FARM Rio Embraces Digital Transformation and Creates a Better Customer Experience with VTEX and AWS

VTEX is an APN Advanced Technology Partner with an AWS Retail Competency

Creating a Differentiated, Omnichannel Customer Experience through Digital Transformation

With rapid expansion in its home and new international markets, Grupo Soma, FARM Rio’s parent company, started undergoing a deep digital transformation process in 2018 to deliver an even more differentiated consumer experience to its customers. As a premium fashion group, Grupo Soma's priority was to keep the high quality of its in-store experience across all channels. They needed to provide e-commerce customers with the same standards they would recognize by going to one of its brick-and-mortar stores.

One of their main challenges was to reduce delivery times to increase customer satisfaction with their online shopping experience. It soon became clear for Grupo Soma that they had to evolve from the traditional model of fulfilling website orders from their warehouse to an omnichannel approach, using their stores as distribution centers.

Connecting e-commerce and physical stores as well as their distribution centers enabled their brands to have a single view of inventory across all channels, which was especially critical during peak trading periods such as Black Friday.

Having a unified commerce solution such as VTEX greatly facilitated the technical feasibility of the project. With a single view of all inventories – from brick-and-mortar stores to the distribution center – sales numbers improved across all channels. FARM Rio's omnichannel approach, for example, was responsible for 26% of all its sales during Black Friday, leveraging on features like shipping from store, which allowed customers to receive their purchases in up to 5 days.

Building a Solution with VTEX and AWS

VTEX, a leading e-commerce platform, has been working with AWS since 2011 when it began the process of restructuring the platform to offer more elasticity and reliability to its clients. The collaboration laid the foundation of a truly scalable, multi-tenant SaaS solution, capable of simplifying decisions regarding infrastructure to over 2,500 global brands across 28 countries.

Using AWS services such as AWS Elastic Beanstalk helps VTEX scale resources and split responsibilities among teams, while AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF) and Amazon CloudFront handle all the edge load. Other AWS services utilized by VTEX include Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for the databases, Amazon Elasticsearch Service (Amazon ES) for NoSQL data, Redis for cache, and Elastic Load Balancing for distributing load. VTEX can also utilize other AWS services as the demand fits. Due to it being a true multi-tenant SaaS solution, all customers on the platform benefit from the same flexibility and stability of AWS.

VTEX believes that technology must not be a barrier to business development but to bring efficiency in their customers’ operations and enable new business models. That's why VTEX is one of the most prominent partners in Latin America today for AWS.

As it generally receives a high volume of requests every day, the AWS infrastructure allows the platform to remain stable even during the highest trading periods. In the 24 hours of 2019’s Black Friday, the platform hit 29,486,762 sessions. This number accounted for 1,033,625 orders placed originating from the platform (reaching a peak of 987 per minute), representing an increase of 53.2% over 2018. All of this was achieved without a single incident.

A key factor of these VTEX results was the Same Store Sales. The number, which represents the change in same store group sales when compared to the previous year, rose by 41.5% compared to 2018. This means that customers using the platform at least since last Black Friday had a better performance and more operational efficiency.

Peak trading periods such as Black Friday increase the demand to maintain a scalable and reliable environment for customers using the platform. AWS has worked alongside VTEX through engineering committees, opening dialogues with product engineers and product owners at AWS, and allowing VTEX to make the most of the features, and more appropriately, design the platform’s architecture to future-proof for high volumes.

"VTEX potentializes the good relationship between customers and salesclerks, one of our brand's most important values, while enabling the unification of physical and digital experiences."

- Alisson Calgaroto, Chief Technology Officer at Grupo Soma (FARM Rio's parent company)

Realizing Success of the Digital Transformation

Black Friday 2019 was Grupo Soma’s second year on the unified commerce structure. With the lessons from the previous year – and the infrastructure resilience enabled by VTEX's collaboration with AWS – the company planned and prepared their teams, surpassing all the numbers achieved in 2018.

In total, Grupo Soma had 30% more orders approved compared to 2018. Of these, around 30% were generated from e-commerce and completed by ship from store. FARM Rio’s revenue grew by 63%. Black Friday Month saw a 50% increase in revenue, and a record-breaking performance for the group.

"VTEX potentializes the good relationship between customers and salesclerks, one of our brand's most important values, while enabling the unification of physical and digital experiences," said Alisson Calgaroto, CTO of Grupo Soma.

FARM Rio Logo

About FARM Rio

FARM Rio is a fashion brand known for its vibrant colors, bold aesthetics, and unique mix of vintage-inspired, fashion-forward pieces. Born in 1997 as a market stall in Rio de Janeiro, FARM Rio is one of Brazil's leading local labels today and an international ambassador to the sun-soaked lifestyle the country represents. In the last few years, FARM Rio has opened boutiques in the United States and launched its international e-commerce site, shipping to over 190 countries across the world.

About VTEX

VTEX is a powerful multitenant commerce platform that unifies customer experiences across all channels into a comprehensive enterprise solution. With an auto-scaling cloud infrastructure and a powerful set of tools, the platform accelerates the commerce transformation of complex operations. VTEX is trusted by Sony, Walmart, Whirlpool, Coca-Cola, Stanley Black & Decker, Nestlé and over 2,500 online stores in 28 countries. In 2018, the company was named a major player on IDC MarketScape Worldwide SaaS and Cloud-Enabled B2C Digital Commerce Platforms and ranked in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce. As a result of the platform’s cutting-edge infrastructure, as well as its numerous native integrated solutions (more than 1,000 partners strategically positioned globally including marketplaces, SI's, payment and logistics companies) that add to its excellent functioning, VTEX continues to lead in an industry where many companies are providing outdated services.

Published January 2020