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Loods5, as one of the largest in the Netherlands resellers of design products including furniture and home decor products, decided to enrich its offer of retail shops by an online platform.

THE BEGINNING OF COOPERATION

The e-commerce implementation consisted of two stages: production development of the first stable version (lasted from June to October 2014. 20 weeks), and intensive

development of the platform (expansion, functionality, fixes and changes in the appearance of the page, etc.) – has lasted from November 2014 to present.

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DIVANTE’S SCOPE OF WORK

Divante was responsible for launching the shop in Magento 1.8.1.0, configuring and adapting the existing modules, implementation of graphic design

according to the provided design and for the overall production implementation of shop and its later development. The main tasks were as follows:

  • communication with the client, enforcing materials and descriptions of operation, graphics for the front-end developers etc.,
  • cutting and coding of the shop’s layout, implementing new design from scratch in accordance with the project provided by the client.
  • backend work associated with certain custom solutions, tailoring the existing modules to the client’s requirements,
  • preparation and configuration of the test environment – server and database in development environment,
  • Communication within the project team: dailies lasting 15-30 min.; all design work carried out in SCRUM methodology,
  • planning work and human resource allocation, planning sprints and the backlog,
  • delegating completed tasks for tests
  • updating the application code (usually every 2 weeks).

 

CHALLENGES

 

BUSINESS MODEL REQUIREMENTS

  • products sold by different vendors – Loods5 online shop is a platform on which different retailers can offer their products, thanks to the dedicated administrative panel
  • generating reports for settlements with vendors

 

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS

  • linking and adapting to its requirements a list of purchased modules
  • integrating the portal for vendors with Magento panel
  • using debugger was not possible (some modules from Unirgy family had their code protected by the ionCube Loader Helper mechanism), which lengthened the development time and made the testing more difficult
  • inconsistent graphic designs (some of the graphics provided by an outside agency, some by Loods5), which did not always meet the front-end requirements
  • problems with modules integration, which made constant contact with the Unirgy support and authors of other modules necessary
  • lack of a full functional and system analysis (no mock-ups and interaction maps, lack of documentation, lack of outlined business requirements)

 

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THE PROCESS

From the very beginning we focused on full transparency in the project, and because we lacked thorough project documentation we employed SCRUM methodology.

The schedule of work consisted of establishing two-week sprints. We held daily meetings, attended by all those involved in the project. Because of other responsibilities, the person responsible

for the cooperation on the client’s side could not be present at the dailies, or act as Product Owner, so the role has not been definitively attributed to one person. However, The client had an impact on the scope of tasks that were part of each sprint and accept time estimates.

This was particularly important given the adopted “time & materials” model.

 

THE TOOLS

Ticket system – initially Redmine, later and at present Jira

Toggl – time tracker that allows to keep track of time spent on a project and create accurate reports

Git and Bitbucket – a web application which is a graphical overlay on the git system

phpStorm – programming IDE

Hipchat – chat integrated with Bitbucket and Jira

Adobe Photoshop – to prepare graphics

Jing – application that allows to create multimedia presentations in the form of short video tutorials

 

TECHNOLOGIES USED IN THE PROJECT:

Magento CE 1.8.1.0, HTML5, CSS3, PHP, MySQL,Git, jQuery, Varnish, Redis, APC, Apache, memcache

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INTEGRATIONS

  • integration with  API of the external service provider of Emark newsletter
  • Adyen payments – an external supplier of methods and forms of payment
  • a blog using WordPress engine integrated with Magento
  • Integration with the vendor portal – uMarketPlace Suite and MicrositePro – Unirgy modules

 

THE TEAM

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Project Manager – responsible for the whole project and its quality, coordinated the work of the team and was in constant contact with the client.

Developers – the project required a constant attention of two experienced PHP/Magento developers working full-time. Thanks to their “emergency” mode of operation, the client could always count on immediate help.

Frontend Developer – from the beginning of the project the team consisted of one frontend developer.

QA Tester – the quality of the project was constantly supervised by a dedicated tester who accepted particular stages of the programmers’ work and made sure that the changes did not interfere with the shop’s operation.

Administrators – helpful in configuring the test environment and maintaining user accounts as well as the availability of infrastructure.

 

IMPORTANT IMPLEMENTATIONS

 

Magmi – Magento mass importer, highly efficient solution for importing large quantities of products at one time: http://sourceforge.net/projects/magmi/

Ault_Pdf – a tool for generating PDF documents Varnish (Nexcessnet_Turpentine module) and Redis (CmRedisSession module)

AttributeOptionImage – a module that modifies the option area, allowing to define images for product options

Plumrocket Autoinvoice – a module that automatically invoices orders

ZenDesk – ticket system

AW_OnSale – promotions and discounts module

Biztech_Easymaintanance module – facilitates managing of the shop’s maintenance mode during downtime

multistock (Divante) module – managing multiple warehouses

Ecommerce_Dataflow – a module expanding the possibilities of importing and exporting overwievs and sales reports

Transsmart_Cargowiz – a module for tracking shipments and printing labels for parcels

Xtento_OrderExport module – a module expanding the possibilities of exporting orders and reports data

Divante_Brands – implements brand (producers) management

Divante_ColoredOrderStatuses – facilitates managing orders by applying appropriate rows coloring in order grids

Divante_VendorProductUploadLimit module – implements reducing the amount of products created by vendors

Amasty_AbandonedCart – a module for managing abandoned quotes, offers a possibility to send emails to customers who have not completed their purchase

 

DEVELOPMENT WORK

Implementing the e-commerce platform for Loods5 brought not only an increase in the quality of team performance and the generated code, but also (and above all) immediate business benefits for the client.

The next step will be adding a new search module with advanced inflection support – SOLR, updating Magento CE platform to version 1.9.1 and implementing AWD and a new, improved design of the purchasing path.


 

Have a look:www.loods5.nl