Headless Magento for Ecommerce
Could you please tell us a little bit about toom and the work you do there?
Toom is one of the leading DIY brands in Germany, with more than 330 stores, 15,500 employees and gross sales of over 3.2 billion euros. The pandemic has also fundamentally changed the way toom does business as more customers take advantage of our Click&Collect, Click&Reserve and Click&Deliver ecommerce services. My role is to manage these aforementioned services on our ecommerce site, toom.de, and ensure customers have an excellent shopping experience.
And how did you start working with SoftServe?
How we got to working with SoftServe is a long story, but I will try to summarize. When toom was first creating its ecommerce site, the chief desire was to make something as stable and functional as possible. For that reason, Magento was used as it is full stack working out of the box. However, we soon discovered that our infrastructure system couldn’t cope with a high load and big amounts of data. As an example, synchronizing inventory levels in 400 locations for over 100k items in real time just wasn’t feasible in Magento alone. At the time, we realized we need some help from an IT partner with a lot of experiences to solve the challenges that arose. So we had to seek outside help.
And why SoftServe?
Well, to be honest, my first wish was to hire Magento developers directly. However, it was simply impossible though to find the talent we needed locally. So we put out a tender to several different software development companies, including SoftServe. SoftServe won because their proposal hit all of the points we were looking for and even some we hadn’t considered. They were able to articulate well how they would transition from our former IT partner and gave us a concrete timeline for ramp-up and achievement of the main project goals. In just three months, they were able to supply us with over a dozen capable engineers with the exact experience we needed.
This was all back in January 2020, and now it’s July 2021. Are you still happy with the work SoftServe has done so far?
Absolutely. No question.
What in particular stands out to you?
Basically, the SoftServe team helped solve all of our main problems. We knew that we could achieve a better customer experience by shifting from a monolithic Magento approach to microservices, but SoftServe was the one to actually propose and deliver on that. What they did in good cooperation with our internal developers was decouple the frontend from Magento and naturally split it within teams (consciously) adopting a micro-frontends approach. That made our platform not only more SEO-friendly, but also robust, optimized and reliable.
In non-technical terms though, what are some of the benefits of this approach?
First and foremost, a better customer experience. The site loads quicker, there are fewer errors adding items to cart and checking out, and it’s much easier for our UX and frontend team to make changes than it was before. I know you asked for non-technical but to explain, when we used Magento for the full stack, it was very difficult for the front-end teams to make changes to the website because they relied on back-end teams to understand the integration logic. SoftServe effectively helped us to decouple the front end from Magento while keeping the back end intact and the site stable, so now changes that could take days or weeks can now be executed in hours.
That’s awesome! And what are some of your goals for the short and long term future?
In the short term, continue to ensure a good customer experience and accommodate the surging ecommerce demand that hasn’t been slowing down even as Germany reopens. In the long-term, since crosschannel shopping is here to stay, we are planning to roll out more features to make it even easier and more convenient to shop without having to choose between online or walking through the store. We want to focus on interconnected retail and personal consulting services. The SoftServe team has proven themselves to be good partners and we look forward to working with them on both our immediate and long-term goals.
Thank you for this interview. Is there anything else you’d like to add about SoftServe?
Just that I was impressed with SoftServe engineers’ ability to work across diverse teams. We were particularly pleased to find that the SoftServe team have integrated themself so well over the past year and a half into our culture at toom and REWE group.
Want to learn more about how SoftServe’s Magento expertise can help deliver actionable results for your ecommerce site? Contact us to learn more.