KIKO Moves All-in on AWS for Business Makeover
KIKO Milano is well-poised for expansion. Following a recent restructuring, the cosmetics company is taking advantage of technology to enable a transformation that includes double-digit ecommerce growth and the opening of 300 new stores globally by 2022.
KIKO CEO Cristina Scocchia emphasized the role of tech in the company’s strategy. “Technology and digitalization are paramount to ensure continuous growth for our business,” she says.
Founded in 1997 by entrepreneurs Antonio and Stefano Percassi, the Italian company sells cosmetics and beauty products through 900 retail stores in 27 markets, as well as through its ecommerce website in 30 markets.
While undergoing a corporate restructuring that began in 2017, KIKO became dissatisfied with its Milan-based on-premises data center and outsourcing partner, which was too expensive and inflexible for the company’s changing computing needs.
After considering several cloud providers, KIKO chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) for providing attractive pricing options and a wide variety of built-in services that competitors didn’t offer. AWS also had multiple physical data center locations for the regions that KIKO operates in, thus reducing the latency issues KIKO experienced with its previous provider.
"AWS has been a trusted partner, enabling KIKO to secure technological solutions that can achieve all our business objectives"
CEO, KIKO Milano
No Disruption for Mission-Critical Systems During Quick and Easy Migration
The migration to AWS included KIKO’s ecommerce platform, which enables online cosmetics sales—a key part of its strategy alongside selling in retail shops. As well as its development environments, KIKO needed to move mission-critical systems running SAP and VMware, including its ERP systems, data warehouse, and the SAP Customer Activity Repository that handles all of KIKO’s in-store transactions.
The new setup lowered costs and increased the availability of essential systems while providing an affordable disaster recovery solution. KIKO was also able to better organize, protect, and access vital corporate data, thanks to Amazon Macie, a fully managed data security service powered by machine learning, and the scalable storage of Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).
Within four months, KIKO migrated all of these core workloads onto Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). AWS Professional Services worked with the KIKO team to make sure the process was quick and seamless, and to ensure there was no business disruption for KIKO’s critical systems. This meant sales and operations could carry on as usual.
Moving 300 servers that ran VMware to VMware Cloud on AWS was particularly efficient. KIKO migrated the servers from its former provider in Milan to the AWS hosting center in Dublin in just a few weeks.
“I was surprised by how quickly and easily the migration happened,” said KIKO CTO Fabio Bogoni. “Based on my past experience, I would have guessed a project like that would take six months to a year.”
Because AWS runs VMware in the cloud, the KIKO team didn’t have to perform new testing or modify applications. They also didn’t have to train team members in new skills because they already had experience with VMware.
“Part of why the VMware migration has been so seamless is because we’re using the same skills,” says Bogoni. “Even though our VMware resources are now in the cloud, the framework and technologies are the same.”
Using VMware Cloud on AWS also allowed KIKO to consolidate servers into a more efficient infrastructure and reduce costs by 20 percent.
Performance Improves as Ecommerce Expands
Using AWS prepared KIKO for growth. In 2020, KIKO’s ecommerce activity grew by more than 50 percent and customer orders increased by 25 percent, as the company launched into new markets and many customers went online to buy makeup during lockdowns across the US and Europe.
“We set ourselves up for success,” says Bogoni. “When our online customer base grew substantially, we were ready for it.”
AWS’s flexible, on-demand model ensures that sufficient resources are always available to keep the ecommerce site running smoothly and provide a good customer experience even when demand spikes.
KIKO’s traffic rises and falls in response to promotions and seasonal demand. At certain points during the pandemic, traffic reached three times its usual levels. The company also sees massive spikes on big shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with its ecommerce site experiencing six to seven times the usual amount of traffic.
With Amazon EC2, KIKO can provision a new server to meet rising demand or reduce resources during slower times with a few clicks. This process used to take months with its previous on-premises provider. Thanks to this flexibility, KIKO has reduced infrastructure costs by 20 percent.
AWS’s on-demand model also supported the growth of KIKO’s high-street retail presence. When new shops are opened, KIKO’s infrastructure seamlessly accommodates the increased demand, with little to no input from KIKO’s IT team. This year, despite the pandemic, KIKO entered two new markets: Greece and Serbia.
KIKO Boosts Website Multimedia with AWS
Spurred on by its successes with AWS, KIKO is moving more of its workloads into the cloud. Because it’s all-in on AWS, it can easily add new products as needed.
Most recently, it’s moved the content delivery network (CDN) for its ecommerce channel to Amazon CloudFront. The CDN manages the secure and efficient delivery of data, videos, applications, and APIs to KIKO customers on its website. Using CloudFront improves customer experience, by reducing the time required to load multimedia elements such as images, video, and fonts. Moving these workloads to CloudFront has reduced running costs for KIKO’s CDN by 50 percent.
Bogoni appreciates AWS Professional Services not only for enabling the smooth migration to AWS but also for continuing to provide essential assistance as the company grows. AWS advises on strategy and decision making, educates the KIKO team on best practices, and helps to troubleshoot any difficulties.
“They’re always there for us, even out of business hours,” Bogoni says.
This support will only become more vital as KIKO plans more expansion in the coming years. AWS has enabled KIKO to continue to grow its ecommerce sales channel, open hundreds of new stores, and move into new markets such as Asia Pacific.
CEO Scocchia says: “AWS has been a trusted partner, helping us through this transformation journey and enabling KIKO to secure the technological solutions that can achieve all our business objectives.”
AWS Services Used
Amazon CloudFront is a fast content delivery network (CDN) service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally with low latency, high transfer speeds, all within a developer-friendly environment.
Secure and resizable compute capacity in the cloud. Launch applications when needed without upfront commitments.
VMware Cloud on AWS
AWS is VMware's preferred public cloud partner for all vSphere-based workloads. The VMware and AWS partnership delivers a faster, easier, and cost-effective path to the hybrid cloud while allowing customers to modernize applications enabling faster time-to-market and increased innovation.
Amazon Aurora is a MySQL and PostgreSQL-compatible relational database built for the cloud, that combines the performance and availability of traditional enterprise databases with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of open source databases.
Companies of all sizes across all industries are transforming their businesses every day using AWS. Contact our experts and start your own AWS Cloud journey today.