How C&A increased eCommerce reach by 122% with MuleSoft

eCommerce case study

C&A doubled its eCommerce reach by 122% and expanded from nine to 20 countries with MuleSoft. Here’s how.

C&A Europe is one of the leading fashion retailers in Europe. C&A contributed substantially to the creation of attractive, affordable, and ready-to-wear clothing for everyday people. The retailer now operates in 18 countries, with 1,500 stores and 35,000 employees.

The challenge

As the worlds of offline and online retail continue to merge, C&A is undergoing a period of massive transformation to connect with the modern, digital-savvy customer, who interacts with brands across multiple channels. To meet this customer at scale, C&A is overhauling its digital presence, reinvigorating stores, and adopting an omnichannel approach for customers.

The IT team at C&A found it difficult to keep up with the digital demands of the business. Every time C&A bought a new software tool, their developers had to implement a new integration to connect the tool to their existing IBM Commerce and SAP tools. Each integration required standard Java coding, which was time intensive for developers. IT was forced to focus the majority of their resources on developing software, rather than improving the company’s customer experience. C&A recognized it was time to transform.

Objectives

  • Relaunch the C&A Europe eCommerce site, rolling out into new territories, with a new payment system.
  • Focus developer attention on creating APIs to integrate point of sale system, order management, stock control, and retail partners.
  • Underpin IT strategy with best-in-class, off-the-shelf software to increase speed and quickly capitalize on advantages.

The solution

To underpin the transformation, C&A moved away from standard Java coding towards an integration approach that allowed reuse and agility in its business. After it selected MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform, they started working with codecentric AG to adopt the MuleSoft technology.

“MuleSoft came top in every category,” says Thomas Emami, Software Development Lead, C&A Europe, “and answered every question with honesty and clarity. MuleSoft was a good fit for our existing IT landscape, with a set of proven standard technologies based on the Java platform. For example, its approach to build the application artifacts made it very simple for us to integrate it in our delivery pipeline based on Git, Maven, and Jenkins. MUnit tests were a good supplement for the existing culture using JUnit tests for Java code.”

Anypoint Platform is a hybrid integration platform that enables C&A Europe to easily build and rapidly scale an application network of apps, data, and devices through APIs and integrations. It connects to any data source with pre-built connectors for applications, SOAP or REST APIs, and databases, or uses the SDK to build custom connectors. C&A makes the broadest use of the Anypoint Platform with many different connectors, from traditional (EDI over AS2, (s)ftp, SOAP) to modern REST services on-premise and in the cloud. Implementation, support and training was provided by codecentric AG, a MuleSoft partner with experts in agile software development and modern technologies.

“The hybrid integration and the VPC between MuleSoft’s cloud and our on-premise landscape made it easy to connect existing on-premise systems with partner systems,” says Emami.

Anypoint Platform’s ability to map dependencies automatically across all connections allows C&A to get better visibility across their application network. Previously this required tools such as Visio to visualize. C&A describes Anypoint Platform as “invaluable” to communicate to line-of-business stakeholders and illustrate progress.

The results

C&A Europe’s eCommerce site relaunched in March 2018, more than doubling its reach from nine to 20 countries. The site operates in Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, and Sweden, all countries without a physical C&A store. The site has successfully replaced the IBM Sterling system.

“Using MuleSoft to integrate multiple systems in the eCommerce site is just a starting point,” said Emami. “We expect future integrations to be easier because there is now a rich set of existing system and process APIs on which we can build. The idea is to use MuleSoft to connect every piece of software in the business.”

Emami says that the implementation of the Center for Enablement (C4E) team at C&A has made it easy to quickly leverage Anypoint Platform and onboard new developers. The focus is now on creating APIs to engage with internal and external users. The plan is to integrate a new point of sale system across all 1,500 physical stores and third-party concessions.

“This is the future,” says Emami. “We have more deals with more retailers to sell their merchandise in our stores, increasing traffic. MuleSoft enables us to integrate our systems, monitor the performance, and analyze the data.”

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