ALDO Scales With Talend To Meet Black Friday Demand

A leading retail provider relies on Talend Data Services to develop a next-generation e-commerce platform
With Talend’s agile solution, we can respond much faster to business requests
Eduardo Álvarez Alcázar, Integration Team Lead

Overview

ALDO Group Inc. (www.aldogroup.com) is a private Canadian corporation that sells footwear and accessories in more than 1,750 owned and franchised stores in 82 countries. Their mission is to “consistently provide a total customer experience through our people, products and environments and to ensure an enjoyable and memorable shopping experience for every customer.”ALDO’s business is both as a wholesaler to leading global retail chains and a retailer through stores and several websites, including www.aldoshoes.com, the destination for style-conscious shoppers worldwide.

As a very customer-focused organization, ALDO needs to support changing consumer demands. Customers want to purchase products from mobile phones and personal devices and the expectation is that your website is fast, fresh and personalized to your needs. Eduardo Álvarez Alcázar, the company’s Integration Team Lead, explains that ALDO’s e-commerce platform needs to be agile and able to handle peak loads, such as “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday”, when the sales volume increases exponentially.

According to the National Retail Federation the last two months of the year account for 20% to 40% of a retailer’s annual sales. “For a company the size of ALDO, not providing IT systems that can meet and exceed customer and partner online expectations can lead to significant loss in sales”, states Álvarez

Holiday E-Commerce Concerns

In 2012, ALDO’s existing e-commerce platform had system reliability issues during the busiest time of the year, including system downtime and synchronization problems between front and back-end systems. This resulted in customer online cart abandonment, lost orders, and unsatisfied customers who end up shopping elsewhere.

The existing proprietary system was limited in functionality, had many batch processes and was costly to maintain. “Our team had difficulty keeping up with the new change requests from the business, leading to further missed customer opportunities,” explains Álvarez. Without real-time visibility into online demand for their products, it was difficult to forecast required inventory.

Creating An Agile Solution With Talend

In 2013, ALDO decided they needed to implement a next-generation, service-oriented architecture (SOA) that was more agile, could support increasing business requests, and could easily scale to meet seasonal demands. “The new e-commerce platform is strategic for the company to support our planned growth and new business initiatives such as mobile purchases,” says Álvarez.

After looking at several solutions, including IBM WebSphere, ALDO selected Talend Data Services Platform, deployed as a cluster for high availability. Talend was selected based on its agility, extensive capabilities and value. ALDO developers report that Talend is quick to learn and very flexible due to its open source and standards-based approach. The Data Services Platform enables improved productivity through greater service reuse and a common set of products, tools and best practices for data, application and service integration.

The new e-commerce architecture integrates over 100 different applications, services and databases from online order entry through payment and billing to fraud detection. “The end-to-end order process is quite complex,” explains Álvarez. “Each system has their own interface and data format often requiring complex transformations.” During the holiday season the system processes millions of events per day.

ALDO used Talend’s enterprise service bus (ESB) features to service-enable front and back-end systems. By creating loosely-coupled, reusable web services, it became significantly easier and faster for their 10 person development team to implement changes. They were able to service-enable existing systems to minimize disruption during the transition to the new e-commerce platform. “With Talend’s agile solution, we can respond much faster to business requests,” he states. “Previously it would take weeks or months to code a request and put it in production. Now it only takes hours or days at the most.”

Like any business moving to a real-time SOA, there were challenges moving their skillsets from data integration to application integration, but the combination of Talend’s Unified Platform, professional services team, and partner ecosystem helped them overcome this hurdle. “Using open standards and the same Talend development and management tools for data integration and application integration give us tremendous productivity,” says Álvarez. “Our ETL developers were able to add application integration to their skillset.”

By moving from batch to real-time processing, and implementing Talend tools for error handling and monitoring, ALDO has increased both business and IT system visibility.

Great ratio performance/price

ALDO has created a robust, agile, e-commerce platform to handle their needs today and in the future... It will support their move to new channels including mobile applications, not only to purchase products, but also to provide a much more personalized in-store experience. “Talend delivered an agile solution at a predictable price that the other vendors could not provide. We have a very solid platform for a better price than most competitor products,”says Álvarez.

Talend was extremely consistent and efficient over the Black Friday through Cyber Monday period,” Álvarez says. “All system metrics were excellent. We are very confident in Talend for the rest of the holiday period.”

Next Steps

With the huge success of the Talend-based e-commerce platform for the ALDO brand, plans are being made to use Talend for ALDO’s three other retail brands: Call It Spring/Spring, Little Burgundy and GLOBO. “Talend has become the ALDO standard for data and application integration,” said Álvarez.