Delivering a revitalised ecommerce experience
- Time to Market – New business services can be added/changed without affecting existing business services, making it easier & faster to make changes.
- Resiliency – If 3rd party services become unavailable, the CDN’s cache allows most of the site to continue running normally. Also, circuit-breaking techniques reduce the requests to the 3rd party services when they are returning errors.
- Scalability – CloudFront provides caching services to the point where virtually no traffic hits the NextJS Lambda. Most of the API responses are also cacheable. This allows the site to serve thousands of requests per minute.
- Modern Technology – The business services and website were written using TypeScript and deployed using the Serverless Framework. This is a modern stack and allowed the development teams to work on both the website and the APIs.
Our client, a large multinational telecommunications company, had undertaken a 7 year Digital Transformation program with an end goal to provide the end user a full omni-channel experience as well as being able to extract customer insights through the customer journey. Their current systems are siloed and relied heavily on vendor products that were past end-of-life and reached a point where they could no longer enhance the customer experience in a timely manner resulting in declining revenue.
The first phase of this Digital Transformation program was to rebuild the shop experience using modern technologies and best of class tools. Our client had gone through a rigorous discovery phase for a year and had decided on a business approach for an optimal shop experience, however they lacked the technical thought leadership and resources to execute the vision.
DigIO was engaged to partner to design and deliver the vision of the new shop experience. Together we delivered the new online shop experience which allowed the business to adapt at pace to customer needs via multi-channels as well as enabling the following phases of the Digital Transformation program to start transforming their IT and Business operations.
The previous shop was running on legacy software underpinned by products that had reached end-of-life. This created a myriad of problems that resulted in a decline in revenue for the business.
From a business perspective, features took a long time to develop and release on existing on premise infrastructure which prevented the business from being nimble enough to react to market changes. They were also put at risk due to the long release cycle should the government request them to turn off certain services in times of crisis.
They were also running on legacy stacks and technology which caused a problem where it was hard to retain and attract new talent willing to work on the software. Being on premise, they had a lot of trouble standing up environments and stacks easily as well as a lot of overhead in order to keep their environments up-to-date and in sync as it was not managed as infrastructure-as-code.
By not undertaking the Digital Transformation program of work, they would risk being a business where they could not adjust to the market in a timely manner and have no data to make data-driven decisions resulting in a decrease of their market share and revenue. It will also become increasingly difficult to change as they lose talent and IP through attrition and inability to attract new talent.
We partnered with our client to provide an experienced and innovative agile team to support the initial design and technical proof-of-concept build of the UI components, and to then support the productionisation of the ecommerce site. Our expertise in front-end design and engineering services helped create a progressive user experience allowing for smooth customer journeys. We also emphasised long-term sustainability, structuring the code in a way that would require little change as future journeys were added and gave our client the ability to efficiently update key information using a headless CMS.
Taking approximately 10 months from discovery to delivery, the new ecommerce site was launched in its refreshed state, with features including:
- A transformed user experience – with a modern, attractive design and logical user experience simplifying use for customers.
- Front-end components leveraging React and AEM as a headless CMS.
- APIs developed as resources in a RESTful sense which are sustainable long-term, as journey-type was included as a parameter.
- Serverless application components by building Node.js Lambda functions.
- Common platform services deployed on AWS, including CI/CD (Jenkins) Pipelines, Test Automation & Quality Assurance frameworks and Monitoring services.
This architecture used the following AWS services:
- CloudFront – used to provide content delivery and caching services for the website’s pages and API responses. This was the application’s primary cache – caching was disabled in most of the lower layers to make it easier to control the liveliness of the data from one place. CloudFront allows a fair degree of control over the caching of different endpoint responses. This allowed relatively-static data to be cached for longer periods, and dynamic data to be cached for shorter periods.
- WAF – to protect the web and API endpoints against common exploits.
API Gateway – To expose the API endpoints and the web server endpoint. There were approximately 25 different endpoints for accessing 8 different kinds of resources (in the REST-sense).
- AWS Lambda – To serve web pages (using NextJS for server-side rendering) and to provide business services that could be used server-side (by the NextJS Lambda) or by the end-user directly (such as address-lookups).
The first phase of this Digital Transformation program successfully completed the rebuild of the shop experience using modern technologies and best of class tools. This was the first step to enable our client to provide an exceptional digital experience for all customers’ needs combined with a superior service that offers immediate resolution when they need to visit a store or call care.
A better customer experience was made possible through simple and frictionless customer journeys, services consistency across channels and proactive management of the customer lifecycle to increase sales whilst reducing customer churn and complaints. Acquisition and upgrade journey improvements reduced sign up times by more than 40% and minimised the need for manual data entry.
A simplification of their products and plans also helped to reduce the number of plans down to 4 price points per product and enabled the migration of over a million customers to in market plans.
These improvements ultimately combined to help promote digital adoption by their customers across sales, upgrades and customer care.
In addition, the modern technology stack on AWS enabled our client to start their IT transformation to retain and attract talent and to grow their Engineering practice to head towards being best in industry in IT.