Selecting Create IT to integrate a vast team that is seen as unique (Continente Online team) has a simple explanation: "We already had a relationship of trust with Sonae and always demonstrated competence in all the requests. As challenges and complexities arose in the project, we proved to be a responsive partner and fully involved in the success of the deliverables", highlights Sara Oliveira.
The role of Create IT in the project started with the UX (User Experience), then the integration of all Sonae data, and finally it extended to the frontend and the e-commerce platform that supports the checkout of purchases and promotions.
Create IT was responsible for the portal's search, functionality that plays a critical role in the platform since it is the main engine to reach the available supply. "We are a part of the puzzle and work in true partnership with everyone that is involved in the development and evolution of the project. Currently, we have a multidisciplinary team with various skills and competencies, from integration to front-end, backend, and search", adds Sara. The Create IT team was also involved in the development of the checkout component of Continente's mobile application.
All this joint teamwork resulted in one of the most advanced e-commerce platforms on the market. In fact, Continente Online has all the functionalities that allow an excellent user experience and high customer satisfaction in accomplishing their purchases, which support a wide range of payment options, promotions, and delivery methods.
At a technical level, the portal is powered by SharePoint technology and Amazon CloudSearch and is based on Microsoft's Commerce Server platform.
"Much of the content presented to the customer is obtained through searches, such as product details, related products, and category pages", reveals Nuno Carvalho, Senior Consultant at Create IT. "We focused on optimizing performance and on how search returns content, presenting articles according to certain business criteria and suggesting terms as the user types, for example."
As in other projects, Create IT works using the Scrum methodology. In this case, together with the Sonae's team, and that, given its experience, has played an important role in its evangelization. Among other things, according to this methodology, there is a Product Owner (PO) that represents the business and defines the functional requirements to be passed down to the development team. "The development team reviews the functional requirements presented by the PO and discusses the best way to implement them. The team delivers them in an iterative and incremental way, receiving direct feedback from all the parties involved", refers Sara Oliveira.
Continente Online's platform has evolved to integrate new businesses, always on a continuous improvement basis. "The redesign of the portal involved more than the frontend. The entire back office has been optimized and the processes reformulated", explains Pedro Vala, Senior Consultant at Create IT. The Continente's megastore has grown and now it has several stores, such as Well's, School Books, Continente Business and Continente's own store. "We have also begun to make innovative evolutions at the operation level, which have no visibility to the final customer but bring enormous gains of internal efficiency. This is the case, for example, for the Dark Store, a retail concept that includes a physical warehouse like Continente's store, but without customers", explains Pedro Vala. "Those who go get the goods have the optimized route to respond to online orders faster, without bothering the customers", he adds.
Specifics of the solution:
Technologies used: SharePoint Server 2010, CSS / HTML, WCF, ASP.NET WebAPI, SQL Server, Microsoft Commerce Server, FAST Search SharePoint 2010, Amazon CloudSearch, BizTalk 2010.
E-commerce platform with frontend development, advanced search, integration with catalog, pricing, stock management, Oracle Retek promotions for Microsoft Commerce Server and custom backoffice.
Continuous, incremental development with the Scrum methodology.
The connection to the business is made by the Product Owners, with the team's support when necessary. The dialogue takes into account business needs, customer feedback and technological/market trends.