PLUS - Building a future-proof webshop with OutSystems

eCommerce Program management Service management
OutSystems Contentful Commercetools
Food & Grocery Retail

For the last three consecutive years, PLUS Supermarkets was named the Best National Grocer in the Netherlands for its quality, product assortment, store appearance, staff, and shopping convenience. But its digital shopping experience was lagging behind.

Their monolithic commerce platform showed its limitations as their eCommerce grew, affecting both revenue and innovation. As their trusted digital partner, we jumped in to develop a new eCommerce platform to improve stability, scalability, and time-to-market. Together, we made the bold choice to combine OutSystems, commercetools, and Contentful – the first time anyone put these leading systems together.

170Mln Turnover
20Mln Total visits
2Mln Yearly orders
200K Unique visitors

During the last years, more and more customers saw the benefits of home delivery of groceries, which offered consumers a lot of ease and convenience.. To realize further digital growth, PLUS put a strong focus on its omnichannel proposition. However, their eCommerce platform started to show its limitations. As a monolithic platform, it couldn’t handle the swift growth in demand, resulting in serious performance issues that impacted the eCommerce revenue negatively. PLUS decided in 2021 that it was time for a new eCommerce platform, one that offered stability, better performance and a faster time-to-market. The retailer asked us to help decide and develop the architecture on both front and back-end that could meet its ambitions.

PLUS ECOP responsive

OutSystems for commerce and rapid development

Prior to the eCommerce project, we were already the strategic partner that enabled PLUS’ digital transformation on various fronts using OutSystems. This low-code development platform allows for quick and effective development, resulting in projects such as a Vacancy Management System. Logically, PLUS wondered: can’t we use OutSystems to build our new eCommerce platform? We worked together to determine how this could work and if it would be worth the effort. OutSystems’ readily available building blocks make it easy to build the front ends for both the webshop and the app, allowing for rapid development and iteration. For the back end, commercetools is ideally suited to enable next-level shopping experiences. Contentful provides the last piece of the puzzle to manage all the content.

ECOP case projects

1 webshop became 6 projects

OutSystems had never been used as the heart of a composable eCommerce platform serving hundreds of thousands of active customers before. This required a highly innovative approach in close collaboration with PLUS. Challenge accepted. Meanwhile, PLUS realized that this would also be a good moment to address its challenges with the data landscape. The use of Intershop resulted in thirteen different data systems that updated Intershop once a day. Updating the online search results took another day, resulting in a painful two-day delay. Taking data along increased the project scope significantly, which resulted in a program covering six separate projects. These included the data infrastructure, a retail management portal, the CMS, the eCommerce engine and two separate front ends.

ECOP stacking tech

Next-level commerce

The unique composable combination of OutSystems, commercetools and Contentful enables PLUS to create next-level shopping experiences that are accessible, convenient and differentiating. Combined, the three solutions guarantee an uptime of 99,99%, taking away previous stability issues. Performance is ensured by automatic data-driven scaling services. Adding new functionalities such as voice or barcode search was added in a single two-week sprint, which previously would take at least two months. That flexibility provides the fast time-to-market that PLUS was looking for.

"The reason why we opted for a combination of headless and composable architecture has to do with the nature of our organizational demand. With more than 500 stores - largely led by entrepreneurs - we want to maintain a lot of flexibility in facilitating customer demands at a micro-store level."

Arvid Nieuwsma
Head of Product - PLUS Retail
PLUS ECOP mobile screens

Agility enables digital success

The new webshop went live in February 2024. With a year-on-year growth in both market share and online revenue, PLUS can expect a fast ROI, as the switch from a monolithic to a composable architecture also impacts the total cost of ownership. For instance, the cost of changing a product drops significantly when updating is not hindered by irregular release cycles. The new architecture will allow PLUS to further grow its eCommerce revenue by improving the customer experience through rapid innovation and value creation.

Arvid Nieuwsma

"Product League helps solve our business issues. Product League is our strategic digital partner that helps to accelerate our digital transformation and builds what we can’t buy."

Head of Product - PLUS Retail

"With our composable architecture, we have selected the best-of-breed applications that currently suit us.  With our architecture that combines headless and composable, we are one of the first food retailers in Europe to fully implement this. Something to be proud of’’

Head of Product - PLUS Retail

"With the growth in the number of stores and thereby the number of pickup and delivery points, we anticipate an increasing demand for omnichannel shopping from both existing and new customers of PLUS. This new platform enables us to more precisely cater to their needs in the future." - Stephan Bosman, Head of Digital & eCommerce

The app is available for free in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store.

Ready to transform your digital future? Let's innovate your eCommerce together! Contact us now for scalable, high-performance solutions tailored to your business.

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