Iteris & C&A
How the marketplace restructuring ensures agility, fosters relationships and creates better environments for businesses.
To keep pace with the digital evolution is essential for all organizations, whether to optimize operations, achieve efficiency gains and, mainly, improve user experience.
In view of this scenario, C&A, a leading retail chain operating in Brazil for almost 40 years, decided to further invest in technology and restructure its marketplace to make its portal scalable and integrate all sales channels.
Iteris was a crucial partner in the restructuring of C&A’s portal, enabling the creation of a continuous flow of improvements and collaboration among multidisciplinary teams, automating processes and providing customers with value in an agile and organized manner, with effective deliveries.
Iteris’ specialized team implemented a multidisciplinary squad that delivered – and continues to deliver – improvements to the portal, helping decrease delivery times, reduce costs, optimize the team’s time, automate processes and provide more reliability and availability to generate new businesses.
C&A, the largest advertiser of the Brazilian fashion retail market
Founded in 1841 by the Dutch brothers Clemens and August, C&A is one of the world’s largest retail chains, with more than 1.8 million units in 24 countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Operating in Brazil since 1976, when it opened its first store in Ibirapuera Shopping Mall, in São Paulo, C&A’s philosophy continues the same: to offer the best fashion options at affordable prices.
Today, the retail chain operates more than 280 stores in 125 cities and employs more than 15,000 people.
Recognized by its inclusive fashion, C&A’s mission is to be more and more fashiontech and offer an integrated and fluid marketplace to ensure the best customer experience possible.
With the acceleration in digital transformation, mainly after the start of the pandemic, organizations had to rethink how to make better use of their sales workforce.
C&A’s marketplace already had a dedicated team but, due to the fast changes in the market, which has become increasingly focused on digital channels, the company realized it needed to boost investments to be able to meet requirements and provide customers and partners with a differentiated experience.
To overcome the challenge of raising its marketplace to a higher level to ensure it would be capable of impacting its business ecosystem, C&A partnered with Iteris, with which it has been developing projects since 2017.
Iteris, a consulting firm operating in the market for 13 years, with more than 100 large clients and operations in Brazil and the United States, was part of this history, recognized by the expertise and commitment to the company, with the mindset that its customers’ challenges are also its own challenges.
The restructuring was planned using an infrastructure based on new technologies, capable of cutting red tape and growing in scale in the long run. The marketplace basis greatly supported the improvements to be made.
Many processes became automated and agile to help the team make better use of time, significantly decreasing the access to information.
The main objective was to reinforce C&A brand as one of the market’s leading fashiontechs – able to combine fashion with technology and deliver value to its customers, sellers and employees based on the latest technologies, agile teams and projects conceived to increase market share with the digital portal.
Project Specific Features
As mentioned, one of the marketplace’s challenges was to create a foundation to grow and gain scale, reinforcing C&A as an omnichannel fashiontech.
With this in mind, a process to map modernization opportunities was essential, including a complete view of the architecture, application code and databases. Additionally, adjustments to the deploy flow to speed up the implementation of such modernization, focused on agile culture principles, were also necessary.
This mapping was the first step to increase the business volume of C&A’s marketplace.
Iteris automated the company’s processes, resulting in a significant reduction in time and extremely low margins of error.
This new marketplace model, launched in June 2021, is integrated with other hubs, allowing the joining of new sellers, including small sellers that do not have an integration hub or development team to join the shopping portal. Currently under development, the hub also facilitates the sellers’ relationship with end users through the customer services channel.
The first step was to identify and trace the path for all the necessary improvements to be made to the marketplace – architecture, database, code and deploy pipeline -, with a precise diagnosis about its real performance.
With a multidisciplinary squad that involved internal teams and C&A’s strategic guidance, Iteris identified pain points and, based on that, developed a personalized plan according to the team’s demands and needs, pointing out the best solutions.
In addition to the agile development culture, Iteris also improved the DevOps culture at C&A, automating processes and, consequently, reducing delivery times and the complexity of executions, applying the market’s best practices and deploying and improving tools.
Today, sellers can access all orders and their status, follow up payments and handle open tickets on the portal on a fast and intuitive basis, among other features.
With these solutions, C&A’s infrastructure was optimized with processes and the latest technology, generating added value to the business, in addition to productivity gains.
“Today, C&A has customer services and financial features and we are in the build stage in the developer journey, the DevCenter – companies that integrate with the e-commerce platform,” says Ruy Pedroso, Head of Technology at C&A.
In 2021, C&A invested in technology in several fronts. “Clearly, this is one of C&A’s largest cases in accomplishment terms,” said Ruy.
The company’s challenge, a fashiontech, is to structure its marketplace to ensure a fluid customer experience on the app, website, store, and offline channel, adding value and technology.
Prior to the modernization, processes were conducted manually and, therefore, demanded longer delivery times. After the implementation of the new system, the company noticed that automation was an important factor that brought more autonomy and reliability to the team that, in turn, started to have more time to focus on other projects.
With the fewer manual, human interventions in the production environments, data-related risks were significantly minimized. The company’s business partners have already noticed the new resources, factor that has been attracting more and more sellers.
“Today, our marketplace has a modernized standard and we need to introduce this model to the entire company,” stated the executive.
C&A had a significant increase in the number of sellers in 2021 and results above expectations.
The idea is to implement the platform on a regional basis to offer, for example, coats in the South during the winter and, at the same time, lighter clothes in the Northeast. “We are focused on being an omnichannel, integrating journeys and transforming more fluid processes,” says Pedroso.
The cost reduction was clear in financial operations, with the optimization of processes and results and less errors. In the long term, the entire project will bring additional gains as it will become scalable.
One of the qualities perceived by C&A was the team’s deeper sense of belonging and the flexibility to create teams. Iteris’ team showed a high maturity level and great concern, deep engagement, technical expertise and professional ethics,” he stated.
Another aspect that called C&A’s attention was Iteris’ transparency to reject strategies with no positive perspectives.
“In view of the above, we see new opportunities for our partnership. We intend to further expand our business by 2024 and we want to take the marketplace case to other teams to ensure a better experience for C&A’s entire ecosystem,” Ruy says.