providing customers a positive experience and increasing customer loyalty are main priorities. The Development Team works side by side with the UX team to guarantee the best user experience on all types of devices and screens. The application uses a bunch of great modern tools, like Jest, Cypress, and Chromatic, for unit, end-to-end, and visual regression tests to maintain code quality and stability.

To ensure that the platform works as it should during every step of a development process, Xebia helped set up a CircleCI. Code changes are now automatically built, tested, and prepared for a release to production.

The new platform also empowers the business to experiment with new ideas. Its infrastructure is entirely cloud-native, leveraging the power of Google Cloud and Kubernetes to guarantee uptime with a small team. Kubernetes and Docker also ensure short release cycles and reduce Time-To-Market (TTM).

An Agile way of Working

In addition to the new platform, Xebia trained The Sting’s teams to work in an Agile way. Now, changes are made more quickly and with confidence. The Agile method significantly reduces the lead time before value is added, creates more flexibility within the organization, and accommodates The Sting’s shifting priorities. A multi-disciplinary team set-up ensures all knowledge is shared, widespread, and up-to-date. We also assisted The Sting with recruitment by co-hosting a meetup at Xebia’s Amsterdam office, sharing a stage at an e-commerce conference, and interviewing potential candidates.

The Results

Xebia created a platform that puts the company back in the driver’s seat again and provides them with the flexibility required to experiment with new ideas. The cloud-based solution ensures short release cycles and reduces TTM from months to days, for changes to both the front- and back-end. What’s more, the platform enables The Sting to realize substantial savings in its development cost. Sustainably, because Xebia trained a team of The Sting’s employees to maintain and improve the platform themselves and meet future business requirements.

Software Development

Xebia enables you to build top quality software that truly has an impact. Great software doesn’t just meet, but exceeds expectations of your increasingly critical users. It’s scalable, easy to maintain and quick to adapt to leverage new opportunities. With over 15 years of experience and well over 100 of the best engineers and consultants in the field of cutting-edge software development, Xebia is your logical partner to achieve this.