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IDCEE 2013: Building the next generation ecommerce platform lessons learned - Uwe Horstmann (Founding Partner @ Project A Ventures)

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Uwe studied business administration at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar / Germany. He has been working with Berlin-based startup incubator Rocket Internet (mostly known for its ventures eDarling, Zalando and CityDeal / Groupon) since 2007. Since 2009 he served as its managing director, focusing primarily on international rollouts. He is also a judge in business plan competitions held by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. He is a regular lecturer in Entrepreneurship at his alma mater WHU and a researcher in the same field embedded in his PhD studies at RWTH Aachen. At Project A Ventures, Uwe focuses on product management, internationalization and interim management. After having served with the United Nations in the war-torn regions of Eastern and Central Africa, he discovered his passion for humanitarian logistics and remains active in this field until today, working e.g. as a strategic consultant to Oxfam, trying to bring learnings from the private sector to the NGO space.

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  • Besonders interessant ist, dass man KPIs verschiedener Bereiche kombinieren kann, e.g. wie hoch ist Retourenquote über einen gewissen Kanal (e.g. SEM)


  • 1. BUILDING THE NEXT GENERATION ECOMMERCE PLATFORM Uwe Horstmann uwe.horstmann@project-a.com @uwehorstmann
  • 2. Yves & Zed – a shopping system that combines all the features we need with the performance we expect Executive Summary • Lightweight eCommerce platform for emerging and growing enterprises • Highest and cache-free scalability • Complete order-processing including flexible workflow management system • Reliable information through integrated business intelligence system  KPIs for sales and operations  Integrated KPI library Y&Z meets our standards better than any of-the-shelf or open source solution 2
  • 3. Yves & Zed is a modern multi-purpose system Model Examples 1 Straight eCommerce 2 Shopping clubs 3 Marketplaces Easily adoptable to various business models Y&Z designed for fast development 4 Subscription models Yves & Zed is a system for all transactional business models 3
  • 4. Where do we come from? Alice & Bob Yves & Zed Advantages • • • • Easy to implement Huge developer base (Recruiting) Many features Sufficient for medium sized ecommerce businesses Limitations Yves & Zed • Performance – scalability of architecture very limited • Features – high complexity to develop customized features • Order processing – often ERP system needed (expensive and hard to implement) • Business intelligence – reporting features not very advanced Yves & Zed overcome the limitations of Magento 4
  • 5. Yves & Zed has a lightweight structure and is easy to work with for developers Search-Engine (Solr) Read only Customers External providers Push updates Yves – Frontend Zed – Backend Yii-Framework Application: Zend-Framework Application: •Very fast execution without html caching •Easy to learn for developers •Fast development Payment Loose couples components: •Order-processing with state-machine •Customer management •Voucher system •Cart calculation •etc.  Store-concept for localized shops Webservice-calls •saveOrder() •registerCustomer() Fulfillment Logistics Mail Read only R/W Sessions Push updates KV-Storage (clustered Memcache) (local Membase) Share info Store-Sync (ActiveMQ) QRM propel Database (MySQL with normalized structure) ETL Business Intell. Data Warehouse (PostgreSQL) Webtrekk Unlimited and cache free scalability through separation of front- and backend 5
  • 6. Store concept enables code sharing between projects and ventures Shared code between ventures Specific code for one venture Specific code for one store Store DE Venture specific Store FR Store PL Core Store DE Venture specific Store AT Venture specific Store DE Updates of the Core are available for all attached shops 6
  • 7. Yves & Zed offer state-of-the-art features • Payment • Logistics • Return Handling / Dunning Web tracking • Tag management tool • Individual tracking pixel creation • Integrated uplinks to various providers • Flexible product types • Multi-tree categories • Search User & role management • Role assignment • User groups and privileges / rights mgmt Internationalization • Translations • Store concept Cross-device capabilities • Responsiveness to various screen sizes • Framework for easy creation of device dependent CSS Data Warehouse • Ad-hoc reporting • Flexible Quebes • Full operations and marketing KPIs Order processing Catalog Marketing Content Management • Vouchers / coupons • Data feeds • CMS • SEO • URL redirection Monitoring • Detection of of problems and monitoring of system health Mails • Full mailing functionality for automatic transaction notifications Customer admin • Customer data/relations management • Subscription management Range of features is steadily being increased 7
  • 8. Technical decisions lead to lightweight and highly scalable system Separation Front- and Backend PHP • 100 > 10 > 1: from 100 visits, 10 convert to shopping cart, resulting in 1 sale (exemplary!) • Through separation of front- and backend: 100 visitors only strain Yves and do not slow Zed • Yves always up to date; each second data is updated from Zed (asynchronous) • High quality developers widely available at adequate salary Proven technologies • Use of fully tested and proven technologies (e.g. Solr, Zend framework) Architecture • Flat tables in databases easy to read Monitoring • Fast detection of problems and system health Lean architecture with proven technologies 8
  • 9. Incorporated Date Warehouse enables data driven decision making Marketing Tools Shop Back-End Import Data DWH Push Data Web Analytics CRM Tools Reporting & Analysis DWHs not only integrate different data sources but also push information 9
  • 10. Incorporated Date Warehouse enables data driven decision making Marketing Tools Shop Back-End Import Data DWH Push Data Web Analytics CRM Tools Reporting & Analysis DWHs not only integrate different data sources but also push information 9