Case Study
Fortune 500 Online Retailer
Modernization with Micro-Frontends and AWS

Overview

Our client is a Fortune 500 online retailer of pet-related products with over 21,000 employees and a 2021 annual revenue of $8.89 billion. They have gone from startup to the largest acquisition of an e-commerce business, to an IPO, to a spinoff. Product innovation drives this e-commerce company’s operations, and they constantly strive to improve their customers’ online experiences. They hired Improving to add new features to their e-commerce site, move from legacy monolith to the cloud, and shift them toward a microservices environment.

Challenge

Like many fast-growing startups, our client’s e-commerce site was built around a legacy storefront monolithic code base. Any feature updates needed to get on the release schedule of one massive application. Important initiatives to improve customers’ online experiences or drive customer loyalty were slow to implement. In early 2020, as the pandemic spurred a mad rush for people to buy pets, our client’s sales accelerated, but staffing shortages contributed to more delays with product updates. They needed a trusted partner like Improving with the depth and breadth of talent to develop new features to improve the user experience, move their legacy storefront monolithic code base to micro-frontends, and create a cohesive plan to move to AWS.

Solution

Improving first built out the new shelter UI services, customer support tooling, and order fulfillment. As we built out the new functionality, we started breaking out internal tooling into separate microservices and micro-frontends. We broke out their homepage, cart, checkout, and product pages from the Java monolith into individual micro-frontends primarily using TypeScript and Next.js/React. Migration to single-page applications enabled by backend A-layer services allowed them to improve their ability to deliver new features faster due to lightweight pages that are detached from the legacy storefront monolithic code base. Additionally, Improving was leveraged to migrate from the existing environment—which consisted of a handful of self-hosted monoliths—to microservices running on AWS. With the microservices broken out, they can test and update new features, like the product customizer we helped develop, as quickly as needed.

Business Benefits

Micro-frontend pages are the foundation for improving first-time page load performance and optimizing the download to the user’s browser by a CDN optimized set-up. A microservices environment also means faster innovation with an improved testing process, so new features can be shipped to production almost as quickly as the ideas come up. Moving them off the legacy monolith and shifting them toward microservices allowed them to scale and monitor uptime better. The product customization solution is one specific feature update that uniquely provides tremendous business value as it will replace a third-party application, reducing cost and providing better control of creative content and the sales process for these products.

Why Improving?

Improving’s project-based approach meant our client had access to fully vetted, senior-level talent that resulted in fast onboarding. Our client could plug our consultants in to any team and know they would hit the ground running. As an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, Improving’s experience with cloud migrations guided our client to seamlessly move to a cloud environment.