BestSecret is a European members-only online shopping community offering premium and luxury fashion. Their customer base is steadily growing – every day, new bargain hunters join the community in order to take advantage of limited offers. To maintain a competitive pricing policy while retaining the exclusivity of the brands, prospective customers must register with a code, obtained via social media advertising or referrals from existing members.
With BestSecret seeking to multiply their business over the next years, they need a flexible e-commerce solution that will allow them to scale their business and meet their customers’ growing needs. The monolithic architecture of their existing core e-commerce system proved to be a bottleneck in delivering on their ambitious growth strategy and long-term vision to become Europe’s leading online destination for off-price fashion .
BestSecret asked Thoughtworks to help them replace the first parts of their existing system with a more flexible, cloud-based solution. This would be implemented in a phased approach to avoid disruption to the business.
The team started breaking down the monolith into domain-specific services, beginning with the re-implementation of the customer acquisition domain, which had been identified as the business domain causing the most pressing growth constraints.
The initial MVP comprised simple and configurable static landing pages for social media ads, directing users into a natural entry point in the existing onboarding flow. This included the incorporation of a headless content management system, allowing BestSecret’s marketing team to self-serve and independently create and customize landing pages for new campaigns. The next iteration quickly followed, in which logic for the registration process was moved out of the monolith and into the domain-specific service.
The domain was re-implemented as a fully vertical, team-sized service, enabling a single team to make enhancements iteratively without dependencies on the rest of the organization.
BestSecret is now in a much better position to deliver on its growth objectives:
Increased speed & flexibility
The overhauled customer acquisition domain has significantly reduced the online retailer’s time to release new features to market, shortening the release process from 1.5 days to 10 minutes. The new setup has also increased the flexibility of BestSecret’s technical operations: releases are now possible multiple times per day, compared to once every two weeks. Moreover, improvements to the customer acquisition domain can be released independently and no longer need to compete for priority with other areas, such as the shop homepage, checkout or payments. Once other domains have been re-implemented in the same way, they too will be able to release independently of one another.
Improved productivity and customer experience
The marketing department is now able to launch advertising campaigns faster and in a more targeted way: new landing pages can be created within hours rather than weeks, and customized to different channels and niche target groups. Shortening the acquisition funnel with a simplified customer registration process will also help to improve the customer experience, reduce churn and increase the ROI of BestSecret’s advertising spend in the long term.
Replacing the functionality of the monolith with a fully vertical slice in the cloud will allow the system to process high volumes of traffic even in the busiest periods such as Christmas and Black Friday. The full benefit of the strategy will come into effect once additional domains have also been carved out and moved to the cloud.
Technically enabled teams
The improved customer acquisition domain is just the beginning of BestSecret’s cloud migration journey. Their engineers are now enabled to further develop this domain on the basis of our MVP and the newly acquired technical capabilities.
The experience that Thoughtworks brought to the table was crucial during the initial phases of our transformation to a more domain-focused way of developing our core e-commerce system. BestSecret was able to benefit not only from their technical expertise and the enthusiasm with which they approached their work, but also from their perspectives on team autonomy and ways of working. The "best practices" they helped to establish during the creation of our first domain-specific project are still paying dividends, enabling BestSecret to repeat this pattern with other areas of our e-commerce system.