How did the home&you online shop become a marketplace?
About the brand
home&you is one of the most popular interior design brands in Poland. It offers customers accessories, decorations, textiles, lighting, tableware, and many other products. The first home&you showroom was opened in 2006, and in 2013 the company decided to launch an online shop. Today, home&you has more than 130 brick-and-mortar points of sale in Poland and a thriving online shop. The dynamic growth of the brand's popularity and the consolidation of its position as market leader pushed the company to take further strategic development steps. Thanks to the cooperation between Strix and BBK (owner of the home&you brand), the classic sales platform became a marketplace.
The marketplace model dominates the market
The rise of online channels' popularity, the recession, and the evolution of consumer behaviour have all contributed to an increased interest in marketplace sales. In this model, multiple vendors can display their products on a single platform. In this way, consumers can conveniently explore the shop's wide offering and compare prices, while vendors can expand their product range and increase their visibility through joint marketing activities.
Some of the most recognisable marketplaces include companies such as Allegro, Amazon, Empik, and Zalando. The popularity of such platforms has increased in recent years, both among customers and sellers. This model of distribution is now not only an alternative to the classic online shop but also a natural evolution of it, especially for large brands with a stable market position, such as home&you.
Start of the project
Discussions with the client about transforming the B2C platform into a marketplace started in mid-2022. Our first focus was on updating Magento and implementing Mirakl, a SaaS solution for marketplace and dropshipping merchants. Delivering the ambitious platform development plans required close collaboration between the three teams, BBK, Strix, and Mirakl, so we focused on training, workshops, and briefing sessions before starting development work. With structured knowledge, we were able to present an architecture proposal and define business objectives.
- Transformation of a classic online shop into a marketplace platform.
- Magento system upgrade.
- Integration with the Mirakl solution.
- Platform redesign.
- Implementation of the Headless + Bridge solution.
- Adapting the purchase path to the marketplace model.
- Change of payment system provider.
- Website optimisation for SEO.
- Change in product categorisation.
- Increasing system performance.
- Architecture modernisation.
- Short implementation time.
- Managing the work of a large, distributed team of BBK, Mirakl, and Strix.
- The need to modernise the system.
- The transition from monolithic to microservices architecture.
- Integration with the Mirakl tool.
The home&you shop is built on Magento 2 (Adobe Commerce). The transformation of the platform into a marketplace and the rebuilding of the architecture was an opportunity toupgrade the system to the latest version. We upgraded the system from Magento 2.3.7 to Magento 2.4.5.
Implementation of the marketplace module
The home&you online shop has so far operated on a classic model, in which the company offered customers only its own-brand products. As the sales potential grew, home&you decided to expand its range to include the offerings of other producers by transforming the platform into a marketplace. Such a change required a major overhaul of the architecture, integration with external systems, the adaptation of the shopping path, and the website redesign.
Launching a marketplace for home&you was a double challenge: firstly, it was an extension of the business model, which strongly affects the organisation and a number of internal processes. Secondly, it was a 'broad' change in the area of technology: redesigning the layout, decomposing the monolith and taking a few steps in the direction of Composable Commerce, as well as integration with the Mirakl system.
Everything happened at an express pace. The key to success is a trusted relationship with a partner, as well as an understanding of current trends and the ability to anticipate future customer needs. This is why we focus on continuous research and exploration of new technologies and an innovative approach to collaboration. Stanisław Karpiński, CIO BBK S.A.
Integration with the Mirakl solution
Mirakl is a SaaS solution for optimising dropshipping and marketplace sales. It facilitates sales management with multiple third-party suppliers and is used by market leaders such as Decathlon, Carrefour, Toyota and now also home&you. The Mirakl platform makes it much easier to handle processes from a back-office perspective and provides faster scaling and security. As part of the project, we integrated the Mirakl solution with the updated Magento system.
During the project, it was necessary to technologically upgrade the platform to improve performance and increase flexibility. We implemented the Composable Commerce approach of building a sales platform from specialised modules. The key in this case was to break down a large monolithic application into a distributed microservices architecture and introduce Headless solutions. We implemented a proprietary Headless + Bridge solution to get out of the monolithic application model and achieve better performance, gain greater scalability of the solution in the future, make the architecture more flexible and apply modern technologies.
In order to meet all the challenges, we had to coordinate the work of 25 people who come from 3 separate companies: Strix, BBK and Mirakl. We implemented common tools and redefined the existing roles (PM) and introduced new ones - the Proxy Project Owner, among others, appeared. We also changed the working methodology: we switched from the Kanban and ticketing model to the more agile Scrum. For the whole project, we foresaw only 7 sprints - a small number considering that the real performance of the team stabilises around the 3rd sprint.
Team collaboration and transparent communication proved crucial to the success of this project. I am convinced that no matter how innovative our solutions are, a committed and well-synchronised team is the basis for success. That is why we have relied on openness, cooperation and mutual support. Through transparent communication and knowledge sharing, we have created a strong foundation that has enabled us to implement projects effectively and achieve our goals. It was the joint efforts and commitment of each team member that propelled us to achieve the next steps. Magdalena Limanówka-Kuciel, CTO Strix
The change in the sales model and the inclusion of products from other retailers required the redesign of some areas of the site to highlight the manufacturers of specific items and include their specifications. We ensured that the site was designed in a way that is customer and supplier-friendly. The design took into account both aesthetic aspects and intuitive navigation. Łukasz Ostrowski – UI/Graphic Designer at BBK – was responsible for designing the new storefront and providing mockups. Throughout the implementation, Łukasz worked very closely with our development department, which allowed us to achieve smooth communication and find the best solutions. We are constantly improving and developing the design of the site to get the best user experience.
We've also also implemented integration interfaces, enabling the transfer of product, order and payment information. Changes were also made to categories, search and filtering and product pages. We also introduced a new link and redirect structure.
With the implementation of the new sales model and the expansion of the offering, an SEO audit was required to improve the platform's positioning in the new search categories.
We conducted a series of load tests, security tests and regression tests to ensure a smooth and seamless implementation. We also used pre-implementation checklists and developed procedures for each phase of the implementation to prepare for the launch of the platform.
Communication is key
In long-term project cooperation, we highly value partnerships and transparent communication with our customers. During our adventure in the home&you project, we jointly developed communication principles to guide us during implementation:
- One common goal.
- Full transparency and open communication
- There is no bad news - there is only news.
Guided by these values, we were able to build a cooperation based on trust and transparency, as both parties always knew exactly the current status of the project, and potential risks and were clear about expectations and implementation possibilities. The joint project team of 25 Strix and BBK specialists was also a huge value of our cooperation with BBK. By working with common tools (Jira and Confluence) and exchanging information during regular status meetings, we were able to work quickly and efficiently towards a common goal and overcome obstacles. And there are still a lot of challenges ahead!
Project in figures
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